“It all started during my participation in Taste of Roma where I worked with the Michelin-starred chef Peppe Iannotti of Krèsios restaurant in Telese Terme.” Explains Franco Pepe, owner of Pepe in Grani and someone who is widely recognised as the world’s greatest pizzaiolo.
“The morning I set out for Rome from Caiazzo and suddenly I was caught in a storm on the motorway; when I arrived in Rome it was still pouring down.” Franco continues. “After a while, thank goodness, it stopped raining and here I was in front of an oven with refractory floor and stainless-steel dome. We were outside and the oven was totally soaked, a brand-new, unused wood-fired oven so much so that user manual and documentation were still lying inside it.”
“It was 10a.m. and by noon I had to make pizza with the Chef Lannotti; he had to work his magic on my pizza and so my pizza dough had to be in tip-top condition.” Franco explains. Chef Giuseppe Lannotti is a self-taught Italian chef, awarded 1-Michelin star for his restaurant Kresios in Telese, not far from Naples in Italy. “Can you guess the pressure on me putting in work for a Michelin-starred chef and, given the weather conditions, without being sure that the oven could reach the right temperature and cook well?”
Luckily for Franco Pepe, the oven he was about to use was an Alfa Pro, a real wood fired, Italian manufactured pizza oven, renowned for quality, consistency and above all else, the flavour that is achieved on a range of pizza bases. Franco goes on to say, “Next to the Alfa oven, some wet bags of firewood and woodchips were lying so I set to light the fire and bit by bit I managed to do it, and to my great surprise, I checked how effectively the stainless-steel dome worked. This new technology, this new approach to the wood-fired oven allowed me to bring it up to the cooking temperature in less than an hour, and to turn out plenty of pizzas as it had always worked like that.”
Having not used an Alfa before, Franco was so impressed with the oven, continuing, “This thing intrigued me a lot and so I got in touch with Alfa through its website and I asked them if we can work together because I like giving new stuff a try. We met and we found a path that we can share, each of us with our different procedures and techniques.”