LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A special education teacher with a love for making dough is making it big in the Las Vegas food scene.

Ethan Speizer comes to Town Square every day after taking a chance and opening his own restaurant. He does this, while also teaching full-time for the Clark County School District.

Before making his signature dishes at his restaurant…

“Look at this monster of a calzone right here.”

Ethan is up at the crack of dawn five days a week.

“Good morning. It is way too early to be up. About to shower. Three hours of sleep is not enough,” he says.”

For his job as a special education teacher.

“Alright, leaving Keller Middle School here now – on my way to Solamente to sell some pizzas.”]

Although both jobs represent his two biggest passions, they don’t always allow for much sleep.

“I, last night, didn’t leave here until 1:45 a.m. I got up at 2:15. Had to be up by 5:30 and to school by 7:15, teaching by 8:00:”

His restaurant in Town Square – Solamente Pizza – as been open since September, and he’s been making quite an impression.

“I had Penn Jillette come in the other day.”

Celebrities and famous chefs alike have tried, and loved, Ethan’s pizza.

“You see all these air pockets in here that, as soon as it hits that hot oven, you’re going to end up with something like this, which is this beautiful outside ring of puffed air, and you’re going to have the lightest crust ever, as you can see when he lifts that up,” shared Scott Commings, the winner of season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen.

Commings recently stopped by to make some pizzas with Ethan, and learn about the way he makes his signature dough.

“There are a million things that can go wrong with dough, and somehow he’s finding a way to make it perfect. And this is some of the best dough and pizza I’ve seen come out,” says Commings.

The dough, which Ethan makes in a uniquely unconventional way, is the key to his pizza’s popularity.

“How can we fit as much hydration as we do into a dough that allows it to be crispy and soft simultaneously? This dough is rated for a certain amount of water, which is 60%, and I’m at 80-86%, so it’s beyond what it’s supposed to be,” he says.

“A much higher hydration is going to be that light air – that poof that you get when you bite into it. But now he’s doing it with pizza,” says Commings.

Ethan’s state-of-the-art pizza oven, bought when he opened the shop, is another key.

“That’s not fahrenheit. That’s Celsious, so we’re talking like 850 or so degrees,” he shares.

“So I know the back of the oven here is going to be a little hotter. That’s going to instantly make the naturally occurring gasses just explode.”

Customers rave about the consistency of his pizzas.

“The dough – light, fresh, airy,” says Jay Levy.

“Dough-wise, sauce-wise and ingredients – que magnifique.”

Ethan loves the praise.

“To walk around that dining room and hear people tell me, ‘I was in Italy and I didn’t taste something like that.’ It takes my breath away, literally. I’m like, ‘Where’s my inhaler?’”

His fellow-chef Commings confides, he’s spent years mastering dough.

“We all work on our crafts in this industry, and it takes us a long time to find out what we love and how to get there, and Ethan figured it out a lot quicker than us.”

And in just over a year, Ethan’s dough is up there with the best the veteran has seen – and all while still working full-time as a teacher.

“This is pretty remarkable. You’ve got somebody who has this kind of passion that he’s put all this effort into putting out his ingredients because he’s so excited about it. He just wants to get it out to people who want to try it,” says Commings.

The next step for Ethan is upsizing. Because of the success he’s had, he’s had to turn away customers, since he can only fit so much dough in his small kitchen.


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