Where Calgary - - DINING - —Michaela Ritchie

Pizza sauce runs in Domenic Tudda’s veins. Raised in the kitchen of his par­ents Joe and Teresa’s Cal­gary pizza joint, Strom­boli Inn, Tudda had plenty of time grow­ing up to hone his culi­nary skills. But there was still one thing a life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence could not teach him.

“I don’t know if I re­ally fell in love with cook­ing back then, at that age,” he ad­mits. “When you’re younger, it’s work. You’d rather be out play­ing with the other kids, but in­stead you’re work­ing in the fam­ily restau­rant, so there was no pas­sion for what I was do­ing at that point.”

It wasn’t un­til Tudda was al­most 30 years old that he re­al­ized just how much joy his fam­ily’s craft brought to him. Com­mit­ted to ap­proach­ing cook­ing from a fresh per­spec­tive, Tudda set out to study the culi­nary arts in Italy—in par­tic­u­lar, the art of mak­ing Napo­le­tana pizza, a dish no restau­rant in Cal­gary had man­aged to per­fect at that time, he says.

“I learned every facet of Ital­ian cook­ing that I could,” says Tudda of his train­ing. “I be­lieve that you have to know where the food comes from and where it started, be­cause the cul­ture is so much a part of the food, and I don’t think you can fully ap­pre­ci­ate the food with­out know­ing that cul­ture.”

Tudda’s de­sire to re-ig­nite in­ter­est for his cus­tomers in not only the flavours, but also the her­itage of Ital­ian cui­sine, is para­mount at Pul­cinella (page 54). Tak­ing up root in the same Kens­ing­ton kitchen where Strom­boli used to be, the restau­rant de­liv­ers a tra­di­tional menu in a con­tem­po­rary set­ting, the per­fect blend of history and moder­nity. Tudda uses only the most au­then­tic in­gre­di­ents in his dishes —every­thing from the pizza dough to the water at Pul­cinella is im­ported—and stays up-to-date on Euro­pean cook­ing trends with an­nual trips back to Italy.

“I want to give peo­ple the Ital­ian kitchen that is hap­pen­ing in Italy at this very mo­ment,” says Tudda. “There is a story be­hind every dish, and we need to be able to ro­mance that to the client. And of course,” he laughs, “the food has to taste amaz­ing.”

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