largo Roma, 4
Borgo Val di Taro (Pr)
Massimo Gatti celebrated his 29th birthday the day before standing on the stage at Identità Milano 2012, where he was the protagonist of the day dedicated to pizza. But he had already been in the kitchens of IG, as assistant to great chefs – including Ferran Adrià – when he attended the higher Italian cookery course at Alma. An intense and quick journey, which took him, when he was just 21, fresh out of accountancy school – to take over, along with his father, a historical venue in his home town of Borgo Val di Taro, and devote himself to cooking and life in a restaurant. He started off more or less self-taught, getting his hands dirty and continuing the tradition of the restaurant, which is also a pizzeria. His enthusiasm gradually grew, with the understanding that he needed to fill a few gaps, so he went back to school, this time at Alma, where he met Luciano Tona who, he says, is like a second father to him, as well as teacher of style in both his professional and personal lives.
Massimo has become a fully accomplished chef, deciding to specialise mainly in pizza, studying different uses of yeast and baking. He attends courses at the Università della Pizza held by Mulino Quaglia – and we recently met him at Pizza Up, the technical symposium on Italian pizza – and has developed a method all of his own: dough mixed with biga and mother yeast, very long rising times, precooking of the pizza in a pan (the use of a “pan” is typical in his area and of the previous restaurant), all to guarantee easy digestion and lightness and consequently the client’s happiness.
The rest is left to seasonal condiments from the territory – between the Parmesan Apennines and the borders between Liguria and Tuscany – which often change because Massimo’s hasn’t lost his desire to explore and innovate. For example, he has just added sweet pizzas to the menu (Matteo Berti, who teaches the art of pastry making at Alma, is another of his teachers), and these too are seasonal: in winter, there’s the chestnut flour pizza with chestnut Chantilly cream and dried fruit.
And he doesn’t seem to have gotten tired of studying: now he’s attending the restaurant manager’s course at Alma because, while it’s true that the quality of the product is fundamental, the quality of life of the restaurant employees is too, and it’s necessary to learn to optimise time and costs to stay calm and keep having fun at the hob (or oven).
a journalist born in Naples now living in Rome, she tries to make her three passions meet: eating, travelling and writing
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TO REGISTER FOR IDENTITÀ MILANO 2022, CLICK HERE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
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TO REGISTER IN IDENTITÀ MILANO 2020, CLICK HERE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS