Photo by Chuck Cook Photography Anthony Calleo of Pi Pizza makes dough tossing look like magic.
Anthony Calleo is as colorful as the Pi Pizza monster logo on the side of his truck, from his heavily tattooed arms to the words he chooses. He has a reputation for being frank and passionate about his food.
We met Calleo for his interview at the Houston Food Park in EaDo, where Pi Pizza and a few other food trucks corralled the parking lot. There's a steady flow of customers. "Now this is like making pizzas for a living," he said. He grabs a ball of dough and tosses it in the air with his fists until it makes a perfect circle. He makes it look effortless and easy, but it took months of practice to master.
Calleo's customers are so passionate about Pi Pizza that some are willing to get a Pi Pizza tattoo in exchange for one free slice of pizza a day for life. The tattoo day is held once a year, and this year they actually had to turn people away. There was simply no way that artist Gabriel Massey from Scorpion Studios would have had enough time tattoo everyone who wanted it.
In Part 1 of this Chef Chat, we'll get to know how Calleo developed his affinity for making pizza and the other career he nearly ended up doing for a living.
EOW: How did you decide you wanted to cook for a living?
AC: I wanted to cook since I was a kid. I started cooking for myself and then me and my mom. As a teenager, I had the kind of house where everyone stayed over. I used to cook breakfast for everybody. It's always been something I really enjoyed and had a knack for.
I got my first job in pizza and it's been what I always go back to for extra cash or if we were short on money I'd go back to delivering pizza or cooking pizza.
The world convinced me that cooking pizza for a living wasn't worth my time or my education. When I turned 30, I realized that was bullshit. I promised myself by the time I was 35 I'd have my own pizza place.More »