Youssef Ben Touati, Pizza Master
Youssef, champion of Pizza in Italy and in Australia
A life spent between the stove, the wood-fired oven, and many travels, always chasing his passion: pizza. This is the story of Youssef Ben Touati, born in Perugia, Italy, 28 years ago.
Youssef comes from a multicultural family of restaurateurs; An Italian mother and a French Tunisian father led Youssef to explore food and ethnic cuisine from all around the world.
Youssef approached the kitchen for the very first time when he was only a young teenager. His family owned a restaurant in Tuscany, in the beautiful Argentario peninsula where he used to spend his summer holidays. After finishing school, Youssef decided to start his first working experience at his uncle’s restaurant “La Casetta”, in Perugia.
After a few months, he realized his job would develop into something serious. Youssef loved working in the restaurant kitchen and never felt tired of cooking.
After this first experience at his uncles’ restaurant, he had the occasion to approach some real master of Neapolitan pizza. And this is when his passion for the pizza industry begun. After just a short period of time, Youssef realized to have the right skills to train together with the Italian National Team of Pizzaioli, at that time guided by Danilo Pagano. Youssef competed in several national and international contests around Italy, winning regional, national and international prizes; He obtained the first place for FreeStyle pizza and a bronze medal for Gourmet pizza at the International Pizza Championship in Rimini in 2013.
He is also a member of the Acrobatic Pizza Italian Team even if he always likes to remember that acrobatic pizza is something playful that has nothing to do with the art of making pizza and all the elaborate techniques involved in dough making.
After having traveled all around Europe together with the Italian National Team, he decided to take a new challenge by moving to Australia. 4 years ago, Youssef took a chance and reached Brisbane when at that time, he could barely speak English. In the beginning, his experience in Australia was a sort of adventure and did not have high expectations. He then decided to stay in Australia when some good work opportunities gave him the chance to grow professionally and share his skills with the Australian pizza industry.
Y. Ben Touati will demonstrate at Euroquip on 13 Aug. 2018
Youssef worked for many well-known restaurants such as Tartufo and Mr. Paganini. He also works as a consultant and represents premium brands like Valoriani wood-fired ovens and Le 5 Stagioni.
“Here in Australia, customers ordered some different type of pizzas, like those ones with bacon and pineapple. I prefer to stick with traditional and genuine pizzas and make the customers happy with customized dough and baking; thin, thick, crispy, Neapolitan or Calzone. In Italy we have many different pizza qualities with different features; Not just Neapolitan but also Roman Style and Pugliese. The Northen Italy trends prefer a crunchier dough, while the South loves a fluffier texture. Margherita, which is my favourite pizza; however, my favourite ones are those not with too many toppings and ingredients because it is difficult to enjoy the dough”.
Also, in Australia, Youssef obtained recognition; in 2015 he won a gold medal for “dessert pizza” and a silver medal for “Neapolitan pizza” and “Gourmet pizza” during the pizza competition Pizza Revolution that takes place every year at Fine Food.
Youssef dreams of opening his own business, not a restaurant but a professional school for pizza and white art.