Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza’s Essentials

Five things the pie-maker can’t live without.

Nostalgic smell: Garlic and fish sauce remind me of what I had growing up as a kid. My grandmother pretty much raised me and my sister, and those were key ingredients in her kitchen.

Wedding destination: When planning a wedding seemed like more work than opening two restaurants, [then-boyfriend/business partner Conrad Leifur and I] decided to elope. We picked the most exotic, romantic place we could think of: Bora Bora. It was incredible—the most stress-free, romantic thing we’ve ever done. We didn’t have to worry about the caterers or wonder if we’d do the chicken dance. We extended the vacation and called it a honeymoon.

Romantic meal: The first dinner Conrad ever made for me was pot stickers and a perfectly balanced gin martini—and he hasn’t really cooked anything for me since. But, oh, that martini.

Pizza topping: Simple plum tomato sauce. To me, it’s always about the crust when you’re talking about great pizza. However, without the sauce, it’s just bread. Take a simple, fresh tomato and a great crust and you’re good to go.

At-home pizza-making tool: A baking stone. You cannot make pizza at home without it. Make sure the oven is hot—hotter than you think it should be. Preheat at the highest setting for at least an hour or maybe two. Also, make certain to really let the dough rest—that’s how you develop the flavor.

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