I first met Massimo at a fabulous “Journey to Puglia” dinner at his “hidden” restaurant in Toronto and have since sent many people his way, and returned a few times myself. Going to a supper club is like going to a great big house party where you meet all sorts of interesting people, then you get to go home while someone else cleans up… I’ve even managed to score two of my favourite recipes off the man himself – popette d’uova and gnudi. I was so excited when Massimo expressed an interest in coming to work with the boys and show them how to make “real pizza” – and I knew the boys would be too!
Massimo arrived with pre-made dough all ready to go…
We figured we would make some pizzas and as they were cooking, Massimo would show the boys how to make dough from scratch. Massimo talked to the boys about the origins of the word “pizza” and the history behind the Margherita pizza. I am thrilled to report that many of the boys recounted this information to their parents that night – no worries paying attention when it has to do with food
The boys were each given jobs to do…
Massimo showed the boys how to place the sauce and cheese mainly in the middle of their thin crust pizzas (and not overload them! though some people had to clean up their trays with paper towels, ahem!) to ensure the crusts stay thin and crispy and so that the cheeses (a mix of mozzarellas) spread out and bubble over the whole pizza. You only need a handful of cheese for this to work properly.
While the pizzas were cooking, Massimo showed the boys how to make dough from scratch using fresh yeast…
Isn’t that beautiful? All the boys took home a ball of dough to make another pizza with. Massimo even worked magic with spelt flour for one of our little chefs with a gluten intolerence and his mum emailed me later that night telling me that her son had “just made the spelt pizza for us, and it was the best pizza I’ve ever tasted (even in my days when I could eat gluten!). I also learnt a lot of tips along the way. He really took everything in. Thank you and the chef!”
Those few lines made my day – I am sure they made Massimo’s too
And the result? the pizza that barely made it home with the boys (in some cases, it didn’t!)?
Thank you Massimo for taking the time out of your day to work with 10 lucky little boys (and one very lucky teacher!). I know the lessons the boys learn in the kitchen are ones that will stick with them forever and I can’t think of a better way to show boys that cooking is cool than with a successful chef like Massimo who has taken a passion and turned it into a career.
** Did you enter my RestaurantWare.com giveaway yet? Head over to this post to enter before Thursday May 5th at 6pm EST.