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Top chefs disguised as 'pizzaiolos'

Although they made a name for themselves in haute cuisine, they literally put their hands in the dough to create pizzas that have become the perfect support for tasty recipes that are coated to be baked afterwards.

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Top chefs disguised as 'pizzaiolos'

Although they made a name for themselves in haute cuisine, they literally put their hands in the dough to create pizzas that have become the perfect support for tasty recipes that are coated to be baked afterwards. Is it a coincidence or not that the owners of a pizzeria in Barcelona and the owner of a similar business in Copenhagen have exchanged Michelin-starred gastronomy for the noble profession of pizzaiolo?

Rafa Panatieri (35 years old) and Jorge Sastre (27) worked together within the Roca universe, managing the kitchen of Roca Moo, which was the headquarters of the Roca brothers at the Hotel Omm, in Barcelona, ​​when it shone as one one of the most modern accommodations in the city as a macro project of Grupo Tragaluz. Brazilian-Italian and from Madrid decided to start a hospitality business together, which was none other than a pizzeria called Sartoria Panatieri, whose first location opened in 2018. It is not that they sought to simplify their lives as chefs, since it is defined as "artisanal pizzeria made with organic, local and seasonal", with "the obsession of making unique pizzas, in which they apply all their cooking knowledge, carefully selecting each ingredient with local producers".

In parallel and without being an exact time coincidence, Christian Puglisi is a well-known chef of Italian origin, who has lived in Denmark since he was a child, who worked at Noma and elBulli. In Copenhagen, he came to have four businesses in the Nørrebro district, including Relae, awarded in 2015 as the Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World by The World's 50 Best Restaurants, in whose Top 100 it was included. In the pandemic, he decided to close down this fine-dining space, as well as Manfreds, a second bistro-style brand, while maintaining other businesses, such as Mirabelle bakery-café and Baest pizzeria. In it, they make not only the doughs for their pizzas, but also a collection of their own sausages that are stored in chambers on the upper floor of this business in the Danish capital.

This process of manufacturing artisan sausages in house is one of the points in common between the owners of Sartoria Panatieri and the owner of Baest, as is the rule of selecting local and seasonal ingredients (the owners of the Barcelona pizzeria avoid the product Italian in favor of Catalan) and the objective of devising recipes that are presented on their artisanal pizzas. "There is no ingredient or dish however humble it may seem that does not have complex preparations behind it, a century-old heritage and infinite learning to be better", maintains the ideology of the Barcelona pizzeria. From farm to pizza, reads one of his slogans, while they have long admitted that his pizzeria "connects with restaurants from other countries such as Baest, by Christian Puglisi, in Copenhagen, or Roberta's Pizza, in Brooklyn".

For his part, Puglisi was known when he launched Farm of Ideas years ago, a project to collaborate with local producers in Denmark and value their product. Last week, Panatieri, Sastre and Puglisi cooked together at Sartoria Panatieri, within the Sartoria Panatieri Sessions, gastronomic dinners that they launched last fall and in which they are receiving chefs and pizzaiolos as guests, to compose an ad-hoc menu for each occasion (at a price of 60 euros).

Are these chefs an example of a growing trend in haute cuisine? Do they represent a possible profile that, after learning in spaces with Michelin stars, opts to undertake with more casual formats, in which, however, organizational or quality rules typical of gastronomic restaurants are applied?

It is probable, although, at the same time, perfectionism as a rule blown in haute cuisine pulls so much that it also leads to the ambition of looking for new ways to grow. In the case of the owners of Sartoria Panatieri, grill cooking is their latest obsession, materialized in the opening just two weeks ago of Brabo, their new restaurant in the city of Barcelona. Nothing to do with pizza; In this case, it is a grilled kitchen format, where the ingredients are essential, so that "the chefs choose, choose and select the products together with their trusted suppliers".

In other words, it is not clear if Brabo could exist without having previously had Sartoria Panatieri as a prologue, where this duo of chefs has already established a relationship with Catalan producers, establishing a way of working that they will continue to apply to their offer of pizzas and to which they now submit Brabo's proposal.

In any case, it must be remembered that Panatieri and Sastre are little by little collecting prizes for Sartoria Panatieri. In 2022, they won distinctions such as the best pizzeria concept in the world according to 50 Top Pizza; Best Pizzeria in Barcelona, ​​second best in Spain and 21 Best in the World, as well as Pizza of the Year at the Latteria Sorrentina Awards, for its creation with Cantabrian anchovies, tomato, escarole and kalamata olive puree.

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