As I was leaving the 2nd Avenue subway station to see a demonstration of the much ballyhooed (by their publicists) pizza at Palà, I ran into the editor of another magazine. She said she'd been meaning to e-mail me about NRN's "On The Menu" feature about Summit, the much ballyhooed (by everyone) restaurant that opened at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
“Yes, I know,” I said, or something like that. “The chef's not there anymore.”
We'd heard, from many people, after the page had gone to bed, that Rolland Wesen, who was hired by the Broadmoor to run the restaurant, left quietly and suddenly.
I was under the impression that the parting of ways was the choice of the chef, who happens to be the husband of Claudine Pépin (so, yes, he's Jacques' son-in-law).
Apparently not, according to my editor-friend, who had spoken to Claudine recently and said that Rolland had been unceremoniously fired. Management said he wasn't a good match for the hotel, Claudine told her. The Wesen-Pépin household had already bought a home in Colorado Springs and was ready to settle in.
So, if you're looking to hire a high-end chef for a prestigious restaurant, give Rolland a call.
The people at Palà are psyched about their pizza's crust, which is made from between nine and fourteen different organic flours (the exact composition varies with the weather). They're made into a loose but thoroughly kneaded dough (for long gluten chains) with minimal yeast. The dough is allowed to rise for at least two days and as long as five, and then gently formed into oblong crusts that are topped and cooked for about 20 minutes at a relatively low temperature of around 250° Celsius (just shy of 500° Fahrenheit, compared to the more typical pizza oven temperature of around 900°). The result is supposed to be a crunchy, flaky crust with the added bonus of containing up to 20 percent protein.
Selected pizzas at Palà:
Arrabbiata: fresh cherry tomatoes, hot pepper, garlic and Tuscan olive oil
Montasio: walnut spread, montasio cheese, fior di latte mozzarella
Forza Roma: roasted red and yellow bell pepper, buffalo mozzarella, garlic, parsley and Puglian olive oil
Zucca: sautéed pumpkin, pancetta and smoked scamorza
Funghi e Salsiccia: beef sausage, filed mushrooms, hot pepper and fior di latte mozzarella
Merluzzo: Smoked sable, hummus, mint and Tuscan olive oil