How and when did you start your career as a pastry chef?
I've always loved making pastries, ever since I was a child. When I was ten years old, I spent the summer holiday "playing" in a pastry shop in Puglia, where I was born. That was better than playing in the street.
When I was 17 I moved to Milan where I received my diploma as a pastry technician, working in the Sant'Ambrogio pastry shop in Milan. After that, I took specialised courses and internships with great Masters in the industry.
During the 90s I returned to my beloved Puglia and opened the Saint Martin pastry shop where I still work.
What inspired you to create a new pastry?
My biggest inspiration came from my surroundings with its colours and fragrances and the products that this land offers. Today, the thing that stimulates my imagination the most is definitely the Puglia region even though, I admit, my pastries often also include a touch of Lombardy.
What are your best pastries?
All my pastries are good! (laughing) But my speciality is baked goods. It's no coincidence that my name is Fornaio!
And your favourite pastry?
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes, I really do.
How important do you think appearance is for a pastry?
Appearance is extremely important because... "You eat with your eyes first and then your mouth".
How important is tradition in making pastries and how important is experimentation?
Tradition is the basis, the foundation. Although, in recent years there have been many changes in how the raw materials are processed. For this reason, we must always stay in step with the times by evolving and experimenting.
What are the fundamental tools for creating quality pastries?
An oven and blast chiller. The oven is fundamental starting early in the morning for breakfast - croissants, cream puffs and pastries, then there are cakes, tarts and muffins. So the oven is very important.
The blast chillers cool the products quickly and make them more crumbly, giving them a longer life and making them tastier.
Can high technology be of use to the pastry chef?
Technology is not only useful, it is essential because it allows the pastry chef to achieve the same results time after time without the need for constant supervision. In other words, it gives us more time to dedicate to those things we prefer to do and frees us from routine work. I have to say, Aroma By Naboo is a master at this.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and become a pastry chef!
Passion, determination, willingness and humility.
What made you decide to accept the offer to work with Lainox?
Lainox is an Italian company, and this was a big stimulus for me. I like the idea of working for products that are made in Italy.
Plus, I was excited by the thought of participating in the creation of an innovative project like "Aroma by Naboo" where I was able to offer everyone my experience and professional skills accumulated over years of work and experimentation. Today, all of my most famous recipes that I kept closely guarded are now available on the Lainox Cloud, from Panettone to Paolo's famous pan pizza. I must admit that it makes me very proud.