Meet Danilo Refini, Master Pizza Chef Of Pizza University
Danilo Refini speaks to us about his careers in the Pizza Industry started 15 years ago and the decision to move in Australia. Plus, the Italian Pizza Chef reveals his guilty pizza pleasure.
Hi Danilo, I’ve heard you have already 15 years of experience… You look so young!
(Laughing) I am young, 31 years old. I’ve started working when I was still a teenager, 16 years old. I was employed by a Pizzeria to carry out the deliveries; I did it for fun … to pocket some money and go out with friends. I didn’t imagine all these things.
… And life some time is strange, apparently my destiny was written. Every day at work I was used to eat some pizza, so the guys in the kitchen one day asked me “why don’t you cook your pizza on your own”. And so … step by step, I learnt to make pizza. It started out as joke and I didn’t realize that my boss Maurizio Leone and my colleague Alessandro Lo Stocco were the Master Trainers of Pizza University in Italy. I owe them a lot.
Where do you come from in Italy?
I come from Fondi, a small village near the town of Latina … not far away from Rome. And in Fondi was the Pizzeria where I started and worked for 11 years, “I Maurizio Pizzeria.”
How did your passion take you here, in Australia?
Well, after 11 years working I could say to be a well prepared pizzaiolo, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I was too young and with too many goals I would have loved to reach. I was told Australian pizza market was still a fruitful soil and coming here It would have been also a good chance to learn English. After 4 years in Australia I can clearly say that Australia makes a wonderful pizza. People in the industry are very prepared. With important investments in training, catering equipment as the best Italians commercial ovens and of course quality raw materials, Australia has seen growing world famous pizza chefs. I am seriously motivated to go ahead and one day, open my Restaurant. Here, there is the right compromise between tradition and innovation. People recognise the high quality of traditional pizza making and at the same they appreciate new and unusual recipes. This way, I can express my creativity in the kitchen, or better to say in front of the oven!
When you hold Pizza University classes, what’s the most frequent question?
Definitely it’s “which one is the best type of pizza”. We all believe that Neapolitan pizza is the only real one. Well, we can say it’s the original pizza, for sure. But there are many different cooking traditions in Italy. We have thin pizzas, roman pizzas and a many styles of focaccia. The difference is in the dough and of course in the baking. Gas ovens are different from wood fired ovens but they both produce excellent products. What matters is the quality of ingredients, having good equipment and the enthusiasm you put in your work.
I cannot leave you without making “the magic question”… what’s your favourite pizza, Danilo?
Ahahah. I don’t know… I like many pizzas… Well the pizza I like to eat more often is Pizza with sausage, truffle cream and mushrooms.
Yum… I’m definitely craving for pizza right now. Have a safe trip to Melbourne, Thank you Danilo.