This Chef Cooks Pizzas Using Molten Lava

With its volcano-baked pies, Pizza Pacaya may be the world's most unique pizzeria.

I don't know much about volcano safety, but I feel like the gist is this: If you see molten hot lava heading your direction, you head the other way. Chef David Garcia had a different plan. When he saw lava, he went right towards it… and set up a makeshift pizzeria… and started using the lava to cook pizzas for tourists… because—in his own words—"some call me crazy."

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Garcia—who also said "passion for cooking is sometimes crazy"—got the idea to use the lava flowing from Guatemala's Pacaya volcano to cook pizzas after watching tour guides roast marshmallows with their groups. "I took the idea and I wondered what else could be cooked with the lava," he told AccuWeather. "So one day I prepared a pizza, took it to the volcanic rocks and in 14 minutes it was ready. The high temps from the nearby lava gave it an exclusive taste and an amazing crunch. I told myself, 'This needs to continue.'"

However, he also admitted getting it right repeatedly wasn't so simple. Garcia told the AFP, "It was difficult for me to learn the technique here so the pizza doesn't [get] burnt. And it is also a risk to be on the shore because it is at a high temperature of 1,500 to 2,000 degrees, so I have to watch the wind direction so it doesn't affect me." Additionally, since the lava is flowing, he also reportedly has to be careful the rectangular pans he cooks his pies in doesn't simply get swept away.

It should be known that Garcia isn't alone in volcanic cookery, as scientists in Iceland were cooking hot dogs over Mount Fagradalsfjall earlier this year. But since launching Pizza Pacaya in 2019, Garcia seems to have his business down to a science (more than just a science experiment): He's become almost as popular of a tourist attraction as the volcano itself. "You don't see this anywhere else, and the fact that there's a pizza chef in the heart of the volcano is impressive and unique in the world," one visitor was quoted as saying.

That said, if you want to see Garcia's work, you don't have to head to an active Guatemalan volcano: You can just follow him on Instagram.

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