Da Mario Restaurant
Art in food preparation
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||The author was
born in 1942 in the very heart of the historical centre of Naples ...and with his arrival
the second world war was declared.
His passion for Pizza and Neapolitan food erupted not only from the pervasive-cuisine
orientated, Neapolitan atmosphere of his youth, but mainly by the food shortage of the war
time, when even pea pods were treasured and transformed into an appetising soup.
Beside cookery writing, Mario travels in pursuit of new culinary ideas and he is often
asked to be a judge in cookery competitions.
The author learnt to cook at an early age at home taking over the catering
responsibilities from his mother, who worked most hours of the day as a seamstress.
In his early teens years he was employed, without remuneration in a local Pizzeria, where
he happily digested the first notions of Pizza making and at the same time he savoured the
original flavours of Neapolitan Pizzas. He also worked as a commis-chef in a restaurant in
the Naples Airport, under the direct supervision of chef Achille who, today runs a famous
cookery school in Naples.
Lacking opportunities in Naples, the author visits England since 1958, during the summer
months where he joins the Fridaybridge Student Camp fruit picking. Occasionally he works
in "The Smedley's" and "The Metal Box", two local canneries.
He spends some time in a nearby village called Wisbech, where he enjoys being a coffee-boy
in a cafe for students and then as a washer up in the Rose nd Crown
Hotel. After a few weeks he is asked to help in the kitchen.
Dissatisfied about the slow progress achieved, Mario moves to London where he studies
English for three years and at the same time takes on a few catering jobs offered to him,
on his spare time.
Towards 1963 he finds himself engaged as a kitchen-porter in the opening of
IL Pirata, a large Dinner nd Dance restaurant belonging to the famous
Alpino Group. Mr. Bosoni the owner of IL Pirata manages to obtain the so
longed work permit document for the author and this allows Mario to devote
himself to cooking with passion and long hours. After a few months Mario is a second chef
in a brigade of seven.
In June 1965 he joins Peter Boizot in setting up the first pizzeria in England in a tiny
room in Wardour Street. The only two tables in this Pizza Parlour were constructed
by ourselves utilising the metal bases of two Singer sewing machine topped up
each with a panel of cheap wood, covered with adhesive red vinyl cloth. A large piece of
marble and some old water pipes, salvaged from a nearby demolition place, gave us
a solid working table. Plastic cutlery and paper cups did not eliminate the problem of
washing up as Peter Boizot insisted in reutilising to the maximum those pioneering
Peter Boizots dream was to create a chain of Pizza Bars serving slices
pizzas on greaseproof paper, all over England. It took several months of solid insistence
by Mario to persuade him to abandon his idea of serving only slices of Pizzas and start
serving proper, round Neapolitan Pizzas.
Copyright © 2001 Da Mario