Meet the Judges! – Nick DePalma
When it comes to pizza, Nick DePalma came by his credentials the old-fashioned way. The Chef and owner at Inferno Restaurant and Caffe San Simeon grew up working in Trattoria dai Baffoni, the Little Italy restaurant his grandparents opened in 1966.
What do you think makes a great pizza?
For me it’s all about simplicity, great produce, and not cutting corners. I look for a nice, sweet tomato, broken by hand, good flour, good olive oil, and a good oven. But when people ask me “what’s the best pizza?” a lot of it comes down to personal choice. Some people like wood-burning ovens, others like gas ovens, big pans, small pans, thin crust. These days people make pizza with truffles, with all sorts of things, but in the end your appreciation of food is tied to memories. The pizza your grandmother made for you, or the meal you had with friends, that’s always going to be the one that for you, personally, is the best.
Do you have a favourite pizza story you’d like to share?
In 2006, I had just started working at my grandfather’s restaurant and Italy won the World Cup. We had stocked up on extra dough and ingredients but we ran out of everything! By the end of the day, the only pizza you could have was tomato pizza. People would come up and try to order and we’d just say “you don’t like it, go somewhere else.” We were only three guys, and we worked from 11 am until 2 in the morning, but we sold close to 1200 pizzas that day!
Inferno is at 6850 Rue Saint-Dominique. Caffe San Simeone is at 39 Rue Dante. Both are in Little Italy
Writer: Robbie Dillon