Peppe Cutraro: “The main ingredient of this Napoli is team cohesion”
Peppe, we often saw you with the Napoli jersey on your back, both in Paris and during trips to your hometown. When was this passion for Napoli born?
My uncle is an ultra founded the Brigata Carolina group (ultra group from the Spanish Quarter in the city of Naples, editor’s note). Because I didn’t have my father, he was like a second father, everything he did I wanted to do the same, so at the age of 10 I started supporting Napoli. At first it was more for fun, then it became a real passion and at the age of 16, I also joined my uncle’s ultras group. That’s where I found the real middle tifosi and I started watching all the games.
Was it before or after you decided to become a pizza maker?
It happened a little bit at the same time. I live in the Spanish Quarter which is kinda hot and, at the time, there are scholarships to teach young people in this neighborhood trades. There were several possibilities and I decided to become a pizza maker. On the other hand, I have asked for all my Sundays to be free because I have commitments with Brigata and I have to go to games. Especially today as soon as I’m in Naples, if there’s a match, I” must ” to go.
This year you can be happy, Napoli were way ahead and nothing seemed to stop them. How are you having this season?
I think we deserve to be here! We have been fighting for five or six years and we have been victims of injustice, especially because of Juventus. As everyone knows, this club always does a bit of crap and it’s a shame. We suffer from this, because it is always more difficult for us, because apart from the difference in budgets, we have to fight crime. But this year, thanks to chance, we have a sick team and a great coach who is a real tactician (Luciano Spalletti). For Neapolitans, for me, for children who need a chance in life and to believe in the impossible being possible, I think we deserve to win the championship and this victory will give hope to all Neapolitans. There we talk more about football, we talk about a city, dreams and the opportunity to change something.
To make a great pizza, like a football team, you need good ingredients. In your opinion, what are the ingredients that make Napoli a good team?
The main element is teamwork. The President sends senator who has been there for years and who will definitely start whether we win or not. There, half the team is lost (Coat, Mertens, Ruiz, Koulibaly) and instead we take hungry and talented young people. On top of that, we have Spalletti and the fans who are always there. I am 33 years old, I have a vague memory of what my mother said when we won our last title. It’s been years since we won anything but we were always there as if it was a World Cup final.
In football there is a lot of competition between clubs. Is the same in the world of pizza. What do you think of Roman pizza, for example?
For pizza, it’s different. I think all pizza is good if it is well made and has good ingredients. There are different pizzas but I like all styles. If I choose to make Neapolitan pizza, it’s because of the one I have at home, which I love.
By the way, did you know that in France the capital of pizza is Marseille? Have you ever tasted Marseille pizza?
Yes, all of Marseillais told me that! Besides, I don’t dare to open a pizzeria in Marseille. The people of Marseille are so proud of their pizza truck that I will choose another city before opening one in Marseille. (Laugh.) Unfortunately I haven’t been there to taste their pizza and that’s a shame. I would love to taste one day to understand why the people of Marseille are so proud of their pizza.
Why do we eat more pizza in France than in Italy?
First, especially in the south of Italy we eat pizza. And then I think it has a lot to do with the way we live. We in Italy live with our parents very late, sometimes until we are 30, so we go to the pizzeria on Friday or Saturday before going out. You in France you live alone much younger. In Paris, young people prefer to live together in a 50m2 apartment but go out every night. In restaurants, on Monday nights, I sometimes do four services, no one believes me when I say it’s in Italy!
Donnarumma often comes to eat at your restaurant, what does he have for pizza? He got a pizza special?
Yes he often comes. When he asked me to make him a pizza, I told him I would make it my favorite: Spicy (tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy Neapolitan sausage, candied onions, Ed). Often after the game, he’d order or come by to eat it. I’ve told him to come with the other PSG players but for now I’m waiting.
Today if you had to taste your pizza to a player, who would you be?
Considering we were in France and my son “betrayed” me, and after Napoli he became a PSG supporter seeing Neymar, Mbappé and Messi, I had no choice, so I’d say Messi. Mbappé I think I still have a bit of time, but Messi is coming soon, he won’t be there.
How was the evening football in Naples?
I think it’s like all over the world, we’re hanging out with friends over beer and pizza and we’re screaming into the TV to support our team. I saw when there was a PSG match, my delivery orders exploded! Usually I need to plan two pizza maker Besides that.
What pizza do you recommend for watching a football game?
Me, if I’m not at work and I have a chance to watch the game, I don’t eat pizza. Pizza, I eat it every day, at least to taste the recipe and quality, so if I’m at home I eat something other than pizza.
If Maradona was pizza, what do you think it would be?
Without a doubt, this will be my world champion pizza! It is the pizza that changed my life. The pizza that has it all, the character, color, pizza people like and sell best. So these are the pizza leaders, these are the stars and Maradona that’s it!