Pizzaiolo Chef at Johnny Rocco’s

Can you talk a bit about your background and why you became a chef ?

I was born and raised in Turin, in Northern Italy. I got inspired seeing my Nonna and then my parents cooking. I’ll never forget the smell of the house every Sunday morning.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chef?

Cooking of course, but also working with a lot of different people from different countries; a lot can be learned from other cultures.

If you could give people 3 cooking tips, what would they be?

When you cook pizza, first make sure you let the dough rise enough so it’s easy to spread. Second, it tastes better when you use fresh ingredients, and third, cook it well so you can get a nice and crispy crust.

Do you have a favourite ingredient to work with?

Pizza dough of course.

When it’s your day off, and you go out to eat, where do you like to go?

I usually try to go to new restaurants or try out a restaurant from a different culture.

What city in the world would you say has the best food?

Basque Country in Spain; it’s definitely the best food I’ve ever had.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living?

I’m not sure, maybe Prime Minister.

Do you have an embarrassing cooking moment?

I have lots of them! Thanks to those moments I can learn and grow. Every time we send a burnt pizza by mistake, it really hurts me.

What excites you in the world of food these days?

Everything! New ingredients and new styles of cooking. It’s good to improve yourself and try to cook with new methods.

Do you have a cooking pet peeve?

I don’t like people that open cans or boxes instead of cooking with fresh ingredients, when it could take the same time to cook it.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chef in Niagara specifically?

The variety of fresh produce that is available, especially in the summer.

How do you stay relevant in the culinary world?

Mainly by reading articles on the internet, as well as occasionally reading culinary books.

How would you describe working in your kitchen?

Friendly and chaotic at times but very enjoyable.

What is your guilty pleasures food wise?

Fresh seafood.

What would you request for your last supper ever?

Spaghetti Frutti di Mare.