World’s best pizza chef is based in London – according to the ‘Michelin guide for Italian food’… here he exclusively reveals the secrets to a perfect dish
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Not using too many toppings, avoiding overworking the dough and staying light on the chilli oil is the secret to a perfect pizza, according to the best pizza maker in the world.
Michele Pascarella, who runs Napoli on the Road in Chiswick, west London, was named the best pizza maker in the world by ‘Michelin guide for pizzas’.
Mr Pascarella, who was born in Caserta, near Naples, before moving to the UK when he was 19 picked up the prestigious title this week at the 50 Top Pizza awards.
The 50 Top Pizza Awards is an annual event that recognizes the best pizzerias and chefs in the world, based on a rigorous selection process involving anonymous visits by experienced pizza critics.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Mr Pascarella – who has previously been named the best pizza in Europe outside of Italy – shared his secrets to the perfect dishes.
Michele Pascarella, who runs Napoli on the Road in Chiswick, west London, was named the best pizza maker in the world by ‘Michelin guide for pizzas’
‘I believe there is no perfection in making pizza and I think that’s the beauty about this job, because it’s an artisan work,’ she said.
‘However, you can get close to the perfection by working hard and being flexible during all the processes, because ours is artisan job and you must be ready to accept changes in temperatures, flours and techniques everyday to keep the quality at the top, improve your choices and evolve.
‘If you are passionate about your work then you can get close to perfection. It’s all about consistency. I have a personal quote that motivates me everyday, “Tomorrow my pizza must be better than today”,’ he said.
Napoli on the Road, which recently opened its second branch in Richmond, is famous for its innovative, contemporary Neapolitan pizza, offering unique twists on the much-loved dish.
Mr Pascarella added that being ‘passionate’ is the key to making pizza.
‘Love is more about the experience and emotions involved rather than just the final product. Enjoy the process and share your love for pizza with others!
‘Also don’t worry about making mistakes, they will help you discover new things about pizza and have more mastery over the process.
‘I think there are few mistakes about eating pizza, for example, overloading with too many toppings, making it difficult to enjoy the base, using a knife and fork instead of eating it with their hands, not pairing it with suitable beverage – missing out on a complete dining experience, and adding chilli oil everywhere’.
Mr Pascarella started his business by wandering around with his three-wheeler Ape Piaggio making wood fire pizzas all over London .
Mr Pascarella started his business by wandering around with his three-wheeler Ape Piaggio making wood fire pizzas all over London.
Recognised as the first pizzaiolo to bring contemporary high-crust pizza to the UK, Michele is now considered a ‘pioneer of contemporary pizza’.
Since starting out, his focus has always been to deliver the finest quality dishes using exclusively seasonal ingredients.
For this reason, the menu evolves every three months to respect the environment and what nature offers.
The common mistakes about making pizza, according to Michele
- Choosing the wrong flour, adding too much yeast, using too many condiments.
- My tip is always to try to use the right ingredients, the right flour for your ideal pizza process and to respect the rising hours according to the strength of the flour.
The pizzeria’s focus is on experimentation and innovation, utilising high-quality, locally sourced ingredients to create distinctively delicious flavour combinations.
The innovative dishes on Napoli on the Road’s seasonal menu are thoughtfully designed to highlight the unique characteristics of each ingredient.
‘When I joined the guide of the best pizzerias in Europe by 50TopPizza, first of all I thanked my team, as I strongly believe that without them I would not have been able to be the top in Europe and be elected the best pizza chef of the year 2023 in Europe.
‘I also believe that we do an incredible job on the seasonality of the products, by researching the best products to integrate into our pizzeria.
‘We are the first pizzeria in UK to use seasonal ingredients and to change our menu almost entirely, every three months, to respect the course of nature, as is strongly believe using seasonal products not only benefits the restaurant’s bottom line but also adds to the overall dining experience, attracting more customers and fostering a sustainable and community-oriented approach to the culinary business.
‘Also, being seasonal can be an advantage for a restaurant, for various important things like, freshness and flavour – seasonal products are often harvested at the right time, resulting in better taste and quality.
‘By using seasonal ingredients, a restaurant can support local farms and reduce the need for long distance transport.
‘Seasonal ingredients are generally abundant and this reduces the cost.
‘Another important thing about being seasonal is the menu diversity, that allows restaurant and chefs to change their menu regularly and offer different plates to customers.
He added that one of the biggest misconceptions is that Italian food is better in Italy.
‘There are so many toppings you can add on a pizza, the most important thing is knowing how to balance the ingredients on the pizza well, trying to create balance and taste at the same time without exaggerating with excessive tastes.
‘Obviously don’t add pineapple to any pizza,’ he added.
He added that one of the biggest misconceptions is that Italian food is better in Italy.
‘While Italy is renowned for its authentic Italian food and pizza, you can find excellent Italian cuisine and pizza in many places around the world.
‘In 2023 many talented chefs and restaurants outside of Italy take great pride in offering high-quality Italian dishes and pizza.
‘This international appreciation has led to a diverse range of flavours and styles that cater to different tastes, making Italian food a beloved culinary choice worldwide.
100 best pizza restaurants in the world, according to 50 top Pizza
(TIE) 1. 10 Diego Vitagliano Pizzeria – Naples, Italy
(TIE) 1. I Masanielli – Francesco Martucci – Caserta, Italy
2. Una Pizza Napoletana – New York, USA
3. Sartoria Panatieri – Barcelona, Spain
4. The Pizza Bar on 38th – Tokyo, Japan
5. I Tigli – San Bonifacio, Italy
6. Seu Pizza Illuminati – Rome, Italy
7. 50 Kalò – Naples, Italy
8. Bottega – Beijing, China
9. 180g Pizzeria Romana – Rome, Italy
10. I Masanielli – Sasà Martucci – Caserta, Italy
11. Razza Pizza Artigianale – Jersey City, USA
12. Francesco & Salvatore Salvo – Naples, Italy
13. Bæst – Copenhagen, Denmark
14. 50 Kalò – London, England
15. Dry Milano – Milan, Italy
16. Cambia-Menti di Ciccio Vitiello – Caserta, Italy
17. Via Toledo Enopizzeria – Vienna, Austria
18. Ken’s Artisan Pizza – Portland, USA
19. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana – San Francisco, USA
20. La Notizia 94 – Naples, Italy
21. Pizzeria Bianco – Phoenix, USA
22. Ribalta – New York, USA
23. Pizzeria Peppe – Napoli sta’ ca” – Tokyo, Japan
24. Confine – Milan, Italy
25. 0′ Munaciello – Miami, USA
26. Le Grotticelle – Caggiano, Italy
27. Carlo Sammarco Pizzeria 2.0 – Aversa, Italy
28. Jay’s Artisan Pizzeria – Kenmore, USA
29. Pepe in Grani – Caiazzo, Italy
30. La Cascina dei Sapori – Rezzato, Italy
31. Apogeo – Pietrasanta, Italy
32. Pizza Zulù – Fürth, Germany
33. Song’ E Napule – New York, USA
34. Denis – Milan, Italy
35. BOB Alchimia a Spicchi – Montepaone Lido, Italy
36. Allegrìo – Rome, Italy
37. Pizzeria Da Lioniello – Succivo, Italy
38. Ti Amo – Buenos Aires, Argentina
39. 400 Gradi – Lecce, Italy
40. Pupillo Pura Pizza – Frosinone, Italy
41. 48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar – Melbourne, Australia
42. Fratelli Figurato – Madrid, Spain
43. Fiata by Salvatore Fiata – Hong Kong, China
44. Via Toledo Enopizzeria – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
45. Forza – Helsinki, Finland
46. Napoli on the Road – London, England
47. Dante’s Pizzeria Napoletana – Auckland, New Zealand
48. nNea – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
49. Pizza Massilia – Bangkok, Thailand
50. La Balmesina – Barcelona, Spain
51. QT Pizza Bar – Sao Paulo, Brazil
52. Pizzeria Mazzie – Bangkok, Thailand
53. IMperfetto – Puteaux, France
54. Crosta Pizzeria – Makati, Philippines
55. ‘O Scugnizzo – Arezzo, Italy
56. Renato Bosco Pizzeria – San Martino Buon Albergo, Italy
57. Frumento – Acireale, Italy
58. Sbanco – Rome, Italy
59. Fandango – Potenza, Italy
60. Pizzeria Le Parùle – Herculaneum, Italy
61. Giovanni Santarpia – Florence, Italy
62. La Pizza è Bella Gourmet – Brussels, Belgium
63. Al Taglio – Sydney, Australia
64. Baldoria – Madrid, Spain
65. Giangi Pizza e Ricerca – Arielli, Italy
66. Pizzeria Panetteria Bosco – Tempio Pausania, Italy
67. Modus – Milan, Italy
68. Clementina – Fiumicino, Italy
69. La Bolla – Caserta, Italy
70. Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria – Naples, Italy
71. ‘O Fiore Mio – Faenza, Italy
72. Kesté – New York, USA
73. La Leggenda Pizzeria – Miami, USA
74. Sant’Isidoro – Pizza & Bolle – Rome, Italy
75. I Borboni Pizzeria – Pontecagnano Faiano, Italy
76. Pasquale’s Pizzeria Napoletana – South Kingstown, USA
77. Kytaly – Geneva, Switzerland
78. Maiori – Cagliari, Italy
79. La Piola Pizza – Brussels, Belgium
80. Forno d’Oro – Lisbon, Portugal
81. Demaio – Bilbao, Spain
82. Pizza Strada – Tokyo, Japan
83. Pizzeria Chicco – Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy
84. What the Crust – Cairo, Egypt
85. A Pizza da Mooca – Sao Paulo, Brazil
86. L’Antica Pizzeria – London, England
87. Malafemmena – Berlin, Germany
88. Pizza Studio Tamaki Roppongi – Tokyo, Japan
89. Surt – Copenhagen, Denmark
90. Il Caffè – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
91. Guillaume Grasso – Paris, France
92. Ops – New York, USA
93. Spacca Napoli Pizzeria – Chicago, USA
94. ‘O Ver – London, England
95. Pizzeria Luca – Copenhagen, Denmark
96. a mano – Makati, Philippines
97. Fabrica Pizza – Tampa, USA
98. San Gennaro – Zurich, Switzerland
99. Matto Napoletano – Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia
100. Leggera Pizza Napoletana – Sao Paulo, Brazil
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