A Cooking School Hides In This NYC Pizza Restaurant
“Reserve, represent, share and maintain the tradition, culture and quality of Neapolitan pizza-making skills in the world.” That’s the goal and mantra of Italian-born chef Roberto Caporuscio’s Pizza Academy Foundation, located inside the third location of his Késte Pizza & Vino in Manhattan’s Financial District. Enrolled guests and students at the on-premise cooking school will learn the traditional art of Neapolitan pizza-making via individual cooking stations, six pizza ovens and audio and video technology, all of which is live-streamed to the restaurant’s website. Students taking professional classes will also receive a certificate upon completion.
A pizza pro himself, Caporuscio serves as the U.S. President of the Association of Pizzaiuoli; Késte’s Wall Street location is the U.S. chapter. His daughter and restaurant manager, Giorgia, is one of the only female pizzaoilas in the country. (A pizzaiolo simply refers to a person who makes pizza, though the strict Neapolitan guidelines say that a certified pizzaiolo only uses specific ingredients and techniques.)
The design inspiration for both the restaurant and the Pizza Academy comes from a vintage copy of Francesco de Bourcard’s Usi E Costumi di Napoli on display in the academy’s kitchen, which gives details of Neapolitan traditions, including the structure of 19th-century pizzerias. Look for painted ceramic tiles on the floor giving a nod to the Amalfi coast.
Those not interested in the Pizza Academy can still get a taste of Napoli by ordering any of the 50 pizzas and calzones offered in the main dining room, while sipping a variety of Italian wines poured from an enomatic wine dispenser. Current specials include the Noci e Zucchini, featuring imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, walnut cream, zucchini and basil, and the Pistacchio e Salsiccia with pistachio pesto, sausage, mozzarella, basil and Pecorino-Romano.
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