Two Famed Chefs Turn Frozen Pies into a Candidate for the World’s 100 Best Pizzas

Two Famed Chefs Turn Frozen Pies into a Candidate for the World’s 100 Best Pizzas

July 8th, 2024 by PMQPizza Magazine:

Headquartered in Philadelphia and Miami, Pizza Freak Co., an innovative frozen pizza brand from acclaimed chefs Brad Kilgore and Brad Daniels, has landed on a list of global contenders to be named among the best pizzas in the world.

Pizza Freak Co. will compete against pies from Naples, New York, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and beyond for a spot on the Best Chef Awards’ Top 100 Pizzas List, to be announced September 30 in Milan, Italy.

It’s a rare honor, indeed, for a frozen brand, but Pizza Freak Co. aims to be a cut above standard frozen pizza.

“When we were selecting our ingredients and formulating our process, our goal was to be accepted and enjoyed by ‘pizza freaks’ like us and the professionals that read PMQ,” Pizza Freak Co. co-founder Matt McKenney said. “And as chefs facing the daily challenges of delighting our guests while managing a tight labor market, we wanted to create a product that our peers would love and be proud to put on the menus of their concepts. We also hope they will add their own touch.”

McKenney noted that Pizza Freak Co.’s motto, “Get Your Pizza Freak On,” is “our version of Nike’s ‘Just Do It.’ Whether you are a chef at a hotel or a mom with two kids to feed on a Wednesday night, you can add a topping or a condiment and make it yours.”

Since debuting on April 14, 2023, at the Philadelphia Distilling Company, Pizza Freak Co.—the name is a nod to the crunchy bits of cheese “frico” at the edges of thick-crust pizza—earned kudos from food writer Craig LaBan in the Philadelphia Inquirer last October. LaBan wrote that the chef duo “is about to change minds” about frozen pizza’s bad reputation with their Detroit-inspired pies.

“What began as a pandemic experiment with the latest kitchen tech in Drexel University’s Food Lab has evolved into one of the best frozen pies I’ve eaten,” LaBan wrote. “Made from high-quality ingredients and built on a well-fermented Roman-style cushion of dough, it finishes with a Detroit-style frico of tangy cheese around the edges. One key: a unique cardboard baking pan with windows cut out—the ‘Freak Frame’—that allows the bottom to crisp.”

Writing for Philly Grub in June 2023, Marilyn Johnson declared that Daniels and Kilgore are “set to redefine the frozen pizza game with their tantalizing creations.” She added, “With a slow fermentation process that yields their signature crispy, light crust, these pizzas are a cut above the rest. But what truly sets them apart is the use of their trademarked ‘Freak Frames’ that transform the edges of the pie you bake at home into a crunchy, cheesy ‘frico’ sensation.”

Kilgore and Daniels use King Arthur Flour for their dough, Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes for the sauce, Grandé cheese and Corto olive oil. The sauce itself is made with tomatoes, tomato puree, EVOO, sea salt, basil, garlic, black pepper, oregano and cayenne pepper.

The pizzas are pre-cooked in the patent-pending “freak-frame” pan, then frozen in a minus-40°F flash chiller and vacuum-sealed. Available for delivery anywhere east of the Mississippi River and offered at several specialty grocers in that city, the pizzas can be baked for 25 minutes in a conventional oven. Philly customers can also order the pies for pickup at Daniels’ popular Italian restaurant, Tresini, in Ambler, Pennsylvania, or try them at at the Arlo Hotel in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

Pizza Freak Co.’s pizzas will go up against pies from some of the world’s most renowned pizza chefs in Molini Pizzuti’s Top 100 Pizzas competition later this year. Franco Pepe of Pepe in Grani, located in Caiazzo, Italy, won the award in 2023.

“From the very start, we wanted Pizza Freak Co. to showcase amazing ingredients from high-quality suppliers, and we haven’t taken any shortcuts in producing a truly top-shelf product,” Daniels said in a statement. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be recognized internationally for creating a spectacular pizza.”

Kilgore is the James Beard Award-nominated chef behind Kilgore Culinary, with restaurant projects currently underway in Florida, California and Honduras. “It’s a huge honor to even be considered for the top 100 pizzas in the world,” he said. “We’re grateful to those who have tried and loved Pizza Freak Co. so far and are eager to reach more pizza lovers across the U.S. and around the globe.”

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