Meet Michael Scelfo, the Boston Chef Reimagining New England Pizza
It’s caviar and pizza dreams at Michael Scelfo’s newest (and most personal) restaurant.
Michael Scelfo is serious about pizza. After a childhood spent savoring New York's top slices (not to mention a habit of embarking on pizza pilgrimages in his adult years), the chef had visions of a roaring, wood-fired hearth taking center stage at his first solo restaurant, Alden & Harlow in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But when he started the business in the historic, semisubterranean Casablanca space in Harvard Square—one with little kitchen real estate—those dreams went up in smoke.
So when planning his sophomore effort, Scelfo was determined to make amends. Named after the next leg in his gastronomic evolution, Waypoint opened last summer as a polestar of the chef's varied interests: the coastal cuisine he fell in love with after moving to Boston 17 years ago, the Italian-American sensibilities bestowed on him in his mother's kitchen, and, of course, that elusive pizza.
But alongside Waypoint's house-milled pizza dough and pastas, locally sourced raw bar, and cocktail program, with an ambitious arsenal of absinthe (more than 20 varieties), which pie would become the menu mainstay? For Scelfo, that was the easy part.
"Since moving to New England, I've been a passionate eater of Frank Pepe's white clam pizza in New Haven[, Connecticut]," he says. "And I grew up eating clam sauce, so this recipe is basically the marriage of my two favorite things."
Related: How to Clean Clams:
Scelfo admits that crafting his own interpretation proved daunting. Through much trial and error (his three kids serve as trusted taste-testers), he found his solution in his mother's clam sauce, which flouts tradition by pairing seafood with gobs of sharp pecorino cheese. A deconstructed version with garlic-parsley oil and chopped Duxbury littlenecks, Waypoint's clam pizza takes a Scelfo holiday favorite to the mainstream.
Home: Boston (but grew up in New York, Kansas City, and California)
NFL allegiance: Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest obsession (besides pizza): Comic books, of which he owns more than 5,000
Preferred pizza destination: "New York pizza is still the best pizza in the country. I have no problem saying that."
Make His Recipe
Recreate the crispy crust from Waypoint's wood-fired hearth by cooking your pie on a pizza stone, then enjoy a slice of New-England-meets-Italian heaven.
- Recipe: Chopped-Clam Pizza