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southpaw 04-15-2007 01:27 PM

Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hi James,

Im planning to open up a Pizzeria that serves true Italain Pizza made in a wood fired oven.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations about the best schools in Napoli or other places in Italy that you think have the best training corses on:

- how to make the true Italian pizza
- fresh mozzarella
- manage the oven
- and how to actually run a pizzeria (work in an actual pizzeria)

Also need some info about the training school:

- How long is the training corse?
- How much does it cost?
- Best time of the year to go?
- Is it in Italian or English?
- how to register?
- do they provide a place stay?

If you think there is other stuff missing I should know about that will help me in opening a pizzeria please let me know.

Thanks a lot,

Southpaw

michael 04-16-2007 09:58 PM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hello Southpaw

My name is Michael Fairholme and I work with James at Forno Bravo. In January and February of this year I spent 4 weeks with a Master Pizziolo in Napoli to perfect my techniques and I think I can answer most of your questions.

First, I've only found one trainer in Napoli that takes foreign students, all other pizza training courses are designed and run for the local talent and you must speak Italian. My trainer was Enzo Coccia and his business is called Pizza Consulting and it's run from La Notizia, his pizzeria in a suburb of Napoli. The course in 3 weeks long and will cost about 1500,00 euros. He sometimes allows students to extend for a week if other students have started their training somewhere in the middle or end of yours. The classes are only taught in Italian but he has a young lady that will act as an interpreter for 60,00 euros per day. Enzo suggests you have her for the first four days of your training, because after that a 'pizza' vocabulary develops and you'll can get most of what he's trying to teach by sign language and a lot of shouting.

The best time of year is any time...Napoli is beautiful and if you get out and explore it is a great place to visit. Bare in mind Enzo closes the month of August.

How you register is through his website: pizzaconsulting.it
He is a bit slow to respond and it will be done through Nika his interpreter.

I found a very nice, clean hotel about a 25 minute walk from the pizzeria that cost 30,00 per night (bathroom down the hall), Enzo has a friend that can supply a room in his house for about the same money but it's miles away and you will not be able to see any of the City living so far out of town. There are two other 2 star hotels a bus ride away that charge 50-60,00euros per night - I can give you more specifics later.

Now, what will you actually learn? This my second visit to Enzo, the first was April of 2006 and I only stayed for 6 days. My purpose then was to gain enough knowledge to help a client open a Vera Pizza Napoletana restaurant in Athens, Greece. I had recruited a young man with good wood-burning oven experience, I just wanted to bend his skills toward what my client wanted...true, thin crusted pizza Napoletana. In the end, my first few days gave me enough information to get open and make a very good pizza, but when time allowed, I went back for the full three weeks to perfect my technique. I'm glad I had a chance to go twice with a break in between, because we had moved off center a bit and the second three weeks brought me back on course. You will definitely learn how to make Vera Pizza Napoletana. The initial focus is learning about the dough...the most important part. Everyday you will make dough, at first it's a 2kg batch made by hand, then you move up to the automatic mixer making 10kg batches. Then you'll learn how to form the "pignotte" , the pizza ball which will later be formed into the pizza round. Next you'll learn how to form the pizza round, probably the most tricky part - everyone struggles with this. Then you'll learn pizza peel techniques, control, placing the pie, pulling, placing in a take-away box, placing on a plate. Then you learn how to fire the oven and get it to temperature and then manage the fire. Next you learn how to make sauce and cut cheese. Now you learn to make pizza Margherita and pizza Bianca. And that's about it, anything else you learn will be from watching Enzo and his staff during evening service and any other visits you can make to VPN pizzerie around Napoli and there are several hundred to choose from.

Now for the drawbacks. First, the class is only four hours long, 3 1/2 really because he never arrives on time, we take a 20 minute coffee break to give the dough a chance to rise, and he always stops at least 20 minutes early so you can clean the pizzeria for evening service. You need to learn a lot in this small amount of time and there just isn't enough time to practice each of these very important skills, especially if there are 3 or 4 people in the class...you get even less one-on-one. The place is so small there can only be one student in the pizzeria during evening service, so even being able to watch people doing what you so desperately want to learn is tough. For at least 5 days of the 3 weeks course, you'll come back to the pizzeria to chop and dice ingredients for that nights service. After a while you get the feeling that you're just free labour as they tell you to sweep the floor, or go get wood from the storage unit. But it does give you a good understanding of how you'll organize your own place so I shouldn't grumble. You don't actually get to make a pizza until the last day of the last week and then it will be a Margherita, a Marinara and a Pizza Bianca. As a result, from lack of any practice time, you struggle with your turning technique, your rounds are more oval and thinner than they should be...in general, you just don't get enough oven time to prepare you for your own place. Considering I paid 1500,00 plus 240,00 for the interpreter, airfare was 975,00, hotel, food and tickets for the bus and taxis was an additional 60,00 per day ( and that was done on the cheap) which adds 1260,00 to the total, I had 4000,00 euros/$5400.00 invested before I considered my loss of income for 5 weeks; that's a lot of money for a 52.5 hour training course.

The positives: I really feel like I understand the dough and have a good knowledge of the water to flour ratios, I understand and respect the traditions behind Pizza Napoletana, I know what is required to make this style of pizza, and I understand the rules and have experienced how the quality of ingredients makes this pizza so special. If you get it right this pizza is magic!

So, 1000 words later, I love this pizza and I'm sure I know how to do it, but only because I had an oven and mixer in Athens to return to so I could continue to practice, practice, practice. As for being able to come back and run a pizzeria, I only gained that by visiting 35+ pizzeria in Napoli, Roma, Firenze and Milano, watching how they did it, took notes on how they laid out there make table and positioned their ovens. I watched as staff handled a 30 pie rush, worked as a team (or didn't, which was often the case) and took notes on where to put the fridge units. Combine all this with my time at La Notizia and now I feel I can open a pizzeria...or yours if you want some help!

I hope you've found this helpful....

Michael Fairholme
michael@fornobravo.com
800 407 5119 ext.2

southpaw 05-28-2007 10:28 AM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hi Michael,

thanks for the reply, i checked the pizzacuonsulting.it site and it had (4 Levels) which level were you talking about? is it level 2???

I'm planning to open a pizzeria that serves true Neapolitan pizza, and to do that i need to learn how to make it and everything involved in operating & running the pizzeria.

which level of the 4 do really need?

what other suggestions or recommendations do you have?

Also about the basic ingredients needed to make it, like the Molino Caputo flower and mozzarella di bufala cheese the main distributors, and did you import it from Italia to Greece?

Thanks again Michael, hope to get your reply ASAP because im planning to go early june.

southpaw

michael 05-28-2007 01:41 PM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hello Southpaw

So...you've decided to make the pilgramage to Napoli! Fantastic, it's a great city and I encourage you to get out and see some of the art on offer, well worth the search. You've got to see the veiled Christ, amazing.

If I'm not mistaken, Enzo will now only consider the three week course and rest assured all the basics are taught. He has a master class available, but I'm sure it's designed for people with pizza making skills that want to learn the few changes required to make their pizzeria more in line with VPN requirements.

If you're going in June I'd suggest you get in touch with Enzo asap to see what his class schedule is for the next few weeks. It gets very expensive if you are the only student, if fact I've heard him turn people away until there were enough people to make class; he likes 3-4 people. By the way, his pricing on the website is not accurate, expect it to be at least 1500euros for the three weeks. I had to pay 2000euros because I was the only student for the last week. Well actually there were two of us, but he didn't offer a refund.

Unless you speak Italian, I suggest you contact him via email and he has a young woman who speaks English and acts as his interpreter and looks after any replies. If you're going to call him at the pizzeria, the best time is 12noon Italy time (+9hrs PST). He's always in the kitchen making his dough at that time of day and he stays for about 1 hour. He is closed on Mondays so plan your call accordingly. If you look on our website at Forno Bravo you will find a link to Pizza Consulting with contact details.

As part of your 3 week visit you will spend an afternoon at Molino Caputo and meet all the Caputo family. Once you're back in the States, they have a good distribution network and I'll be happy to guide you to the closest supplier. It's very likely they will also have your San Marzano tomatoes. As for cheese, there are several good brands of cheese available in the US but di bufala is still very hit and miss. More on that when we find out where you're located.

Ah....Napoli, I wish I were going with you! Have a great time. Before you go, let me give you a few pizzerias to visit.

Michael

southpaw 06-03-2007 03:11 AM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hi Michael,

I emailed Pizziolo Enzo Coccia <info@pizzaconsulting.it> about a week ago in English, asking him about his schedule in June & July for the "3 week pizza training course" you told me about, but still didnít get back to me!

I need to know ASAP, is there a faster way to find out?

Can I jsut go to Napoli and register over there, or does it have to be online?

On my trip to Italy "Napoli" this June am also planning to go to Greece, you recommend places & Pizzeria's to visit?

Whatís the best way to go form Italy to Greece & back?

Are you going to be in Greece?

Thanks Michael,

southpaw

michael 06-03-2007 08:53 AM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Southpaw

I've looked in my notes from my last training class with Enzo and I see that I have an email address for Naika, his intrepter. She may not want her address splashed across the internet for the whole world to see, so if you'll send me a quick hello on Pizza Ovens | True Brick Pizza Ovens | Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens I'll give you her contact details and she can speak to Enzo this evening (La Notizia is open on Sunday evenings); maybe you can get into a class as a last minute addition.

As for your travel plans to Greece, you'll have to tell me your budget. There are ferries from several points along The Adriadic to the Mainland or several of the Islands and you can travel as a foot passenger guite reasonably. Once you're on one the Islands there are numerous interconnecting ferries that will take you Island hopping, then back to Athens where you can fly on to your next destination.

If you plan to fly, Olympic and Alitalia both fly from Rome to Athens, there are no direct Napoli/Athens flights. If you find yourself in the North near Milano, there is a cheap flight to Athens by an economy airline called easyjet (yes it has a small "e"). On several occasions I would fly into Milano by easyjet and then take the train south; Eurostar has a great service that takes about 6hrs.

Send me a message and we can discuss the finer points.

Michael

michael 06-03-2007 08:56 AM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Southpaw

I see the system wouldn't let me post an email address. Go to the FB home page and you'll see our contact details, call me on the 800# and choose extention 2 for commercal ovens.

Michael

jamesdifede 06-05-2007 12:38 PM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Hello SouthPaw:

A newcomer here (old lurker, really).

Are you able to share some wisdom and comment on what it takes to open a small neapolitan pizza place? By small I mean 30-40 seats, serving nothing but pizza and a couple of salads. I am not currently in the business, and would need to learn all the basics (althought I do have an outdoor wood oven and make a decent pizza for family/friends).

Is this the kind of thing that you consult on? BTW, I would be located in Massachusetts (USA).

More specifically, I guess I would be interested in how long you think I would need to "train".

Any thoughts would be great,

Jim

michael 06-05-2007 04:12 PM

Re: Pizza Training in Napoli
 
Jim

Yes we can help you with most everything you'll need to open a Neapolitan pizzeria. La Notizia, the place I trained in Napoli was exactly as you've described; 30 seats a well rounded pizza menu with a limited number of cold and hot apps. We could easily do 175 pies during our 5hr evening service, 230 on a Saturday.

While in Italy I visited and ate in over 35 pizzeria and took very good notes on how they laid out their workstations, organized their front counter, their menus etc. Tell me more about your plans and I can be more specific about my degree of help.

Of course we'll help you get the correct oven, you'll need a good fork dough mixer, fridges in the right place, hand sinks where needed, stainless steel tables, storage areas, you'll need staff and public toilets, a/c and heating, and a good POS system. The list is extensive and I can guide you through it - but, and it's a big but, do you have any prior food service experience? The demands of a pizzeria can be a big shock if you've never experienced life in restaurant for more than 6 months...it's hard work and nothing in a food business looks after itself. I say this now because what you'll need to know is cut in half if you've prior food experience. All we then need to do is adjust your experience to Neapolitan pizza.

We should have a conversation or start to converse directly via email. My contact details are on the Forno Bravo home page and/or you can call me, Michael Fairholme by selecting extension 2 when you call our 800 number. We can get more specific about your learning curve and the lenght of time required.

Michael


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