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Portrait Daniele Ceccatelli

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There is a new generation of pizza chefs flying the flag higher than most, not only in Napoli, but also outside the geographic boundaries of the area where pizza was born. Such an example is found in Florence, Tuscany, where during the last 3 years, the most beloved of Italian cuisine has seen a remarkable increase in quality, with local pizza chefs competing with colleagues born in the shadow of the Vesuvius.
Florentine born and raised, Daniele Ceccatelli, now 29, is one of these 'experimental' gourmet pizzaioli. Daniele – art name 'Daniele W Cecca' – first put his hands in the dough when he was 13, while at a large pizzeria at the gates of Florence.

 


"I have wanted to become a pizza chef since I was 7 or maybe 8 years old and at this pizzeria, I was really fascinated by a pizza with strawberries, a rather unusual ingredient, I thought. Since then I promised myself I would experiment and learn to create original and new pizza dishes. Even today, strawberries have remained one of my favourite ingredients for a sweet pizza."
In a world which often looks only for an economic return, Daniele is a happy exception.
"Becoming a rich man, does not make me happy," explains the experimental pizza chef, today employed at the Buoneria, but open to any opportunity on offer in Florence.
"I love to express myself through the creations I place in the oven. When I prepare a pizza, I consider the visual impact of when it arrives on the table, the flavours, the shapes and colours, almost as if I was a master painter applying my art on a canvas of pizza dough.

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"I feel good pizza chefs should not adhere too strictly to what is fashionable at the time, but should express his personality, his life, his emotions, and work experiences. His job is to cook, to eat, but above all to give birth to an idea, an emotion. In a few words, his thoughts must be conveyed in the pizza."
As often happens in life, there are times when you meet someone who has a major impact on your life. The first turning point in Daniele's career was the teaching of two hugely different masters.
"The first was Rosario, a extraordinary man who seemed to follow his own private path in life. At first I did not understand what he meant when he was telling me to feel the satisfaction that comes only when one is making unusual pizzas against the norm.

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"The second was Wladimiro, a pizza chef from the streets. He taught me a methodical and rigorous work process, a chain assembly system. Both left me with a strong message: follow your way, provided the result is the right one."
Daniele started competing in 2007 for fun, to explore new horizons, but, perhaps by destiny, found himself a participant in the Pizza World Championships in Parma.
"I had a week to prepare, in the end I did not win in the Classic Pizza category. I will be back, this time I learnt from my mistakes."


Daniele is not just a pizza chef – he balances life between the world of pizza furnaces and doughs, and that of family responsibilities as a single father. Despite the young age, Daniele finds time to be a good father to little Gohan, 9 years old.
"Gohan is with me and I take care of him with the help of my parents. Gohan and I are growing up together; I must give him the best example I can. When I'm not working, I am with him – I want to enjoy him growing up as much as possible. My time with Gohan is very important, I prefer to earn less money, but have time for my son. After all, free time makes me grow as a person, a father, and be an experimental pizza chef. It provides me with the opportunity to improve my style and to be a good father at the same time. "
Whoever wants to discover Daniele's gourmet pizzas and his experimental style can search for it on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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