Peppe Cutraro: “The main ingredient of this Napoli is team cohesion”
Peppe, we often see you with the Napoli shirt behind you, both in Paris and during your trips to your hometown. When was this passion for Napoli born?
My uncle was an ultra-founder of the Carolina Brigade group (the ultra group of the Spanish Quarters of the city of Naples, ed). Since I didn’t have my father, he was a bit of a second father, everything he did I wanted to do the same, so when I was 10 I started supporting Napoli. At first it was more for fun, then it became a real passion and at 16 I too joined my uncle’s ultras group. It was there that I discovered the true center of the fans and that I started going to see all the games.
Was it before or after you decided to become a pizza chef?
It happened kind of at the same time. I lived in the Quartieri Spagnoli which is a bit hot and, at that time, there was a scholarship to teach the young people of this neighborhood a trade. There were several possibilities and I decided to become a pizza maker. I, on the other hand, had asked to have every Sunday off because I had a commitment with the Brigade and had to go to the match. After all, today as soon as I’m in Naples, if there’s a game, I’m there” obligatory ” to go.
This year you must be happy, Napoli are by far first and nothing seems to be able to stop them. How are you living this season?
I think we deserve to be here! We have been arguing for five or six years and we have been victims of injustice, especially because of Juventus. As everyone knows, this club always does something silly and that’s a shame. We suffer from this, because it is increasingly difficult for us, because in addition to the budget difference, we have to fight against cheating. But this year, thanks to chance, we have a sick team and a great coach who is a real tactician (Luciano Spalletti). For the Neapolitan people, for me, for the kids who need an opportunity in life and to believe in something impossible that can become possible, I think we deserve to win the Scudetto and that this victory will give hope to all Neapolitans. There we talk more about football, we talk about a city, a dream and the opportunity to change something.
To make a good pizza, it’s like a football team, you need good ingredients. In your opinion, what are the ingredients that make Napoli a good team?
The main ingredient is team cohesion. The president sent the senator who had been there for years and would definitely be starters whether we won or not. There, half of the team went (Insignia, Mertens, Ruiz, Koulibaly) and instead we took young people who are hungry and have talent. In addition to this we have Spalletti and the fans that have always been there. I’m 33, I have vague memories of what my mother told me when we won our last titles. We hadn’t won anything in years but we’ve always been there as if it were a World Cup final.
In football there is a lot of rivalry between clubs. It’s the same in the world of pizza. What do you think of Roman pizza, for example?
It’s different for pizza. I think all pizzas are good if they are well made and have good ingredients. There are different pizzas but I like all styles. If I have chosen to make Neapolitan pizza it is because it is the one I prefer at home.
By the way, did you know that the capital of pizza in France is Marseille? Have you ever tasted a Marseillaise pizza?
Yes, all the Marseillais tell me that! Also, I dare not open a pizzeria in Marseille. The people of Marseille are so proud of their pizza vans that I will choose another city before opening in Marseille. (Laughs.) Unfortunately I have never been there to taste their pizza and this is really a regret. I’m curious to taste one day to see why the Marseillais are so proud of their pizza.
Why do we eat much more pizza in France than in Italy?
First of all, it is mainly in southern Italy that pizza is eaten. And then I think it is very related to our way of life. In Italy we stay with our parents very late, sometimes up to the age of 30, so we go to a pizzeria on Friday or Saturday before going out. You live alone in France much younger. In Paris young people prefer to live together in a 50m2 apartment but go out every night. At the restaurant, on Monday evening, sometimes I do four services, nobody believes me when I say that in Italy!
Donnarumma often comes to eat at your restaurant, what do you have for pizza? Do you have a special pizza?
Yes, he came often. When he asked me to make him a pizza, I told him I’d make him my favorite: Piccante (tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy Neapolitan sausage, candied onions, ed). Often, after games, he orders or comes to eat one. I’ve already told him to come with the other PSG players but for now I’ll wait.
Today if you had to let a player taste your pizzas, who would you like it to be?
Since we are in France and my son “betrayed” me, and that after Napoli he became a PSG fan by seeing Neymar, Mbappé and Messi, I have no choice anymore, so I will say Messi. Mbappé I think I still have some time, but Messi won’t be there in a while.
How is a football evening in Naples?
I think it’s like all over the world, we gather with friends over beers and pizzas and shout in front of the TV to support our team. I see it when there are PSG matches, my delivery orders explode! I usually need to plan two pizza maker Moreover.
What pizza do you recommend for watching a football game?
If I’m not at work and I have the opportunity to watch the game, I don’t eat pizza. Pizzas, I eat them every day, at least to taste the recipe and the quality, so if I’m at home I eat something other than pizza.
If Maradona was a pizza, what do you think it would be?
Without hesitation, this would be my champion pizza of the world! It was pizza that changed my life. It’s the pizza that has everything, the character, the color, it’s the pizza that people love and sell the most. So he’s a pizza leader, he’s a star and Maradona is like that!