Constant evolution: the philosophy of Franco Pepe at Identità on the road 2020

The masterclass of the pizza chef from Caiazzo: from the history of his family to the conception of a pizzeria that focuses on customer care, up to the study of the functional menu

27-01-2021
Franco Pepe, born in 1963, from Caiazzo, Caserta.

Franco Pepe, born in 1963, from Caiazzo, Caserta. He opened Pepe in Grani in 2012, to rapid and universal acclaim. You can follow his masterclass at Identità on the road by registering on Identità on the road

A smiling chat, between two people who hold a good opinion of one another, and share a well-established friendship, opens the masterclass with Franco Pepe at Identità on the road 2020: sitting in front of the pizzaiolo voted best in the world multiple times, the creator of Identità Golose Paolo Marchi starts by recalling the story of the Pepe family and the deep connection between Franco and the breadmaking tradition of his grandfather and father: «I have so many memories related to this - Pepe smiled – and it's a story characterised by a strong continuity. Even though I took a different road with my studies, I always spent my evenings in the pizzeria, since I was a kid. Continuity is truly the crucial word: starting from my grandfather in the Thirties, and then continuing with my father, my family has always made bread. Always».

Paolo Marchi and Franco Pepe during the recording

Paolo Marchi and Franco Pepe during the recording

Two of the pizzas proposed by Franco Pepe during his lesson featured Grana Padano (in the 12-month variety): Scarpetta pizza...

Two of the pizzas proposed by Franco Pepe during his lesson featured Grana Padano (in the 12-month variety): Scarpetta pizza...

...Acciugrana, a fried pizza that in addition to the Grana Padano cream is prepared with anchovies from Cetara, spices and citrus fruits

...Acciugrana, a fried pizza that in addition to the Grana Padano cream is prepared with anchovies from Cetara, spices and citrus fruits

THE CHOICE OF THE NAME: PEPE IN GRANI - «When I opened my pizzeria in 2012, I couldn't simply use my surname, because there was already my father's pizzeria in Caiazzo. And then pizzerias by tradition were named after pizzaiolo: "Da Stefano", "Da Mario"... Instead, I wanted to develop a different concept of pizzeria. So I decided to play with my surname and called it Pepe in Grani [pepper in grains]. Under the name, in the logo, there's an ellipsis, which stands for the three cardinal points in my project: Pizza – Research – Hospitality. I wanted my pizzeria to be different from others, especially because of its attention to clients: with different rooms, dedicated also to tastings. I also wanted bedrooms, an inn: I think it was the first pizzeria to be an inn too, to offer hospitality with attention to every detail. I wanted to apply the slow concept to pizzerias».

One of the pizzas on the functional menu: alongside the actual pizza, the extra-dish

One of the pizzas on the functional menu: alongside the actual pizza, the extra-dish

Mediterranea al cartoccio: the pizza is folded and wrapped in greaseproof paper, preserving its aromas differently from what happens with take-away cartons, and making it more sustainable

Mediterranea al cartoccio: the pizza is folded and wrapped in greaseproof paper, preserving its aromas differently from what happens with take-away cartons, and making it more sustainable

THE  COLLABORATION BETWEEN PIZZIAIOLI AND CHEFS - «Meeting chefs has been like attending some mini-courses. It offered me an opportunity to grow professionally: pizzaioli never had a technical-scientific training in the way chefs do. When Paolo and I met, it was during one of the events dedicated to young emerging chefs at Open Colonna: on that occasion, I really learnt a lot. We must understand that we cannot replace a pizzaiolo with a chef, but the important thing is to learn from the chef, understand what a cook can give us. Our expertise is breadmaking, dough, leavening: chefs can give us instead some important advice on how to use raw materials, transform them, going beyond the past. We must not just focus on flavour, but also on diet, on the food's nutrients, paying attention to cooking techniques, to which ingredient should be added before or after the baking. Today it is crucial to know not just how to make a good product, but healthy too»..


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