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The Perfect Pie

Meet the Jeffs, the pizza-focused trio crafting Forge’s primo thin-crust in Jack London Square.


Photography by Molly DeCoudreaux






Jeffrey Hayden

aka “Pizza Ninja”

The sous chef, Hayden got his nickname because of the speed at which he works Forge’s behemoth wood-burning Italian oven, adroitness that comes from stints at thin-crust hot spots Dopo, Pizzaiolo, and Boot and Shoe Service.
On the pizza: “We get produce from places like Coke and Riverdog farms, and sun-dried tomatoes from Full Belly. We cure our own sausage, which comes from a small ranch in Manteca. Every product we’re using in the pizza is as pristine as we can possibly get.”








Jeff Amber

aka “Amber”

Forge’s executive chef has had to translate Jeff Krupman’s recipe to a busy restaurant, a task to which he’s well suited, having helmed busy kitchens at Chow and Gigi in Lafayette.    
On the pizza: “We’re cranking out 450 of these in a night, sometimes; it’s like the pizza Olympics. We strive for consistency, but we really value the uniqueness of every pizza. People will say, ‘Hey, this one is shaped a little differently,’ and I’ll reply, ‘Well, that’s because it’s made by hand.’ ”





Jeff Krupman

aka “PizzaHacker”

In charge of research and development, Krupman’s moniker comes from his penchant for jury-rigging pizza ovens. He’s been “obsessed” with Neapolitan thin crust for a decade and based Forge’s naturally leavened dough recipe on Tartine Bakery’s famed sourdough.
On the pizza: “The basis is Neapolitan—thin crust that’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with a focus on simplicity and quality of ingredients. But it’s more ‘Cali-politan’ since we source a lot locally. To me, the idea is to evolve, to constantly tweak the pizza to make it better.”

66 Franklin St., Oakland, (510) 268-3200, theforgepizza.com.


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