For our May issue, celebrity chef Michael Chiarello grilled asparagus piadine—a type of pizza from Emilia-Romagna—in the courtyard of his Napa restaurant, Bottega. Here's how the photo shoot (and video how-to) went down.

Margo True

Michael Chiarello grills dough over a firepit he built himself in 20 minutes. The tasty result: pizza. (Photos by Thomas J. Story)

For our May issue, celebrity chef, TV star, and cookbook author Michael Chiarello grilled asparagus piadine—a type of pizza from Emilia-Romagna—in the courtyard of his Napa restaurant, Bottega. He topped the piadine with asparagus pesto and a salad of arugula, asparagus tips, Meyer lemon, and roasted garlic.

The path to pizza: An hour earlier, the courtyard was a flurry of prep activity—minus Chiarello, who the day before had wrapped up filming on his upcoming TV show, Supermarket Superstar (it airs on the Lifetime channel later this year.) On top of that, his pastry chef had suddenly quit, right before the opening of his new San Francisco restaurant, Coqueta. Chiarello was inside vetting candidates for the position.

Behind the scenes of our photo shoot with Michael Chiarello. (Photo by Margo True)

As Chiarello juggled the deadlines and details, Travis Westrope, banquet chef at Bottega, seasoned the roasted garlic. Sunset’s staff photographer, Tom Story, zoomed in for a closeup, and his assistant, Ebbe Yovino-Smith, helped with the videotaping.

After the fire had been stoked and all the pizza ingredients were prepped and ready, Chiarello emerged and began stretching dough. Within minutes we had both the recipe photographs and a video how-to—not to mention slices of that amazing pizza. It was a busy and delicious few hours.

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