Napoletana, Romana, Americana, Deep Dish… many people around the world swear by their favorite type of pizza, but one thing is certain – pizza reigns as one of the most popular dishes worldwide, having long surpassed its Italian roots. Nowadays, you can find pizzas with pineapple, kiwi, and even chocolate in pizzerias all around the world. However, classic is classic, and who better to attest to that than Franco Pepe, the world’s best pizzaiolo who just held a demo cooking show in Rovinj. In 2022, he was awarded the title of Best Pizzaiolo in the World by The Best Chefs Award. As a result, Caiazza’s streets were filled with people eagerly waiting to taste his culinary masterpieces. Moreover, his culinary expertise was showcased on Netflix’s acclaimed series, Chef’s Table: Pizza, where viewers from around the world could witness his craft. Despite the language barrier, the event hall was brimming with foodies, pizza lovers, and gourmands of all ages who came to experience the magic of a true master at work. Franco Pepe took the opportunity to mention the trend and desire for local and sustainable ingredients, concepts that serve as the guiding principle in his work, but he didn’t stop there, delighting the audience with his passion for his craft. Watching a top chef enjoying what they do is not an everyday occurrence, and Franco Pepe did not disappoint. In his restaurant, he fosters the concept of closeness between the chef and guests, considering direct contact an important part of the entire experience, and he managed to convey this feeling and atmosphere to Rovinj.
Along with Franco and his assistant Valentin, the star of the show was the pizza oven, brought all the way from Italy, which, according to this expert pizzaiolo, serves just as well in restaurants as it does for those who want to enjoy top-quality pizza from the comfort of their own home. The audience witnessed the creation of Franco Pepe’s signature pizza, the “upside-down” Margherita, where the cheese is placed underneath the tomato sauce. Under the watchful eye of the camera, viewers could enjoy the sight of the bubbling melted mozzarella and the rich colors of the fresh tomato and basil pesto toppings. Pepe also presented his version of the classic Marinara pizza, which he designed as a tribute to the pizza his father used to make. And finally, he delighted the audience with his “Rediscovered” pizza, as well as a sweet fried pizza with apricots that was a real crowd-pleaser.
During his demonstration, Franco Pepe delivered a heartfelt message that for him, making pizza isn’t just about selling a product, but about creating an emotional experience for his customers. The audience was captivated by his words and responded with thunderous applause. The captivating aroma of fresh basil and tomatoes lingered in the air, leaving many longing for their return to the next Weekend Food Festival.