Here is an interview with Roberto Caporuscio and his daughter Giorgia.

Pizza at Don Antonia by Starita

Roberto Caporuscio and his daughter Giorgia are master pizzaioli (pizza makers). Roberto explains the oven he uses to be able to cook his pizzas in 90 seconds. He explained they come out perfect every time.

Giorgia, Albert Grande and Roberto Caporuscio

Giorgia, Albert Grande and Roberto Caporuscio

From his website we share the following:

World-renowned Neapolitan pizza chefs, Roberto Caporuscio of the wildly popular Kesté Pizza & Vino in New York City, and his maestro, Antonio Starita, third generation owner of one Naples’ oldest and most revered pizzerias, Pizzeria Starita a Materdei, have joined forces to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Midtown Manhattan at Don Antonio by Starita.

Located at 309 West 50th Street in New York City, Don Antonio by Starita is where pizza fans can indulge in an expansive assortment of more than 60 traditional and creative, wood-fired Neapolitan pies, crafted from the finest ingredients, including homemade mozzarella. Highlights include a selection of pizze fritte (lightly fried pizza), such as the “Montanara Starita”,

Roberto discusses his pizza oven which was made in Naples and imported to New York. The oven is very unusual in that it has a small opening in the front. The pizzas come out perfect in 90 seconds.

Girogia happened to be in New York at the time of this interview, so it was a treat to be able to discuss pizza with her. She explains her favorite pizza and how it is made. She curently works at the Don Antonio’s location in Atlanta. She is a master pizza maker and is following in the footsteps of her famous father.

Here is the interview:

Don Antonios has several locations.

Don Antonio’s by Starita
309 West 50th Street (at 8th Ave.)
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 646.719.1043

and find them in Atlanta:

Don Antonio by Starita
102 West Paces Ferry Road Northwest
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
Phone: (404) 844-2879

In Search of the Pizza Dream Part 1

Here is a letter I recently received:

“Albert, A few years ago I sent you an email, asking you for some advice. I had just gotten laid off from my Job on Wall Street and knew that I didn’t want to go back into the fat race of the financial world. I loved making pizza and knew I wanted to do something with the passion I had for it.

Alberto Grande, Giorgia, and Roberto Caporuscio

Alberto Grande, Giorgia, and Roberto Caporuscio

When we first spoke ,you pretty much told me that I knew what I had to do, deep down. You reminded me that since I lived in New York, there were ample opportunities to sculpt my craft. In other words The knowledge was there for the taking. I just needed to cease it. Not long after we spoke I wrote a letter to two titans of the pizza world. Roberto Caporuscio, of Keste, and Paulie Gee of Paulie Gees.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

You commented to me you enjoyed reading that letter so much that you put it in one of your newsletters. In the letter I explained my passion, and how serving pizza, and more importantly, bringing others together with good food was in my blood.

The letter went over so well that I was able to learn from both of these masters, first at Roberto’s pizza class and then working at Paulie Gees as a Pizzaiolo for 2 years. The knowledge I gained has been invaluable and I am indebted to both Men for the opportunities they gave me as well as my resume. Now I am starting my own place. It is called ” Urban Fire” located in Madison, NJ.

We will be serving authentic Neapolitan pizza and Italian Street eats, Such as Porchetta sandwiches, zeppoles , Arancini , salads etc. We have a Stefano Ferrara oven from Naples , and our pizza will be severed I a fast/casual style, where the customer gets to go down the line and choose what sauce, cheese and toppings they prefer, to create their own pie. We cook it in our wood burning oven at 800- 1000 degrees and the pie will be ready in 60-90 seconds! I am very excited We should be opened in March, but before then I just waned to reach out to you and say, “thank you” for your help and advice in getting me started.

You helped me get on the path to following my dream and now that dream is finally becoming a reality. Please, if you are ever in the NY/NJ area, please stop by and see me. I’d be honored to host you. Also.

Once again Albert, thank you for everything, for all your help along the way and as always,

Pizza on Earth!

Yours truly,

Anthony Saporito, Owner

Urban Fire,
Madison, NJ

Thanks Anthony. Tell us more about your pizza quest!

I understand you have just undertaken an incredible journey to have a goal
of getting into the pizza business.

Albert: You had a dream, you showed passion and you put effort in and you made
your dream a reality…

 Tell me a bit about you Anthony. What led you to get into the pizza
business?

Anthony: I studied Finance in College. Don’t ask me why. It never really excited me. For the first 10 years after college I worked as a Trader on the Floor of the New York Stock Exchange. At first I loved the fast pace, and interaction with others, but one day we all came in and they told us that the Exchange was abandoning its 200 year old way of doing business, and going computerized. After that, Layoffs started coming every few months. It was a terrible feeling, wondering day to day, when it was going to be your turn. When I first started, my company had 350 employees. When I finally did get laid off, there was 48. I was actually ecstatic when my Boss tapped me on the shoulder to tell me the news -I had already been dreaming of Pizza for the last 2 years prior. Getting laid off was just the kick in the rear I needed to get started.

Albert: Of all the other Jobs, why did you decide to do your own business. Why Pizza?

Anthony:  Entertaining others and cooking for them is in my blood. I grew up in a traditional Italian/American household and my Grandmother’s house on Sunday was like Grand Central station. People came in and out all day. Some stayed for dinner, some ate and ran, some came for coffee. I was always enamored how she was able to feed everyone with such ease and how much Joy she was able to bring to others by doing so. It was contagious. Even when I was in college, and studying Finance, I was still always using the Kitchen in my dorm to cook for everyone. I loved it.

Working in a Job that I had zero drive for really annoyed me. I knew that the next line of business I went into was going to be something I had a Passion for. I didn’t have to think for too long to come up with, what exactly that was, and the answer was Pizza. Pizza is just one of those things that makes everyone happy and excited. You have an age old recipe, and yet you can still be creative. And creating different pizzas with the sole purpose of having others enjoy it, and bringing a smile to their face is what moves me. Much like the feeling I had at my Grandmothers house. I always wanted to do something on my own in the food service industry. This was my chance. I was 30 years old, and decided to do something on my own that I knew I would love. Had I just put my Résumé online and took another desk job, I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life. I had to take a shot.

Stay tuned for the rest of this incredible interview….

If you are in the pizza business or interested in getting into the Pizza business, I recommend: Growing Pizza: How to Plant the Seeds to a Successful Pizzeria

And also: Profits in the Pie: Effective Marketing Tactics to Seize YOUR Slice of the $38.1 Billion Pizza Pie

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In Las Vegas for Pizza Expo

International Pizza Expo 2013

International Pizza Expo 2013

Coming to Las Vegas for the Pizza Expo, brings back wonderful memories. The pizza, the products, and the people. There are some fascinating people here. The Pizza Expo is a wonderful celebration about pizza and the pizza business. While there are a number of workshop and events, there are also hands on pizza tasting, pizza making, pizza judging and pizza tossing. Make no mistake, Pizza Expo is aimed at the pizza professional.

Estimates are of crowds of over 7,000 attendees. The gathering is made up of pizza pros and those who support the professional pizza business. There are different types of flour, pizza ovens, all manner of pizza toppings, cheeses, pizza hardware and pizza software. If it is pizza business related, even remotely, you will find that item or service at the pizza Expo. From various bakeware,  to pizza ovens,  kitchen magnets, and pizza peppers.if you want it, you got it.

One of the very coolest additions to this years Pizza  Expo is the official International Pizza App. You can find out more about it at the official Pizza Expo Website.

Last time I was here I got to meet some amazing pizzaiolo. The Italian Crew was a personal high-light. This was an amazing crew of some the best pizza makers on the planet. They were sharing there wisdom, their expertise and their energy.

I learned some great dough techniques during my last visit. I discovered the gentle, yet firm touch of the master pizza maker. He was able to shape the dough into finished pizza shape with a few slaps and pulls.

Yes there were some dangerous pizza creatures:

For me the best part of the whole experience are the stories and tales about pizza and those who lovingly make pizza. Meeting Jonathan Goldsmith of Spaca Napoli was one of the most rewarding experiences. Jonathan is not only a gentle pizza spirit who is truly honored when you eat his pizza, but also a social activist, who creates significant change through his business.

Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Pizza and Vino in New York was there. He gave a lot of positive energy to the pizza making crew from Naples. As a matter of fact some of the pizza masters from Naples showed Roberto how to make pizza!

And what can I say about spending time with John Arena. John and his Cousin Sam founded Metro Pizza in Las Vegas. (FYI: you can see a video tribute I did for Metro Pizza, here.)

John is a pizza master who has taken it upon himself to be a pizza advocate to spread the joys, wisdom and enlightenment of making pizza. And yes I did say enlightenment. Making pizza is truly a spiritual experience.

John Arena, discusses pizza

John Arena, discusses pizza

I hope to keep you, updated on all the latest info of the 2013 International Pizza Expo

So stay tuned….

Whenever I leave Hawaii, (and of course return) there is only one airlines I use, and that’s Hawaiian Airlines. You can find out more about Hawaiian Airlines CLICK HERE.

Check out amazon for all of your on-line and offline needs.

In this interview with Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Pizzeria and Vino, he reveals his inspiration for making great pizza.

Roberto explains his original inspiration for pizza was his mentor. Now he is inspired by his cusomers.

From the Keste website here is some history of Roberto:

It was…in Napoli, the birthplace of pizza, that Roberto went to study the art and craft of this culinary delight with the most talented masters of the Neapolitan pizza makers. After training with the best, he opened two successful pizzerias in Pittsburgh, followed by A Mano in Ridgewood, NJ . Each endeavor brought critical acclaim from the culinary industry, as well as the rave reviews and articles in books and magazines.

While I discussed pizza with Roberto, he revealed to me his true inspiration for pizza:

My customers are my inspiration…I want to do better every day for them. Every morning when I wake up I want to do a better job for them.

He also talks about his new pizza school. You can learn the art of pizza making from Roberto and his world reknowned staff.

What I was most impressed when I did this interview was how friendly and happy, Roberto was. He allowed his customers to come right up to him while he was making pizza. He answered all of their questions. He took time for them. He shared all of his knowledge about pizza. And he did it with a smile on his face.

Roberto is truly an inspirational pizzaiolo. A great person, making great pizza. What a combination.

You can get more information about Robert’s Pizza School, here. The school will teach you not only how to make pizza but also how to make mozzarella.

Roberto Caporuscio is a true Legend of Pizza . He has passion and belief. He truly cares about his customers and his pizza.

Keste Pizzeria and Vino
271 Bleecker Street
New York, New York 10014

212-243-1500

Another Pizza from Keste:

Amazing pizza at Keste from Pizza Therapy

A simple pizza from Keste

You can watch  Roberto Working Dough, here.

Respectfully submitted,

Albert Grande
The Pizza Promoter

And if you want to get into The Pizza Business, get a copy of the Pizza Business Papers. you can discover all the inside tricks of how to start a pizza business.

Here is another great resource:

I came accross these amazing videos that I felt I needed to share.

Here you can see Roberto Caporuscio of Keste and Don Antonio Starita of Pizzeria Starita demonstrating pizza.

It is fun to watch as Roberto translates for Don Antonio.

In the following video you can see the dough handling technique of Roberto Caporuscio of Keste.

You can see the masterful way the dough is handled. Gently yet deliberately. There is magic in those hands. Roberto is simply an amazing pizzaiolo.

For more pizza adventure, visit:

Pizza Therapy

Albert Grande
The Pizza Promoter


Roberto Capruscio learned to make pizza from the masters in Naples.

Naples, Italy is the birthplace of pizza. He studied and perfected his craft through years of hard work. He has been rewarded and honored by his ultra successful pizzeria Kest, located at at 271 Bleeker Street, in New York City.

The Keste website describes Robert’s journey:

“Roberto Caporuscio was born and raised on a dairy farm in Pontinia, about an hour’s drive from Napoli where he first developed his culinary skills producing and selling cheese.

It was, however, in Napoli, the birthplace of pizza, that Roberto went to study the art and craft of this culinary delight with the most talented masters of the Neapolitan pizza makers. After training with the best, he opened two successful pizzerias in Pittsburgh, followed by A Mano in Ridgewood, NJ . Each endeavor brought critical acclaim from the culinary industry, as well as the rave reviews and articles in books and magazines.

Two years ago, Chef Roberto became President of APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani) and consultant to a variety of restaurants in Chicago, Denver, St Louis, and Madison – bringing his knowledge, experience and influence to a wider audience.”

i was fortunate to be able to interview Robert recently at the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. He discusses what it takes to be a legendary pizzaiolo. He talks about his experiences and his training. He also tells why he feels Keste has become so successful.

You can visit:
Keste
271 Bleeker Street
New York

Keste website

Here is something I have in common with Roberto.

We were both featured in Ed Levine’s Book,

Pizza: A Slice of Heaven: The Ultimate Pizza Guide and Companion

Now that is amazing!
Albert Grande
The Pizza Promoter