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Father of Gourmet Pizza, Ed LaDou, Dies at 52

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In addition to helping Wolfgang Puck put Spago's pizza on the map, Ed LaDou created California Pizza Kitchen's original barbecue chicken pizza, and Caioti's powerful salad dressing that supposedly makes pregnant women go into labor. He died on December 27. An excerpt from the LA Times obit:

One day while dining at Prego in San Francisco, Puck tried a LaDou original -- pizza topped with ricotta cheese, red peppers, pâté and mustard. Puck offered him a job in his yet-unopened restaurant in Los Angeles.

In January 1982, Spago opened with LaDou as pizza chef, carrying out the visions of Puck. There was pizza topped with smoked salmon and pizza topped with duck sausage. Puck also allowed LaDou to select toppings.

"It was like being an artist who'd worked with 10 colors all of his life and then got to use 300," LaDou once said.

The success of Spago was stunning. The Hollywood crowd, the rich and famous, packed the place to eat pizza made by LaDou.

LaDou said in a 1985 interview: "We are at the threshold of a new epoch in pizza dining, an epoch that will transform convention into invention and open up an infinite spectrum of pizza possibilities." Obviously a man who took pizza very seriously. He opened Caioti Pizza Café first in Laurel Canyon, now in Studio City, which still has some of the area's best pizza. In 1999, Jonathan Gold called LaDou "Hollywood's oddball genius of dough." Thoughts go out to Ed's family and friends.
· Ed LaDou, 52; chef pioneered gourmet pizza revolution [LAT]
· Dough Boy [LA Weekly]