BYOP Contest Winner Shares a Slice of His World

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During September, we launched our first-ever LloydPans Build Your Own Pizza (BYOP) bracket. We’re so used to seeing innovative, unique, even sometimes wacky pizza creations that we wondered, “What pizza, made from scratch, would win out in our readers’ pick?” And, traditional ingredients won out: New York-style crust, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and onions. 

After the BYOP was named, we tasked our faithful followers with making the pizza, and a winner was randomly chosen to receive a LloydPans product. The winner, @jimmyhank_pizza, had a beautiful looking BYOP, and we chatted with him about his life as a pizza maker, the LloydPans difference and the connections he’s made along the way

We read your story of pizza making during quarantine-turned-business. Did you have any formal pizza making training before testing out your delicious concepts at home?

I had no formal pizza training before quarantine and only made a few pizzas for my family for dinner. It was nothing too serious and not often. We just made a couple pies every few months or so for “Friday night pizza.” 

After the first week or so of quarantine, I started experimenting with basic bread doughs, baguettes, sandwich rolls, bagels, soft pretzels, anything with flour, yeast, salt and water …  and it sort of just morphed into being focused on different styles of pizza. 

I don’t run this as a typical business.  All proceeds go to charity and basically run as a non-profit. I started my Jimmyhank_Pizza instagram as more of a creative outlet, and the pop-up idea became a way to share our love of great pizza with family, friends and neighbors. Giving all the proceeds to charity was the icing on the cake. 

Tell us about your first experience with LloydPans, how you heard about us and your first pans that you baked with us.

When I started to get hyper-focused on pizza, I was seeing LloydPans on a lot of the popular pizza instagrams. I think @eddiespizza412 and @tiospizza were where I saw the first few pizzas from LloydPans. That made me really think, “WOW, I need to figure out how to make pizza like that!”

The first LloydPan I ordered was a Sicilian 12”x12”x1.5” in May of 2020. After experimenting with that pan and style for a while, I started to get really intrigued by Detroit-style and that beautiful frico cheese edge. I ordered a couple 8”x10”x2” Detroit pans and got started trying to figure out how to perfect this style and create that beautiful frico crown. While I enjoy making all styles of pizza, I feel that Detroit-style is my specialty, and LloydPans are a huge part of making it happen.

How do LloydPans make the difference in your pizza making life? 

The high quality build and non-stick pre-seasoned nature of LloydPans make a huge difference in my pizza making. I mentioned the frico cheese edge on Detroit-style. For me, that is not even remotely possible without my LloydPans. If you scroll through my Insta grid, you’ll see the exact moment where I figured out the frico. It was just an awesome feeling! 

As I got more experience with the style and perfecting the cheese edge, I sort of was anointed as “The Frico King” by some of my Instagram pizza friends, which is extremely humbling coming from these amazing pizza makers. The even bake and smooth release of the crust and cheese from LloydPans is unmatched. I’ve used these pans on my grill, in my home oven and in my Ooni Koda 16 at 900 degrees. I’ve made hundreds of pizzas with them and they are still performing like new.  They are just AMAZING pans!

Online, e-commerce, pop-ups, ghost kitchens — your business model is really embracing some trends to emerge from COVID quarantine. Can you tell us a little more about that road to success and what your customers love about it?

As I touched on earlier, we’re not running this as a typical business, but more as a creative outlet and a way to share awesome pizza with family, neighbors and friends while donating to charities that are important to us. My close friend and neighbor Dan (@DanDoesDough) and I did five pop-ups over the summer to raise money for the American Cancer Society and Slice out Hunger. 

Using Instagram as our sole means of promotion and online pre-orders, we’ve sold out every event. We’ll set up our Oonis in the driveway with a few tables and basically create a pop-up outdoor kitchen. We did this with contactless, curb-side pickup with specific time slots and cashless, electronic payment to maintain social distancing throughout quarantine. Typically, we’re doing 40 to 50 pizzas per event over a four to five hour period. Through the generosity of our friends and neighbors, we’ve raised over $7,000 this summer with 100% going to charity. Having an extended support system is awesome as well. All of the ingredients are donated by us and with the generosity of some of our friends like Bianco Dinapoli Tomatoes. 

Feedback from our community has been mind blowing. I honestly think we shocked ourselves by how well these pop-ups have run and the response we’ve received. 

How did you hear about the BYOP contest?

I think it was Jim @NEPAPizzaReview on Instagram that first tipped me off to this contest. Jim runs a great page, and he’s from Pennsylvania. I feel like he’s a friend, even though we’ve never met in person. That’s one of the crazy things about the Instagram pizza community, everybody is so supportive and willing to share tips and tricks. I feel like I’ve ‘met’ a lot of great people through this pizza journey, and hope to meet some of them in person one day.

If you’re building your own BYOP, what would be your personal favorites? 

If I were building my own BYOP, it would have to be Buffalo Chicken Detroit-Style.

This is my favorite Detroit to make. The spicy Buffalo sauce with the cool, creamy bleu cheese, fluffy Detroit crust and crunch from the celery is just insane. It’s a great contrast of flavors and textures. 

Detroit-style crust

Buffalo sauce shredded chicken

Mozzarella and bleu cheese

Bleu cheese dressing drizzle with celery garnish

Another favorite of mine is the vodka sauce with double pepperoni Detroit or New York-style. To me, vodka sauce is extremely underrated on pizza. It’s amazing, especially paired with a nice spicy cupping pepperoni with some fresh basil garnish and fresh grated Pecorino Romano. It literally is a flavor bomb of a pizza.

Detroit- or New York-style crust

Vodka sauce

Mozzarella

Fresh grated Pecorino Romano

Torn fresh basil

For more information, visit https://linktr.ee/jimmyhank, and to order your LloydPans, don’t forget https://lloydpans.com/.

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