Rosy Moorhead catches up with chef Giuseppe Fiorillo from Le Chocolat to find out how to make the perfect pizza
Time Out Bahrain staff
What are the five things that every good Italian chef has in his or her kitchen? Oh there are thousands of Italian recipes! The main thing you have to have is extra virgin olive oil. This is in most Italian dishes, in the salad, the pasta. And for cooking, you should have good flour, for the pizza, the fresh pasta, or you should have good pasta. Usually in the South of Italy, we make a lot of dishes with tomato sauce. We usually use tomatoes that we grow at home, we peel it, we wash it, we puree it and then we boil it. Nobody does this anymore! When it’s done, we call this ‘passada’. You can buy peeled tomatoes in the can, imported from Italy. So the tomato is one ingredient a Southern chef must have. And the parmesan cheese also. There are a few dishes where you add this while you’re cooking, flakes of parmesan cheese, and then there are some others that you just sprinkle the cheese on top.
Parmesan is something that you should have. They create this in the North but we use it all over Italy. We have a big diatribe between them and us about the food! Any food should not have one ingredient that is prevalent, like the cheese, you need to balance them, if one thing is exaggerated you will not taste the other things. But whenever you cook something it’s up to you, the cook, it is something you create, so if I cook something and you cook it, it will not be the same, and if I cook something twice it will not be the same. I tell my guys here I don’t want the pizzas to come out of the oven too round, all looking the same, I want to see the bumps, I want it to look rustic. And the weather today is not good, that affects the food – the humidity is important, you need to add more flour if it’s humid. These four things are the essentials: extra virgin olive oil, good flour or good pasta, good tomatoes and parmesan.
What do you think of the Italian dining scene in Bahrain? I haven’t found real Italian food in Bahrain! If people want good pizza, you tell them to come to me! But you have to ask the customers if this is true, get a second opinion! I think the problem is that the owners want to put their touch on the food, they want to change it. And the pasta is overcooked, it’s too soft, it should be al dente.
You’re from Naples, what’s a typical Neapolitan dish? We usually do dishes with seafood, the linguine with clams or prawns or mussels, and maybe a little white wine. We also have dishes with meat, the lasagne, and then we have the mozzarella, we export that everywhere in the world.
How does Southern food differ from Northern food? This ‘diatribe’ you mentioned! They typically use cream, and they have the polenta. But I’m not going to describe it too much because if somebody from the North reads this, they’ll know I don’t know what I’m talking about! But it’s easy to tell the food is from different places, they use many herbs, and they cook meat more than us. The parma ham and they even put … you know Bambi … deer, yes, they put that. And the pig with tusks, for the salami, they are very professional at this. And they are very famous for their cheese in the north, especially from the region of Venice.
What are your top tips for cooking the perfect pizza? You have to use a very, very fresh mix for the dough. So you need flour and salt, and yeast, then tomato and mozzarella for the base, and the other ingredients are up to you. But let me say this, if you use a normal oven, at 200-220 degrees, it will not cook, it comes out very soft. You need the master oven, 450 degrees. In the kitchen oven the pizza will be like a biscuit, crumbly. People in Naples always go to the pizza shop, we don’t cook it at home!