What do you think it is about pepperoni that makes it successful across the world?
Number one — visually, it pops. That’s the emoji for pizza, pepperoni. Also, from a flavor profile, with pizza, you have starch, you have creamy flavors, and maybe a little salt. The condiments at every pizzeria — it’s oregano, a pungent spice; red pepper flake, a heat spice; and garlic powder, something that’s profoundly savory. What if you mashed these things together into a meat incarnation to make the meat, cheese, and bread combo? There’s even a great restaurant in Portland by that name because it is so quintessential. A cheeseburger is, in and of itself, meat, cheese, and bread. The grilled cheese with bacon, the Philly cheesesteak, the Philly roast pork, the Cubano — meat, cheese, bread.
Pepperoni [is] visually impactful. Great flavor profile. You can cook it different ways. Even the fact that you can say to me, “Cups or flats?” — we can talk about things like that like pepperoni connoisseurs. Why not have a store that celebrates it?
When you walk into a pizza shop, what slice are you ordering?
I love pepperoni. There’s always pepperoni, and I love a good chicken slice. They call it the chicken parm slice with the chopped little bits of chicken parm on it. [I’m getting] pepperoni and that, plus an ice-cold root beer.
New items will be dropping every day at the Hormel Pepperoni Pizza Pop-Up Shop from September 13-19.
This interview has been edited for clarity.