Spago pizza chef, Ed LaDou, passes
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The pioneering pizza chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago and the man who developed California Pizza Kitchen's first menu, Ed LaDou, had died at age 52.
LaDou, whose barbeque chicken pizza is a staple on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen, was the first pizza chef at Spago and pioneered the unique California pizza style, the Los Angeles Times said Friday.
"Ed really set the tone for the pizza," said Mark Peel, a former chef at Spago.
LaDou was born Oct. 9, 1955, at McChord Air Force Base in Washington and got his first job at a restaurant while in high school.
Puck encountered LaDou's pizza with ricotta cheese, red peppers, pate and mustard while on a trip to San Francisco and offered him a job at his yet-unopened restaurant.
Spago opened in 1982 with smoked salmon and duck sausage as featured toppings that LaDou chose himself.
"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 of Puck's hands-off approach.
LaDou carried the momentum from Spago and California Pizza Kitchen to his own venture, Caioti, in Laurel Canyon and Studio City.
LaDou lost his battle with cancer Dec. 27 at the age of 52.
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