Last week, I got an invite from local foodies Don and Pat Hysko to come to their house for a pizza-on-the-grill party. The occasion, they said, was that a chef friend of theirs would be visiting from Las Vegas and would be doing the cooking. They were sure I’d enjoy it.
I never turn down an invite like that. When I walked in their house last night, the chef looked awfully familiar. And I quickly learned it’s because I’ve spent a whole lot of time watching him on television.
He and the Hyskos go way back and spend time together whenever they can. Moonen likes visiting Wichita, he said, and spoke fondly of a trip to Bomber Burger on a previous visit.
But last night, he was grilling pizza.
The Hyskos arranged bowls of toppings such as mushrooms, fresh basil, anchovies, fresh corn, arugula and more.
They bought raw pizza dough at Knolla’s, which is one of the best cooking tips I’ve picked up in a while. It’s inexpensive and very good.
I watched in amazement as Moonen performed an expert, lightning fast basil chiffonade and enjoyed having him coach me through assembling my own pizza. They turned out beautifully and were soooooooooooooo very good.
Best of all, Moonen was nice and approachable and fun to talk to. He didn’t think he was too important for Wichita and blended in well in a group of people that included other local foodies such as Joe Stumpe, my colleague Carrie Rengers, local chef and cooking teacher Jackie Smith, and Tiffani Price, the lead instructor of hospitality management at Butler County Community College.
You can read more about Moonen in the April issue of Saveur magazine.
Anyone want to go to Vegas?