After hours at the Monogram booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center, GE fired up its furnace and let me get up close and personal.
Not that you would want to get too close. As you might expect, an 800-degree pizza oven gets really, really hot. Like, “I hope I don’t melt this lens hood going in for a close-up” hot. It wafted away without issue in a convention hall the size of an airplane hangar, but homeowners will definitely want to crack a window and a cold beer to cope.
In person, the Monogram Pizza Oven is every bit as handsome as earlier photos suggested, though you’ll need to generously employ a dishrag to keep it that way. Transferring pizza from peel to oven has a way of scattering flour everywhere. We didn’t have a chance to try the app, but selecting a pizza type on the built-in, exceptionally bright touchscreen looks pretty easy.
As for the pizza, I should first disclose that I’m a certified pizza snob and an aspiring home pizza chef who takes most of my cues from Serious Eats resident genius and home pizza aficionado J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. OK, I’m an acolyte. The guy knows pizza, and has tried just about everything to replicate the goodness of a wood-fire oven at home. Even he’ll profess that nothing beats the real deal, though with some of his tips, lots of trial and error, and a pizza steel I’ve done well enough to impress friends and family.
Embarassingly, my pies have nothing on what was coming out of this oven. Each slice was crispy on the outside, still chewy inside, with just a hint of crumbly black char around the edges — an effect I’ve never been able to replicate in my home oven. You could have told me it came from a 100-year-old brick oven in Brooklyn and I’d believe you, and ask for more. The benchmark Neapolitan hit almost all the right marks (with just a hint of watery runoff from the fresh mozzarella) and the pepperoni and hot honey pies were flawless.
That last slice that everyone was too polite to take? I ate it.
At $9,900, I know I’ll never own a Monogram Pizza Oven, but based on my pizza consumption at this event, I may not have the self-control to handle it if I did. GE reps crushed my hopes of ever making a more affordable version outside the ultra-premium Monogram brand, but I don’t believe them. If this thing sells as they anticipate, I hope we’ll see a GE-branded version at an affordable … what, maybe $5,000?