Ken Forkish is best known as the mastermind behind landmark Portland spots Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Ken’s Artisan Bakery, and Trifecta Tavern. But Forkish is more than just a restaurant biz whiz. His first book, Flour Water Salt Yeast (2012), unloosed his obsessive side—and not just French bread formulas, but also the world’s first “bread flavor complexity scale.” It brought home James Beard cookbook gold for good reason. On April 19, Forkish's second book, The Elements of Pizza, will hit shelves. We peeked inside and found techniques galore and a surprising collection of pies and tales from a pizza journey that took him across America and Italy.
There’s more than one reason to look forward to the book. Eat Beat has learned that some of the book’s choice pizzas will help inform the Trifecta Annex, Forkish’s little laboratory for pizzas, croissants, and toast combos inside the upcoming Pine Street Market (133 SW Second Ave). The grand opening is scheduled for April 1. Forkish says he’s developed a new New Yorky-style technique for the Annex, adding, “I want the crust to make you fall in love with the pizza from first bite.”
Each of the nine vendors at Pine Street Market—all local food names—were challenged to launch new concepts, rather than recycle successful formulas. (Read the news we broke on Salt & Straw’s soft-serve ice cream concept, Wiz Bang Bar).
We recently caught up with Forkish to find out how he’ll think big in 309 square feet, the sum total of Trifecta Annex. Here’s three reasons why we’re excited.
1. Pizza, the Forkish way. Eat Beat has learned the tiny space will pack a stack of Baker’s Pride electric deck ovens for 18-inch pies, whole or by the slice. While Ken’s Artisan Pizza keeps flavors straight and narrow, Forkish is getting more playful with this project. Plans right now include pies topped with the likes of ‘nduja (spreadable spicy salami), mortadella, and escarole, a specialty of Italy’s famed Pepe in Grani pizzeria. Forkish also promises seasonal changes, plenty of inspired pies week to week, and a Pomodoro Royale with cheese.
2. Croissants: double chocolate, honey-rye-ham, or spelt. OK, I have no idea what any of these taste like. But Forkish expects all three to be signatures—and that’s saying something. They’re also completely outside-the-box, so if nothing else, they’ll be interesting. A chocolate dough croissant? What could be bad? But if Forkish can make a truly good spelt croissant, that's something. He says it’s just the beginning of his croissant experiments with old-world grains.
3. Field Blend #3: Early reports suggested the Annex would be a toast bar, but Forkish tells Eat Beat that’s an overstatement, since the space has no bar. But a small collection of his levain breads will still rise as toast in the space. Right now, he’s planning on Trifecta’s butter and jam on Country Bread, and avocado and pineapple on his terrific walnut bread. But anyone who knows the language of Forkish knows his geeky Field Blends #1 and #2, earthy wonders featured in his first book. Now, there’s a Field Blend #3, and Forkish says we’ll find it at the Annex ... perhaps with a little butter and ham.