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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 5 months ago

Pizza King: Brad Beam brings award-winning pizza to Bronx House

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Beam finished first in Florida, sixth in the world, for his Old World Pizza.
by: Guest Writer

by: Abbie Pace

Contributing Writer

On the average plane ride, overhead bins become piled with suede bags filled with toiletries, clothing and other items. But on one flight on Aug. 21, 2021, a certain passenger brought some unique items in a carry-on cooler: pizza dough, ice packs, cheese, sauce containers, pepperoni and seasoning.

That passenger was Palm Coast resident Brad Beam, and he was headed to the International Pizza Challenge, a pizza-making competition held in Las Vegas since 2007. His odd luggage paid off, as he walked away with three titles for his Old World Pizza, in the traditional category, among 95 contestants. He placed first in Florida, second in the Southeast region, and sixth in the world. 

“That was a really cool feeling,” he said. “Very, very flattering for me and very humbling.”

 

Love of pizza

For the competition, Beam chose to make a simple pizza, one he might have liked as a "picky" kid. "It kind of brings you back to your roots," he said, before chicken bacon ranch, cheeseburger and other contemporary pizza flavors started popping up.

As an adult, Beam developed his love of pizza when he started working for Joe’s NY Pizza and Pasta in Palm Coast 17 years ago. He still enjoys hearing positive feedback from customers. 

“That's what keeps me driven to make the best product I can possibly make,” he said. “One of the biggest things that I love is when a customer bites into their pizza and comes up to me and says, 'You’ve got the best pizza I've ever had.'"

"One of the biggest things that I love is when a customer bites into their pizza and comes up to me and says, 'You’ve got the best pizza I've ever had.'"

BRAD BEAM

He has since become a partner in the company’s two newest restaurants, Bronx House Pizza — one in The Hammock, which is under construction, and one on State Road 100, which should open this spring.

About five years ago, Beam and his wife ate at a famous place in New York, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, and he decided he wanted to recreate that pie and enter it in a competition. He chose one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.

The 2021 International Pizza Challenge consisted of four categories: traditional, non-traditional, pan and Neapolitan. The traditional category required contestants to utilize red sauce, cheese and their choice of two toppings. 

Beam’s goal was to create a pizza that would stand out to the judges without compromising the ingredients he used. Ripe, flavorful tomatoes acted as the foundation of the pie.

“I wanted to let the ingredients speak for themselves and come out and shine in the competition,” he said. 

Beam uses aged ingredients in his pizzas, “which makes a huge difference in not only flavor, but also digestion," he said. "If it's aged longer, it's going to go down a lot easier, so you're not going to feel nearly as stuffed.”

 

Trial runs

The rules stated that all contestants had to bake their pizzas in front of the judges, using ingredients they brought from home. Beam was no exception to this rule, despite the vast distance he had to travel.

To ensure everything would run smoothly at the competition, he conducted multiple trial runs at home in the months leading up to the August competition. He would take his dough out of the freezer, place it in his carry-on bag and leave it on his dining room table for five hours, the duration of the flight. 

“I ran so many different scenarios in the months leading up to it and finally got to a point where I felt comfortable with the method I was going to use,” Beam said. 

He then had to make sure he could get through security at the airport.

“TSA is very strict,” he said. “I had multiple phone calls with the TSA to see exactly what I was allowed to bring on the flight with me.” 

Beam took into account the car ride to the airport, as well, which meant he had to buy the perfect sized cooler, with ice packs to maintain the dough’s freshness.

At the competition, he found that the oven was the same brand he used at Joe's, so he felt more comfortable. And in the end, he proved he has a pizza that should stand out, even among pizza lovers. And he brought home the recipe, so it can be ordered at Bronx House. Just ask for the award-winning Old World Pizza. 

 

Brad Beam and Michael Bennici, of Joe's NY Pizza and Pasta. Courtesy photo

 

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