“The Olympics of the True Pizza is under way in Naples, famous the world over for its hallmark thick-crusted dough and some of the best pizza makers in the country,” according to Ahramonline. “For the past three days, it has also played host to pizza makers from less predictable locations. “The biggest satisfaction is having Neapolitans at the end of the meal compliment you for the pizza,” says Masa, a Japanese pizza chef from Osaka, where he runs a restaurant with an Italian-sounding name, Masaniello. The name also happens to be that of a Neapolitan fisherman who became the leader of the revolt against Habsburg rule in Naples in 1647.

“He almost had my name,” adds Masa with a grin. “I had to choose that name for my restaurant.” Masa is one of 15 Japanese chefs in Naples to meet his Italian and international counterparts at the Pizza Olympics, which has organised workshops, seminars and events for those who love to eat and make pizza. “We’ve launched a very specific gathering, focusing on products, preparation and the make-up of pizza,” says Massimo Di Porzio, vice president of the Association of Real Neapolitan Pizza (AVPN). Events range from a seminar on working dough by hand, to another entitled Lactic Bacteria and Yiest as Instruments to Improved Leavened Dough.”

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