Pizza Chef Ivan Aiello tells us about his experience in UK’s capital and his origins from Campania
Where did you grow up and when did you learn to be a pizzaiolo?
A: I was born in Naples and I grew up between Scampia, in Naple’s northern periphery, and the historic centre. I learnt to be a pizzaiolo 8 years ago. I have been to many pizzerias in Naples and I learnt a lot at “ Antonio & Antonio”, in via Partenope, in the centre of Naples.
How was it like to grow in Scampia?
A: I believe that Scampia is one of the most difficult areas to live in Italy. Here the presence of the State is almost non-existent. I have a lot of of respect for people that grew up in difficult places as I did, especially if they have been able to change with their own hands the negative circumstances in which they found themselves, though accidently.
|Ivan at work in Brixton|
When and why did you move to London?
A: I moved to London three years ago in search of an adventure abroad and with the curiosity of learning about the city.
Did you find any difficulties in adapting your tecniques as pizzaiolo in London?
A: I did not have many problems in finding jobs in pizzerias in London, having already acquired experience in Naples. It was more difficult, instead, to establish myself as one of the best pizza makers. Due to the fact that many pizzaioli come and go from Italy and almost all of parts of Europe, there is a lot of competition! I have to thank my current employers for the opportunity that they gave me the chance to express all my knowledge and passion for pizza.
|The wood-fired oven|
How and when was the company “Made of Dough” created?
A: Two English lads created it. One is half English and half Italian. The other is half Spanish, half English. They did a mix of Italy and Spain. They did a trip in Spain two years ago and they had the idea of making street-food with pizza.
They started one year and half ago, presenting themselves in London’s markets and in June they used a container in Brixton to establish their pizzeria. The lads started out by themselves looking at the already existent pizzerias.
Slowly, they want to open more pizzerias and continue to make festivals, which are very profitable from an economic standpoint. You do 2-3 thousand pizzas per weekend. Next summer we will participate in at least 8 to 10 festivals.
Which ones are the most popular pizzas?
A: Margherita and Chorizo, which is our piece de resistance and allowed us to win the pizza competition at Borough Market.
Which ingredients do you use?
A: The ingredients are all from Campania: mozzarella, tomatoes and flour. Not the toppings. The chorizo comes from Spain, peppers too. Mozzarella is fiordilatte and comes from Battipaglia. We also do a special with Portobello mushrooms, truffle oil and burrata: an excellent pizza.
How do you see the development of Neapolitan pizza in London?
A: I believe that there is a positive development of Neapolitan pizza here in London. I am aware of at least 10 new Neapolitan pizzerias in the last six months that opened in the city. We are very busy and luckily we all use products from Campania of excellent quality. Neapolitan pizza improves day after day in Naples and around the world, thanks to the strong interest from pizzaioli and the consumers of pizza.
|Dessert: Conchiglia a Nutella|