Brad Kilgore Will Make a Pizza Freak Out of You
This award-winning chef, best known for his creativity, is delivering pizza to your door.
Chef Brad Kilgore made his culinary bones the old-fashioned way.
The Kansas City native worked his way up the ranks in several cities before working at Chicago’s three-Michelin-starred Alinea. Kilgore’s career trajectory only rose when he opened Altar in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in 2015. The restaurant’s progressive tasting menus earned him national recognition: he was named Best New Chef in America by Food & Wine Magazine and Alter was named a semifinalist for the James Beard "Best New Restaurant" award in 2016 — and those are only a few of the awards and titles bestowed upon Kilgore and his establishments.
Currently, Kilgore is the culinary director for the Arlo Hotel in Wynwood and oversees the menu at its restaurant MaryGold’s Brasserie (where he shares the limelight with BarLab, which created the cocktail program that compliments the menu).
So what does a chef with all these accolades tackle next? The answer is pizza.
Not any pizza, but a truly good frozen pizza.
Kilgore, along with partners Matt McKenney and chef Brad Daniels, has launched Pizza Freak — a Philadelphia-based pizza place that delivers frozen pizza to your doorstep.
Kilgore, who admits his favorite food is pizza - so much so that his wife, Soraya has questioned whether he needs an intervention — tasked himself during the pandemic to figure out the key to a good frozen pizza.
Kilgore said he worked on the recipes in Miami and Daniels tested them in a kitchen in Philadelphia.
The answer to a good frozen pizza, he says, is in the dough. Most frozen pizzas come out of the box with uncalled dough. Pizza Freak’s pizza dough is pre-cooked. “We’re a cooked pizza that happens to be frozen. We use a negative 40-degree Fahrenheit flash chiller then we vacuum seal the pizza.” Kilgore says the pizza was tested for a few years on different home ovens to account for the inconsistencies of baking at home and the result was overall great thanks to a Patent-Pending frame the pizza comes in. “All you have to do is bake it for 20 to 25 minutes in a 350-degree oven and it comes out great,” says Kilgore. “The cold-fermented dough is crispy on all sides and is super-light on the inside,” says Kilgore adding the pies also yield that cheesy crust, known as “frico”.
The thick, satisfying “Detroit-style-inspired” pies don’t come in a gazillion different choices — just cheese and pepperoni cups, allowing customers to “get their freak on” and customize them as they wish. “We encourage people to do their own thing,” says the chef.
The pizzas are available at several specialty grocers in the Philadelphia area, and can be shipped to your door — right now most orders come from the East Coast, says Kilgore. Local delivery in Miami is forthcoming.
Miamians can also get a taste of Pizza Freak at his collaborative pop-up with chef Andrew Mayer called Oise Ristorante by Brad Kilgore. The pop-up, which runs through the summer of 2024, will offer Itameshi dining — a marriage of Italian and Japanese cuisine. Kilgore says that the two cuisines actually have a lot in common. “Italian and Japanese share umami in common. Think of parmesan cheese and soy sauce — they’re both delicious because of umami.”
Dishes at the pop-up include a chicken parm katsu sando, udon carbonara, cacio e pepe breadsticks, pizza, and more.
Says Kilgore of his first foray into casual dining. “For the last few years, I’ve begun cooking what I want to eat or what I think people want to eat rather than just going after the concept of a dish. I’m striving for recognizable deliciousness rather than creative shock value.”