December 12, 2011

By Kirsten Bayani

What’s your deserted island food? Would you pick something practical like vitamin-packed protein powder? How about something that you would find naturally on the island, like fish or coconuts? Or are you like me, and picking something that could never, ever exist on a deserted island? My guess is that most of you are with me on this one… I say forget practicality. You’re asking me to pick a food. I choose pizza. I would prefer pizza from a wood-fired oven as well. This isn’t about practicality, remember, this is about my dream deserted island.
Because we’re talking about my own, personal Fantasy Island, I would like to bring Pizzeria Basta. I would probably order the Arugula Pizza Every. Single. Day. Yup, it’s that good. I try to get to Basta at least once a week, and I love sitting at the bar and talking to our alumna, Sous Chef Andrea Pitchford. She’s usually manning the wood-burning oven, tossing crust, expediting plates, and calling out orders, all with a smile on her face. She’s intense, focused, and an awesome chef.
Andrea says that her techniques at Basta (an Italian restaurant) are tied to the techniques of the Frenchman Auguste Escoffier and our school. She spent time in Italy, and compared French and Italian cooking styles, saying “Italians cook with their hearts, the French with techniques.” She showed me how several of the items on Basta’s menu use a basic French glaze, a technique taught at the school. They also employ the brigade system, which was developed by Auguste Escoffier in the late 19th century, and is still relevant in modern kitchens. Who knew that two very different styles of cooking could combine to make something so incredibly delicious? I, for one, am grateful for Escoffier’s influence and techniques.
Reconsidering your deserted island food yet? Give Basta a chance. If the craving for something familiar, yet spectacular should hit, head by Pizzeria Basta at 3601 Arapahoe Ave., in the Peloton and say hi to Andrea for me!