by Enzo Coccia
Kiev – 3 degrees above Celsius. The average temperature for February in Ukraine’s capital doesn’t exceed zero degree and it is always to be hoped that the thermometer stands at least at one degree! I’m here as a consultant of Fozzy Group, the biggest food retail chain with hundreds of supermarkets and over 20 thousand employees, which decided to open “Positano” pizzeria and restaurant featured by the Neapolitan flavors, able to make the “authentic Neapolitan pizza” and prepare traditional Neapolitan delights as spaghetti with vongole fujute (“escaped” clams), the classic ragù, sfogliatelle and rum soaked babà. A pizzeria synonymous of well-being, quality of life, excellence of agricultural products… as in Positano!
After many years of consultancies all over the world – with Pizza Consulting we went to China, USA, Canada, Israel – I don’t miss the adrenaline that follows the inauguration of a new pizza place and so it is here in Kiev.
For me, a consultancy is not the mere transfer of know-how, I don’t teach only how to make a good Neapolitan pizza, I bring my culture with me and the people accept to integrate it in their own culture: therefore it creates a complicity at all stages, especially during the days before the opening we spend a lot of time together… 15, 16 hours a day, sometimes even without eating (it seems absurd, doesn’t it?), to talk about every single detail, from the menu to the store setting up, from the ingredients to use to the right wood (oak) for the traditional baking technique and the choice of appropriate suppliers and suitable pizza equipment.
We started to work on it in September 2015. The Positano pizzeria in Kiev have just opened and it can count on – among its 32 employees – 4 Ukrainian pizzaioli trained in Naples; moreover, one of my pizzaioli, Davide, is staying here during the first two months of opening and then, every three months, we are going to do a quality control check until the spring 2017.
So, it is an intense exchange. On each project I realize that I have brought a piece of Naples somewhere in the world and left something of mine there. I always say that I am lucky to be born in Campania, in Naples. This makes me a happy person… but after three weeks spent in Kiev, I have the sensation of living in a parallel universe, a Matrix-like one with pizzas, menus, countertops and orders… it is time to get back to my reality or in the dream I lived previously: Naples.