Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Don Antonio Starita
|Tony Gemignani discusses the authenticity of Neopolitan pizza.|
I attended Tony Gemignani's second day workshop which focused on baking several styles of pizza, including Neopolitan pizza, the oldest pizza with traditions going back to Naples. A true Neopolitan pizza requires adhering to strict standards and guidelines set forth by the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana or AVPN. The requirements include the correct types of ingredients (00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala or Fior di latte, and sea salt), proper dough production techniques (by hand, fork or spiral mixer), and correct baking equipment and techniques (wood-fire oven, 485°C (900°F), 60-90 seconds bake time).
Tony makes nine different types of pizza for his customers at Tony's Pizza Napoletana, and of the nine, he believes the Neopolitan pizza is the most difficult to make. "It's simple, it's a pizza margherita. It's basil, tomato, cheese, but it's not. Creating something so simple in line is actually the hardest thing to do. And when it comes to every style of pizza in our industry, this is the hardest. This style, it's a trade."
|Handmade by Don Antonio Starita|
Roberto Caporuscio of the popular Keste Pizza & Vino also presented the award, and happens to be one of Antonio Starita's students. Together, they partnered to open Don Antonio in NYC in February 2012. The "Montanara Starita" is one of their highlighted selections of pizza fritte (light fried pizza). It is a flash-fried pizza dough, topped with tomato sauce and smoked buffalo mozzarella, and quickly finished in the wood-fire oven. This technique was first created by Antonio Starita ten years ago, and is now emulated by many pizza makers, including Forcella in New York. It's been voted "Best Pizza" by the New York magazine in its annual "Best of NY" issue, and featured in Food & Wine, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal".
For those of you who speak or understand Italian, here is a video of Antonio Starita accepting the award:
|Antonio demonstrates his dough techniques with a translator|
Me and the Maestro!