Takeaway Truth: Domino's Chef's Best Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Domino's Chef's Best Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza.

Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we've decided to document the reality of fast food -- it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

Domino's seems pretty proud of its Chef's Best pizzas. Boasting square bases and premium toppings such as Camembert cheese and duck, the new range has been enthusiastically billed as the biggest "game changer" to hit the company in 20 years. Remove the hype, and they're basically just Crust pizzas for the budget set.

We put the Chef's Best range under the a Takeaway Truth spotlight when the pizzas first came out. We were a more innocent bunch back then, and the pizza received a slightly overgenerous Truth Rating of 8/10. On reflection, it probably deserved a 6 or 7.

Domino's recently updated its Chef's Best offerings, so we figured it was nigh time that we revisited the range. The hero of the new bunch is the Pepperoni & Parmesan which comes with extra mozzarella and jumbo-sized pepperoni baked with grated parmesan cheese.

The new pizza looks like a work of art in the advertisement -- we defy anyone to watch this clip without their mouth watering. But how does it actually stack up in reality?

Here's the Chef's Best Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza as it appears in Domino's advertising:

And here's what we were served from an Emu Plains outlet in NSW:

Finally, here's a side-by-side comparison of the poster image and actual pizza:

As you can see, our Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza wasn't nearly as sumptuous looking as we were led to believe by Domino's marketing material. The grated parmesan is barely visible, the pepperoni has been laid with less care (there's also less of it) and the mozzarella is far less generous.

Note the abundant strands of cheese in the marketing image compared to the real thing. This had nothing to do with temperature -- the excess mozzarella simply wasn't there. Indeed, our whole pizza looked a lot drier and less appetising. (The massive amount of steam in the advert is a bit ridiculous too: we highly doubt it looks like that even when you pull it out of the oven.)

All in all, the Chef's Best Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza isn't the worst example of unscrupulous fast food advertising we've seen, but there's way too much steam-and-mirrors going on for our liking.

Truth Rating: 6/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


Comments

    When they first brought "Chefs best" out the toppings went right to the edge, and I was quite happy to pay for it, but it didn't take long for both the toppings and sauces to shrink back from the edge losing a good 25mm all round. Stopped buying them... :(

      Shrinkage from the edge and less toppings turned us away.
      Wrote to them via email to complain but no reply.
      We don't buy from Domino's anymore.

      heres a nice life hack tip i discovered after i went on a massive health craze and stopped eating dominoes

      Basically go to your local grocer or baker and buy some greek pitta break (the flat type that look like lebanese bread) the reason i say pitta is because the greek type is softer, slightly thicker and doughy.
      I have noticed that bakers delight have started selling something similar targeted at Naan and Pitta eaters. Check it out

      Then grab a can of diced (not chopped) tomatoes. dont buy the leggo's premade pizza sauce.
      i personally recommend the Mutti Polpa tomato pulp range from your green grocer or just the closest equivalent from Aldi/Woolies

      its imported by Sandhurst http://retail.sandhurstfinefoods.com.au/our-range/mutti-range/

      I recommend you buy a pizza stone (i just leave my in the oven even when im baking stuff as it can only improve your baking)
      Theyre only $7-20 from aldi/homewarestores/online

      Finally ingredients (totally up to you)
      olive oil
      salt
      pepper
      oregano
      fresh basil leaves
      or basil spice
      pitta bread
      tomato paste
      mushrooms
      cheese (whatever you like)
      onion (optional)
      capsicum (optional)
      any kind of meat

      Preheat the oven to max to heat up the stone
      then just drizzle some olive oil on the bread, spread with spoon
      spoon some tomato paste and spread
      sprinkle some salt/pepper (very very little)
      add cheese
      top with remaining ingredients
      some more cheese

      pop in oven for 5-8 minutes (dont walk away)
      take out when you see that the edges are starting to char or cheese has melted

      use tongs/chopping board/flat dinner plate as a pizza peel to get it off the stone

      Sounds convoluted, but the ingredients will cost you like $10, meat will be extra obviously
      and you can make 3-4 meals out of one batch
      Whole process takes less than 10 minutes (preheating oven takes the longest)

      I swear to you for the price of 1 dominoes pizza you can make 2 gourmet pizzas at home (once you average out the cost of ingredients) and it will be done faster than if you were to wait at the store to eat it straight away

      It is also alot healthier and you control the toppings and the taste is more authentic

      The whole point of this is that i have always failed at makign pizza dough so i never made pizza. Once you use pitta as instant pizza base (not the crap stuff coles/woolies sell that taste like stale bread) you can whip up super authentic tasting pizza in less than 15 minutes and delay that heart attack for another few weeks

      the only caveat is that the bread isnt as chewy and doughy as the pan variety, so you may want to switch to say turkish bread

      In relation to healthy eating. as always when you make your own food, you can choose to put healthier ingredients. but you can always change things up a little

      I once made teriyaki chicken and duck pizza

      simply marinade some terriyaki chicken. cook it
      use the sauce as pizza sauce. add chicken, mushroom, onions, etc etc and cheese. bake done, tastegasm

      duck:
      Chinese premade duck
      strip the meat
      add to pizza
      use hoisin sauce (spread very thinly cause its strong)
      top with thinly sliced shallots/green onion
      add mushroooms and cheese

      asianpizzagasm

      i have never bought takeaway pizza since

      Last edited 19/10/13 6:16 pm

        Wow... thanks for that, I've been converted..... Oh hell, who am I kidding, I buy pizza so I don't have to cook..! I'm sure someone will take your advise though... Thanks anyway... ☋

          lol i buy when i dont wanna cook either

          but seriously it really isnt that much more inconvenient to make you own with a little preparation

    the ad was for Chef's Best + extra cheese and extra pepperoni..... :P

    In addition the pizza is so SALTY! No matter where I go around the area, pizza seems to have more salt in it than my salt shaker. Health wise is not good and too much salt can kill your organs.
    Is there anyone policing this...like EPA or Health Department...does anyone actually care ?

      You're eating pizza and it's the SALT you're worried about?

      Really, if you're looking for healthy food, pizza is way down there along with solid lard.

      I've long since given up on pepperoni pizza from the takeaway vendors. No matter what you do, even asking for doubled toppings, you wind up with occasional slices of pepperoni with large swathes of the base sauce showing through.

    I quite like their "Chefs Best" pizzas. I wouldn't eat them every day, certainly a treat! The only problem I have with them, is the square shape! I wish they were round like a normal pizza, would be a lot easier to eat!

    It doesn't look the same.. but it looks to be mostly the photography, not the food being a lie..

    In essence you got exactly what is pictured; a crust with toppings all the way to the edge, with cheese about as cooked, and well cooked pepperoni sprinkled with parmisan.

    The main thing is the moisture factor, in the photo it's clearly been misted with water, a bright light shining on it, crust not cut, and cheese still gooey. 99% of that is impossible to actually deliver to someone, and wouldn't actually impact the food at all.

    You're more than welcome to take the time to shoot your pizza in this way if you want.. But the food seems actually fairly surprisingly accurate to me..

      Well, the pizza base isn't covered edge-to-edge like in the advert. There's also less pepperoni -- some of the pizza segments have less than two pieces. And as mentioned, there's nowhere near as much cheese in the middle. So it's not just about the photography.

        you can't see the middle on either pizza - I think you are being fooled by the gooey strands and inferencing that since you didn't get those, it's because there's less.

        These strands are impossible to maintain when using a pizza cutter and as far as I know, completely on purpose - since this can make it a complete pain in the ass to eat. Also usually only possible at all when the pizza is seconds out of the oven, and usually not repeatable since through the melting and then resetting process, the cheese has already expelled most of its oil content, which is why even after reheating the cheese is often 'tough' or 'rubbery'. Not really avoidable in dominos line of business.

        Sincerely,
        Cheese addict #123.154

          Be that as it may, they're still showing something you're not getting. I want my stretchy cheese -- third-degree lip burns be damned!

      Dude that's bs. There's at least 30 slices or more of pepperoni on the pizza in the advertisement & I count about 12 on Chris's one. I realise they don't advertise a specific amount of pepperoni, but still, that's a kick in the nuts. I can't really tell much about the cheese though & think the stretchy gooey strands mislead to the appearance of more. In saying that though, there is at least one slice of Chris's pizza that has barely any cheese on one side.

      Dominos & Pizza Hut are always a mixed bag though. Sometimes fantastic, sometimes OK & sometimes shit. I was very surprised the other day when my Dominos pizzas were built to perfection.

    Dominos = the worst of all pizza chains.

      lol there's only 2, them and pizza hut.. and the two are so incredibly similar in reality in range and pricing..

      Crust occupy an entirely different market segment, and though making decent products; I forsee them very much going to way of Chooks and selling out to the big players once the market novelty dies down.

      That title belongs to Pizza Hut here. The local franchise is producing quality that is on par with Domino's, but can't go anywhere near matching the price.

      Locally, it goes *local pizza store*, Pizza Capers, Eagle Boys, Dominos, Pizza Hut for Taste.
      Domino's, Pizza Hut/Eagle Boys, *local pizza store*, Pizza Capers, for value for money.

        Honestly, I've never had much of a problem paying for PizzaCapers, I know they can be exy but I use the vouchers and get discounts etc. Its more expensive than the others but then, the quality is always so much higher it makes it worth it for me.

          That's the main problem for us here, our local store never really seems to have any available coupon codes, and the codes I find online don't work locally.

          Most of the time I get the vouchers that provide something like a free drink/garlic bread with the purchase of two large pizzas. And that's essentially spend 40 dollars or so and get a free garlic bread and drink. When you have that option or 10-14 dollars at Dominos, it's an easy choice.

          I do like Pizza Capers, but I recently had their Pork Belly, Scallop and Chorizo pizza, and it was a bit disappointing in terms of ingredient quality, 5cm sized scallops x 7 (1 per slice but one got forgotten I'd say) Lots of Chorizo because it's cheap, and the pork belly was fairly scarce.

            I wouldn't dare argue any of that. Without discount vouchers its expensive as hell this is true. Different stores give different deals too. One near us had 2 pizzas, bread and drink for 29.95. Great deal. But 40? No.

    I'm surprised you haven't realised this already, there is no truth in advertising!

    What does it taste like though?
    I had one last night the Parmesan and Pepperoni, it was quite good actually, when I ate it, I could see and taste the texture of the cheese, maybe they just really like me :)

    I had one, was not pleased. It came about the same as yours there. Way less meat than expected. Dominos is a constant let down and I cant believe they are still trying to push these things as the best thing that has happened to the takeaway pizza industry. They are mediocre at best and to try and call new pizza's game changers is just silly.

    I recently bought a few of these Chefs Best, and we were very surprised at how tasty and good they were, the picture above looks like you left it out for a day, trying to get the worst shot possible? I had the Prawn and Feta Pizza, all I can say its one of the best Pizzas I have had. Also like any Pizza, it matters who is making it, we usually went to our local Pizza shop, until one day recently they were that bad it turned me off Pizza for a good few months, then we decided to try these, now I want them once a week!

      the picture above looks like you left it out for a day, trying to get the worst shot possible?

      What would that gain me? We're not TRYING to make fast food look bad -- if a menu item scores 10/10 or 0/10 we still get the same amount of traffic from the article.

    YOU PEOPLE ARE SILLY, OBVIOUSLY ANY ADVERTISEMENT IS GOING TO SHOW THE "BEST CASE SCENARIO" , WHAT SHOULD THEY SHOW THE WORST CASE SCENARIO LIKE THE PIECES MOST OF YOU EAT OUT OF THE BOX THAT SAT OUT UNREFRIGERATED ALL NIGHT. i SEEMS PRETTY OBVIOUS THEY ARE GOING SHOW YOU IT WITH GOOD LIGHTING, JUST OUT OF THE OVEN, AND SMOKING HOT. AGAIN, SHOULD THEY BE EXPECTED TO SHOW THE WORST CASE THAT IS POSSIBLE? ALSO COUNT THE STUPID SLICES OF PEPPERONI AND THE "SALES ONE" HAD 21 PIECES, AND THE HORRIBLE REPRODUCTION HAD 18. YOU GOING TO CONDEMN THEM FOR 3 F'ING PIECES OF PEPPERONI. Sad part is, i dont even like dominos.

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