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Are You Born A Pizza Chef Or Do You Become One? of Walter Zannoni

March 31, 2020

I was born pizzaiolo. This is the fourth generation of pizza makers in my family. Since I was a child I have smelled the scents of the products of our land and the passion that has been passed on to me has led me to commit to this gastronomic art.

Have you attended any course or school, or did you have a teacher who taught you the job? I started myself in the kitchen, learning by doing. Then, as the passion was getting stronger and stronger, I felt the need to refine my skills. I attended several training courses to improve my knowledge of the ingredients and processing techniques.

What is the role of the ingredients in your pizza? The ingredients are the essence of my work. My intention is always to give greater value to the products of our land. First of all the tomato, as well as the extra virgin olive oil and dairy products. Speaking of which, we only use the mozzarella cheese produced by Mozzarè, both cow and buffalo mozzarella. The secret of a good mozzarella, beyond its high quality and freshness, is its balance.

If it is too milky it can moisten the dough, if it is little milky it can dry the dough while cooking. With Mozzarè and its DOP products, we have found the great quality and the perfect balance. Is the perfect dough possible? I’m afraid the perfect dough does not exist. It is the pizza chef’s expertise that gives the ideal quality to the dough, the taste that customers expect. I personally prefer the indirect dough, with a pre-ferment and a longer fermentation.

Is the oven important? For me, the oven is strictly wood-fired. But I have to say that the new electric ovens can now have the same level of baking capacity because with the new technologies you are able to reach very high temperatures. Tell us the three pizzas you don’t want to miss in your restaurant. Margherita for sure, a classic that emphasizes the basic ingredients of any good pizza and the products of our territory. At the moment we are recommending a seasonal pizza that we call “Memories from our childhood” because its flavors recall the scents of the Campanian tradition.

I also highly recommend a more wintery pizza with the classic Neapolitan “soffrito” (that is a mixture of finely chopped onions, celery and carrots sauteed in olive oil) instead of the offal.

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