He considers himself “an outsider in the food universe” and ask him from one day to the next, he’ll tell you his future could include software, a pizza restaurant to call his own or some combination of both. It’s all part of the interesting story of Jeff Krupman, better known to many as the Pizza Hacker.
It was a Wednesday night when I met with Krupman and he was already in full pizza-making mode, working on the dough needed for events he was taking part in on Thursday and Friday. The dough-making process was inspired by the method used by Tartine Bakery in making its “Country White” loaf. While his schedule changes from week-to-week, you won’t see the Pizza Hacker at events like Off the Grid or organized gatherings of licensed vendors; he doesn’t have a license and doesn’t anticipate applying for one anytime soon.
“I don’t want to go through the hassle of purchasing an official food truck, which will cost $50,000-60,000,” Krupman said. “It could be a great life, but I haven’t really run the numbers because it’s not what I’m really dying to do.”
First things first for the Pizza Hacker; he is looking to start producing his contraption known as “the FrankenWeber” for sale. “Right now I’m just concentrating on the oven,” he said “I’ve been deluged with people that want the oven. Hopefully it would be cheap enough for them, maybe $1,000 or so.” The grill is modified to serve as a mobile wood-burning pizza oven, reaching temperatures of 1000F, the ideal temperature for cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas.
And while his first love is still software, his pizza journey took an unexpected turn more than a decade ago. He visited Naples famed Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, what he called a “life-changing” experience. “I didn’t know I could be that happy, it was so good,” he said. The experience made Krupman want to replicate that pizza pie, something he is still trying to do; make the perfect pizza.
“I gauge my nights by how many people say this is the best pizza I ever had in my life,” he said. “That’s what I’m shooting for. That’s all there is for me. If someone gives me four stars on Yelp, it brings down my average and it’s disappointing.”
So what’s next for the Pizza Hacker? Even Krupman doesn’t know, but it could include a tour with the FrankenWeber across the country or a restaurant on Mission Street, an area hopping with some of his favorite spots, like Mission Chinese Food, Commonwealth and Gracias Madre. But you get the feeling that he’ll be somewhere aiming to make “the best pizza in the world.”