Pizza artist inspires tomorrow's chefs with centuries-old technique
Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor
Chef Roberto Caporuscio recently brought the 300-year-old art of Neapolitan pizza making to the kitchens of Penn College’s hospitality program, where he offered a demonstration and hands-on lesson to students in the Global Cuisine & Connections course, taught by Chef Mary G. Trometter.
Pizza, Caporuscio told students, is a social food – loved by (and affordable to) both rich and poor.
Raised on a dairy farm in Pontinia, Italy, Caporuscio produced and sold cheese. He continues to make his own mozzarella for the pizza he serves at his two New York City restaurants: Keste Pizza and Vino and Don Antonio by Starita. From his farm roots, he went on to study the art of pizza making in Naples, the birthplace of pizza. After training with pizza masters there, he moved to Pittsburgh, where he established two successful pizzerias, then opened A Mano in Ridgewood, N.J., before opening Keste in 2009 and Don Antonio in 2012.
He has been highly praised in the media, including being named “No. 1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine, “Best Pizza” in New York State by Food Network Magazine and among the top 25 “Best Pizza Places in the U.S.” by Food and Wine. He serves as U.S. president of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers.
He loves teaching his craft: “It’s not just food,” he explained. “It’s story. Food is memory.”
Caporuscio’s visit was facilitated by Giacomo Berselli, founder of the Marco Polo Program Abroad in Italy. In Spring 2024, the college will offer the course Global Food & Hospitality: Cuisine, Culture & Perspectives, which will culminate in a 16-day experience in various regions of Italy through the Marco Polo Program.