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.”