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The world's best pizza maker shares his 5 tips for a perfect slice

Michele Pascarella, owner of London pizza restaurant Napoli on the Road, was recently crowned the best pizza maker in the world.
Michele Pascarella
Michele Pascarella, owner of London pizza restaurant Napoli on the Road, was recently crowned the best pizza maker in the world.

A London-based pizza chef just won Global Pizza Maker of the Year. And he's settled it: pineapple does not belong on pizza.

Who is he? Michele Pascarella is the founder of Napoli on the Road, a restaurant based in London.

  • Pascarella grew up in Caserta, a town near the home of pizza: Naples, Italy. There, he started working in a pizzeria at 11 years old. 

  • In 2016, he started selling woodfired pizzas all over London out of the back of a tiny, three-wheeled truck. "12 years ago in the U.K., people didn't really understand what's behind pizza," he told NPR. So he took his operation on the road to show people what goes into making real Neapolitan pizza.

  • He opened Napoli on the Road in 2019, and it's become a favorite in the global pizza awards circuit. He's won numerous awards, and is recognized as a pioneer in contemporary pizza.

Napoli on the Road serves a menu of seasonally inspired pizzas.
/ Michele Pascarella
/
Michele Pascarella
Napoli on the Road serves a menu of seasonally inspired pizzas.

What's the big deal?

  • 50 Top Pizza recently awarded Pascarella Global Pizza Maker of the Year. The 50 Top Pizza awards are "like the Michelin guide for pizza," Pascarella told The Chiswick Calendar.

  • Pascarella's signature pizza right now is topped with slow cooked ragu and parmigiano reggiano cream, a callback to his childhood. Pascarella told NPR he would wake up to the smell of his family making ragu every weekend. His Sunday breakfast would be a piece of bread dipped in ragu – stewed for at least 12 hours – with parmigiano reggiano sprinkled on. 

  • The pizza takes inspiration from those Sunday breakfasts, Pascarella told The Independent


Want to learn more about food? Listen to the Consider This episode on why America's farms are facing a serious labor shortage.


So what are his 5 tips to making the best pizza in the world?

  1. Keep it fresh. Pascarella's restaurant rotates its menu throughout the year, using whatever ingredients are in season. "It's very important, because when you use seasonal ingredients, you pay less money and they're [better]," he told NPR.
  2. Keep it simple. Pascarella says the best pizzas only have a few ingredients. "When you do this kind of job, you learn to appreciate the simple ingredients," he said. "For good pizza chefs, good chefs, the best plate is the simple one."
  3. If you're making it at home and don't have all the equipment a pizzeria has, put a little more water in the dough. "If you use 1 kg flour, it's better to use 700g of water," he said. That's a ratio of about two pounds to three cups of water, for the Americans in the room. 
  4. Also, Pascarella says no fruit. "Pineapple I don't really like on pizzas," he said. Sorry to all the pineapple-on-pizza fans.
  5. Lastly, keep learning. "In this job, you never learn enough," he said. "Every day we can learn something." Pascarella said his goal is to keep making new pizza every day. 


Learn more:

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Kai McNamee
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