Our guest’s appearance was announced by moderator Jorg. He mentioned that the pizzaiolo profession was not very popular in the past. The reason for this was the difficult working conditions. The temperature nera the baking oven was exhausting. Franco Pepe, however, was brave enough to take this on and he is now a living patron saint of pizza-making. How did it begin? Franco learned everything he could from his father, Stefano, who used to spend days in the local countryside picking fresh ingredients like oregano and mushrooms to put on top of pizza. There were no scales, recipes, machinery, or ready-made ingredients involved in making the dough, and because Franco watched his father create it from scratch thousands of times over, he didn’t even need to write anything down to know how the dough should feel when it’s ready.
At the beginning of his presentation, Franco emphasized that pizza is a very simple and popular product, one that’s not easy to revolutionize. He showed us how pizza and the concept of a pizzeria have changed in recent years. He started the story in the 1970s and 1980s. Franco stressed that all the steps of creation are important: from the kitchen, through the baking oven, and its final decoration. He also talked about tradition. In his restaurant, aside from tradition, innovation is also important. Innovation is development. Franco showed the specific changes he proposed in his pizzas such as Margarita, Cappriciosa, etc. He prepared pizzas on the stage in a small electric oven. The first was the classic Capricciosa, then Franco’s version of it, which he offers to his customers. Its purpose is to make the pizza more crunchy because it does not contain that much water. We watched a short film to get a better look at this. Each pizza ingredient is prepared separately in the film. This dehydrates the ingredients to give the pizza a greater crunch. Franco points out that his customers really taste the difference. The thought that inspires our chef is great respect for customers. They are the driving force behind Franco’s actions. “I don’t want to sell pizza, I want to serve experiences,” he said. At the end of the speech, we watched a video showing his beautiful restaurant – Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo.
During lunch, we had the opportunity to taste the products proposed by Franco. The pizzas tasted great!