Meet Eliyahu Kheel - @eliyahuspizza
Meet Eliyahu Kheel. After making pizza for the past two years both at home (on an Avantco 18x18 1/2 inch thick cordierite pizza stone) and professionally, he’s about to open his first pizzeria in Yardley, PA. He and his wife will be taking over Verrelli’s Pizza in May, 2021
How often do you make pizza?
I make pizza every day for myself and my wife. I try to make about 25 pizzas for the community each weekend.
How long have you been making pizza?
About two years now. It started as a simple hobby. Then I fell in love and went to two certified pizza schools for pizza making.
How did you get into pizza making?
I was originally self taught for pizza. I would Google recipes, ask questions on online forums, and just try to figure out what worked. But I really started getting good when I visited Pizza School NYC for their four hour class and then Accademia Pizzaioli and Goodfellas Pizza School of New York.
I started making pizza after I was served the worst pizza of my life on my wedding and honeymoon. (What kind of monster makes a Margherita pizza with ketchup???)
How do you describe the style(s) of pizza you like to make?
I make practically every style under the sun. From Neapolitan to NY to Detroit, to deep dish and everything in between. But as someone who used to live in NYC, that style will always be closest to my heart.
One piece of pizza making gear you can’t live without
My ladle. It’s a small silly thing. But that cheap ladle I got from my local grocery store has been what I’ve used since the start and it will always be my favorite.
I’ve noticed you use a pizza stone at home. Any special tricks you employ for optimal results?
I like to keep my stone lower than most people. I put it on the second to bottom rack of the oven to let it heat up really fast. No need for an hour of preheat time!
What or who is your pizza inspiration?
Tony Gemignani. His books and videos have helped me so much in my journey. Tony inspired me to make every pizza style I possibly can without sacrificing quality for even a second.
What advice do you have for a new pizza maker?
Trust your home oven. All the many styles of pizza I’ve made (including Neapolitan), I’ve done in my standard home oven. If you use great ingredients, have good technique, and have time to experiment, you’ll be able to create unbelievable pizza from them!
If there’s anything else you want people to know, I’d be delighted to share it as well!
I just want to thank the pizza legends who have helped me get to this point in my journey! Andrew Scudera, Scot Cosentino, Michele D’Amelio, Tony Gemignani, Mark Bello, and of course, Scott Wiener. You guys are amazing. Thank you!