Diego Vitagliano arrives in Doha and opens his pizzeria in Qatar

A new opening personally desired by the Qatari Emir. In his new location, the Neapolitan pizza chef will rely on the technology of Moretti Forni

01-12-2022
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Diego Vitagliano opened a pizzeria with SerieT Moretti Forni in Doha on the occasion of the World Cup

The Italian team is not playing in the World Cup in Qatar, but there are many Italians in Doha, and several of them are engaged as standard-bearers of our country, cooking delicious things. For sure there is Neapolitan pizzaiolo Diego Vitagliano, now busy on many fronts: just under a year ago we wrote about his 2021 full of projects and successes, but Vitagliano seems to have no intention of stopping. And he spent the past few days putting the finishing touches before opening his pizzeria in Qatar.

An oven with a 100% Italian technology, produced by the Marche-based company Moretti Forni, a leader in leavened product baking technology, also arrived in Doha with the Neapolitan pizza chef.

Diego Vitagliano and the serie T Moretti Forni which he will use in his new pizzeria in Doha

Diego Vitagliano and the serie T Moretti Forni which he will use in his new pizzeria in Doha

But how did this Qatari adventure begin for Vitagliano? It has to do with football again, and it is a funny coincidence for a pizza chef who chose to give his pizzeria a number, 10, to celebrate Maradona, the unreachable football icon for all Neapolitans. 'Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Thani and Mr Mohammed Al-Saadi came to the pizzeria,' says Diego, 'after the Napoli Inter match, and they fell in love with my pizza and our work. A week later they contacted me to start planning this new opening'.

Ready, steady, go: all it took was a visit, like an assist shot to perfection by a fantasist, to trigger this project, of which the protagonist is very enthusiastic. ‘It's an opportunity that fills me with joy, because Doha is a booming city, still very attached to its traditions, so bringing my pizza to a place where there is this solid relationship with traditions is both a great professional challenge and an enormous pride. Neapolitan pizza, which is my tradition, the one to which I am strongly attached, arrives in Qatar with me: I couldn't be happier'.

The building that houses Vitagliano's Qatari pizzeria

The building that houses Vitagliano's Qatari pizzeria

When did it open? The date after which everything else is planned is the start of the World Cup, which kicked off on the 20th November. ‘We opened five days before the start of the matches. It will be a great showcase for our work, two and a half million fans will come from all over the world, and my pizzeria will be right in the middle of the area that is now called the Fan Zone, which is the most important district of Doha, La Perla. That's where all the fans who will follow the World Cup will concentrate'.

As Diego Vitagliano rightly pointed out, it is no small thing to bring Neapolitan pizza, and his contemporary but faithful interpretation, to a country like Qatar, which has very different traditions from ours and also strict rules that apply to food. But the Neapolitan has very clear ideas: 'The request I received was unambiguous: they wanted me to replicate the offer of my pizzeria in Naples. So there will be both the classic interpretation of the Neapolitan pizza and my crispy pizza'.

Bringing such meticulous, complex work as Diego Vitagliano's to such a demanding away-from-home trip also requires another key ingredient: heat. Without the perfect baking, his pizzas would not reflect the absolute quality that is offered in Naples. This is why he has chosen to rely, once again, on Moretti Forni, and specifically in this case on a serieT - Conveyor, a professional tunnel oven suitable for many different applications. A technology that offers speed to handle high production, ease of use, maximum heat retention while also guaranteeing energy efficiency and the safety of those using the oven, and finally the guarantee of a perfect Moretti Forni baking, with the certainty of repeatable results.

'In Doha,' the pizza chef explains, 'I will use the Moretti Forni serieT especially for crispy pizza baking, working on a different dough from the classic Neapolitan one, to obtain a thick, airy pizza, with a nice crispy texture. I chose this oven for the quality of the first baking, but above all for its performance during the regenerating process. We need to be quick and precise during service, we’re expecting a lot of work, so we have to be well prepared with the pre-baking, and then through regenerating we can offer a high quality product. The aspect that required an adaptation of the offer clearly concerned pork, which nobody eats in Qatar'.

One of Vitagliano's strengths is precisely the composition of the toppings on his pizzas, to which he devotes the same care he puts into his dough: 'To replace the pork, I made different choices. In Qatar they really like lamb, so I wanted to focus on that, but we also worked with beef. And to be on the safe side... I relied on traditional Neapolitan recipes. For the lamb, I thought of a dish typical of the Easter period and which we call 'O ruoto 'o furno: the lamb is baked in the oven with potatoes, onions, rosemary, with strong and fragrant flavours. I therefore chose this popular Neapolitan speciality, to serve it on pizza. For the beef, on the other hand, I had no choice but to go for the classic Genovese, which in this interpretation has a beef stew with onions as the base: a new pizza was born with this recipe especially for Doha'.

The football games have begun, the line-up that will take the field is in shape: let Diego Vitagliano’s game in Qatar begin.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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