Why Detroit Style Pizza in Socal?
Detroit Pizza tells a story of resourcefulness. Known as being an industrial mecca often referred to as Motortown City, back in the forties, Gus Guerra of Buddy’s Pizza began using the steel pans typically used for automotive parts, readily available in the area to make their versions of a Sicilian style pizza. Their decision to do so created a new distinct style of pizza with a unique texture profile. Detroit pizza puts a lot of focus on the quality of the crust. The main goal is a marriage of crisp bottoms and edges with a light and airy crumb with enough chew so that you know you’re not eating cake. Those textures don’t often coexist and if they do, the moment is fleeting. Often, crisp edges are met with a dense and tough crumb, Detroit pizza isn’t just a vessel for cheese and toppings with a throw away crust but a celebration of finely crafted dough all the way through that is accented by the flavors of the cheese and toppings.
BUILDING A PERFECT PIZZA
The few pizzerias that have Detroit Pan Pizza as a staple run it alongside more mainstream pies as an afterthought without the focus to do it justice. The other places that produce it well, run for limited times as “pop ups” or weekly specials. Not everyone has an opportunity to travel the U.S. and sample the local cuisines. We seek to provide an authentic food destination experience by bringing Detroit’s unique pie mixed with seasonal, chef driven themes to the Orange County and surrounding Los Angeles area. Steel Pan Pizza embraces the aesthetic of industrial square pans, caramelized crusts and hearty midwestern cuisine which convey the pride, resilience and underdog spirit of the Motortown City.
MEET OUR PIZZERIA TEAM
Conrad Malaya’s first cooking job after graduating culinary school was at San Pedro’s 90 year old family-owned Italian restaurant, J Trani’s, to learn the ins and outs of three generations of pizza making skills and Italian cuisine. Conrad then followed up at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim, California in their garde manger department, but quickly rose through the kitchen ranks to become the youngest sous chef at the Disneyland Resort. It was here he befriended Joleen, where they bonded over their pizza roots and passion for cooking. He also took positions at nationally acclaimed celebrity chef, Charlie Palmer’s restaurant at Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza under Chef Amar Santana and The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Beverly Hills, California.
Joleen Piser’s first job was in the kitchen at her parent’s family-run pizzeria AJ Barile’s Chicago Pizza in Yucaipa, Ca. At the age of eighteen she decided to compete at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas’s annual Pizza Expo. In her first year she took home second in the world in non-traditional pizza as well as the award of youngest pizza maker. The following year she won first in the region for non-traditional pizza. Joleen attended culinary school at The Art Institute Inland Empire and found a job at The Disneyland Resort where she earned the position of Sous Chef of the Park Banquets and Festivals department. This is where she met her partners Conrad, Tony and Jason. Together, they are working on opening up Steel Pan Pizza Co. which will be serving up their version of Detroit style pan pizza at 4th Street Market in Santa Ana.
Antonio Guereca was born and raised in Santa Ana, Ca. Big Tony got his baking chops mixing dough and shaping loaves for Boudin Bakery. His culinary career took off after joining Conrad and Joleen at Disneyland Resort’s Park Banquets. He quickly went from being a dinner cook to leading the department. Being from Santa Ana, he has always dreamed of feeding the people of his hometown the delicious food he has learned to prepare.
Fernando Valladares’ passion for cooking started a very young age, which drove him to focus on a culinary career. In the ten years since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, he fined tuned his culinary techniques by learning from some of the most recognized Chefs in the industry. He honed his culinary skills at Charlie Palmer under Chef Amar Santana, endured the high-volume demand at Westside Tavern and cooked fine Italian cuisine at Scarpetta under Chef Scott Conant. Eventually his daily grind would inspire him to partner up with some of the most influential people dominating the food and social media industry today. Together, they created Portside Fish Co. and Ground House Burger. You can find his creative menus currently being served at both establishments.
Jason Trinh's passion for the Food Industry started when he worked Disneyland. There he was able to learn the leadership style in running a restaurant from both front and back of the house. From there he grow a passion in owning something one day while working at Disneyland on a food truck. Eventually he was able to team up with his current partners to create Pig Pen Delicacy, Wingman Kitchen and Sweet Comforts.