LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chef Paolo Gallotti
LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
Pizza and spaghetti are the flavor ambassadors of Italian culinary culture. Perhaps they are the most beloved ambassadors in the world. Wherever you are, it is possible to reach them, whether in a corner restaurant, in a luxury Italian restaurant, or in a supermarket's frozen food section. Of course, what makes them delicious is the talents of the chefs who prepare them. Paolo Gallotti is a chef who has dedicated his life to Italian cuisine since discovering his passion for Italian cuisine. He studied in Rome, discovered different countries and cultures, and decided to open his own Italian restaurant as soon as he felt ready. In 2013, he established Vero Italian in Miami. Since then, he has been working continuously to offer his customers unique tastes. I talked with Chef Paolo Gallotti, Founder and Owner of Vero Italian, about his career and Vero Italian.
Paolo, before talking about VERO Italian, I would like to learn more about you. How did your interest in cooking has begun? What inspired you?
My interest in professional cooking started when I was in my very early years stealing delicious food from my grandmother prep table, she was a great and renowned chef in the 30`s back in Italy she always was a great inspiration for me.
When did you decide to pursue a career as a chef? Could you tell us about your professional career?
It was always the only and most natural thing to do, I loved to cook and people around me loved my food, so I graduated in Italy, started very young doing night shift in a bakery, that was where i have realized it was not going to be easy to step into the food industry and prepared me for the hard working years ahead, during the last year of school I started working in restaurant in the City of Albano Laziale place where my family relocated, been decentralized from Rome I had the great chance of working with some of the finest local products sourced right from local farms and producers, I discovered then the importance of using the best ingredients and stay grounded the unique flavors that only those could offer.
Immediately after I graduated I have moved to Australia, the beginning was extremely hard but I have met than some very special individual that took me under their wind and help me so much I`ll be grateful all my life. Such a new world and the amazing variety of cuisine that a meet there has pushed me back to school after five years I had another college degree and moved to Japan do explore more, back in Sydney my career had taken an amazing turn and I was given the opportunity to open new and amazing venues and the last 4 years I have worked as an executive chef in a great restaurant also there I was given the amazing opportunity to make the most important decision and grow a great confidence.
How did you decide to establish VERO Italian?
Vero Italian was a project born in Sydney, in a bar exactly. I have then just met my life partner and already decided to leave Australia to see more of the world, she just came over from many years of studying in Miami and strongly wanted to open a place there, she worked in Italy as manager and so she still had the genuine Italian Imprinting, I wanted to go back to traditional Italian food so badly that I chose the Name VERO (TRUE) for our future joint.
Could you tell us about VERO Italian and the overall concept?
As said Vero Stays for true, in many years of exploring the world I always have noticed that for great convenience and easy profit people tend o twist Italian food based on local dishes which most of the time have really nothing to do with Italian food.
We have played a very risky game in not allowing any overseas influence to our menu, still today we are very proud of this and, taking the chance to teach our customer about real Italian food has certainly paid off well.
What are the most special aspects of pizza and Italian cuisine for you?
The pizza was my first love, still, at culinary school in Rome I went off and took a pizza course, I was amazed at the science behind that. pizza is Italian food.
Italian food is what we love
Could you tell us about your pizzas? What makes them different?
Not all the pizzas are the same, you hearing things like "water from NY" I just don`t get that, water is water and no water will ever have the same amount of minerals than that one from Lazio (the region where Rome is placed)
There are always way to work around with the formula, is true for example that no flour are the same are incredibly better than others but the secret is knowing the science of all process, is the water, the yeast, the flour and the oven you are using this four element are truly very flexible and I firmly convinced that is possible to achieve great results with different variable and condition, Just keep adjusting the formula temperature and most of all timing.
Our pizza rest always for 36 hours in which the protein and gluten feed our yeast that has traveled from Italy, to Australia, to America, the original growth is about 50 years old now and was given to me from my first pizza teacher first and then employer after.
After all this time there is very little gluten left in the dough, just enough to give the last push a raise that amazing crust, our pizza is very gentle on the digestive system, this is really the way it should be!
It is all in the crust
How often do you change up your menu and add a new pizza option? What are you paying attention to while selecting new ingredients and combinations for your new pizza?
We are changing our menu every year always keeping some of the traditional favorites and introducing a couple of other seasonal options, this is running usually for about 3 months.
What is the indispensable ingredient of a delicious pizza?
Which pizza is your customer's favorite?
It has to be the Vero Italian, the homemade sausage the goat cheese and the truffle are the most amazing combination you can have on a crust, it`ll really take you places.
Miami has lots of pizzerias. How does VERO Italian differentiate itself from other pizzerias in Miami?
It is true Maimi has a lot to offer, we are amazed by the quality of the pizzeria`s opened in the last 3 to 4 years, we always try to explore them all and we are very happy that we have the chance of being paired with some great places, but we always go back to our product and look at it with great admiration, the one thing is very difficult o achieve and we are proud of the great consistency thru the years something that seems to be extremely hard to find, this is also the feedback of our regular clientele which we take very seriously into consideration
What kind of other services do you offer to your customers?
Vero really focus on the customer experience into the restaurant, be surrounded from a great amount of office building we started thru the years to develop personalized catering menu options for lunch group, but we really try to keep the night trade in the house, minimizing delivery options and carry out, to keep the freshness of our dishes great.
How can our readers find VERO Italian when they visit Miami?
That is soo easy... we are placed right in the geographic center of the city, corner of the first street and first ave.
What do you think about the importance of social media for restaurants?
It is really amazing, I have experienced the beast grow from zero to 100, we all have, problem is that sometimes is very difficult to follow all of that, I must say that there are some great experts around that help a great deal with it and the result really shows, nowadays we use the numerous channel to chose ourself where to go out, must say that is really good that everyone is now able to express their opinion and honestly read each other comments.
We all have made a social part of our life and it is a very useful instrument I think is a great way to communicate and to share experience, it also stimulates everyone to work better and makes the market more open to single venues like ours, which otherwise would have to struggle a lot to get a glimpse of exposure.
How can our readers follow VERO Italian and you?
Instagram @veroitalian or Facebook @veroitalianmiami
What is next for you?
Maybe in a few years the west coast, we are really attracted by the quality of products over there, but Miami is a very hard city to leave and we are very happy here.
Thank you Chef Paolo for your time.