SPACCA NAPOLI: 10 YEARS LATER

italian_ovenRecently my partner Ginny reminded me that approximately ten years ago the idea for Spacca Napoli was born, or rather, as she describes it, Cupid shot a pizza love arrow right to its mark in my heart.  It was on a flight to Italy in the early summer of 2003 that I started a conversation with a stranger sitting in the airplane row in front of us. He was from Naples, living in the US, and on his way to get married Italian style back home.  We rambled on about food and Italy and family, all of which were connected of course–and back again to food.  At some point this stranger, who professed to have a pizzeria in NYC, made a somewhat casual suggestion that I ought to open one too.  He either had a crystal ball or a sixth sense, and my life changed starting at that moment.

So here we are ten years later. I followed his suggestion and the advice of many others who have guided my ever-expanding passion to learn more about the art and soul of Neapolitan pizza. Ginny was supportive (if initially wary); my Italian “family” in Rodi urged me to study pizza making in Naples early on, which I did, and to where I return. Naples is a touchstone for me.  My San Francisco family of wine and culinary fame has been an invaluable resource during these years. Many more teachers, friends, and chefs who are too numerous to mention here, but who know who they are, have helped shape my work as I deepened my learning and honed my dough making craft. Thank you all.

I am grateful to my oven builders the Agliarulo’s, who built our oven, the first of their ovens in the United States—a special thanks to Tony Mantuano for originally encouraging me to bring artisans over to build on site, a suggestion that has been worth its weight in gold—no, make that tons! 14,000 lbs. of brick, sand and tufo to be exact that I shipped over and moved several times before it was set in place by this master family of oven builders.

I am grateful to the many friendships formed and amazing work that continues with vendors, suppliers, importers, creative artists, chefs, consultants informal and formal—my superb staff and my supportive family Sarah and Ginny who have worked with me through every turn.

It’s been a fantastic ten years and I am ready for more, to continue sharing the culture and pleasure of foods and wines from Italy with everyone who walks through the door. To all of you, my sincere and humble gratitude.

Auguri!

Jonathan