How serious is Dave Acocella about his pizza? Dave's been working on his homemade dough recipe for nine years -- a blend of natural and baker's yeasts that he charts regularly.
Dave honed his chops as a manager at celebrity hotspot Da Silvano's new annex in Greenwich Village, where his first customer was Rihanna. In 2011, the owner put a pizza oven in back, so Dave began using everything he learned about pizza from spending many hours in his mother's kitchen.
While keeping that job a night, he apprenticed during the day at renowned Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee's.
In 2015, Dave converted one of Da Silvano's convection ovens into a "semi-pizza maker." In his first week, he created $100 burrata white truffle pizza pies.
Dave helped open the two Manhattan locations for one of the world's great Neopolitan pizzamakers, Gino Sobillo.
In late 2019, Dave opened his "dream" pizzeria Philomena's -- named after one of his then nine-year-old daughters. He struck a deal with his other daughter, Appolonia, to name a cafe after her one day.
My grandfather, who is a tool and dye maker, made this for her probably 80 years ago. Maybe even more. This is a really old heirloom. I don't use it much. Every once in a while, I crush pistachios for a pizza that I make. But primarily, I hold on to it from the history aspect of it.
My great-grandmother was a great cook and taught my mother a lot in the kitchen. But she learned it from her first husband, who died in an accidental explosion at his convenience store. Well, back in the day, it was a general store.
It was in Melfi, Italy. My great-grandfather was a famous chef who had the good grace to go to Argentina to cook and teach Italian food. His brother came along with him and after school was over, they came back to Melfi, where he stayed but his brother stole his identity and came to New York and opened up a restaurant under his name.
HE LIT A CIGAR...
AND BLEW UP
My great-grandfather was distraught. In the general store, they had cigars, live chickens, dried meats, and gunpowder. He was walking down the basement steps, he lit a cigar, and the ash ignited the dynamite and blew up the store, where unfortunately, he and a few of his children perished.
My great-grandmother came to New York with the help of my great uncle, who wanted to make amends and make things right. She met a gentleman who she married only if he built a house for her and her family to live. And that was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
So this heirloom was used many times back in Elizabeth, New Jersey by my great-grandmother and my mother as well. I have it to this day.
You could also use this by putting it between two chairs and you could hang and dry pots on it as well.
I don't know the exact origin of where this was made, but my grandfather had a tool shed in the backyard, so he could have made it there as well.
I keep it right near the espresso machine. I would put it on the shelf and it would roll down. And I would always think of my great-grandmother: "Sorry, great-grandma, I didn't mean anything!" But this thing is as sturdy as heck.
Have you ever had a situation where you had to use it for something other than food?