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UK wide: Francesco Mazzei to be guest chef at Pizza Express

Mazzei has created six exclusive dishes for their menu, launching in PizzaExpress restaurants across the country from 2 February 2010.
Over the past six months Calabria-born Mazzei has been working closely with Antonio Romani, Executive Chef of PizzaExpress, developing six signature dishes: two starters, three pizzas and a pasta.
The dishes are inspired by Francesco’s love of Southern Italy where he grew up in a family of five in Calabria. Insalata Semplice, a starter salad of mellow Santos and vine tomatoes tossed in fresh rocket and combined with buffalo mozzarella and toasted ciabatta features Francesco’s own Calabrian dressing. Tricolore, his lively take on the PizzaExpress classic mozzarella and tomato salad is finished with pungent oregano imported from Calabria.
Mazzei’s specially created pizzas including Mia Sofia, named after his truffle-loving two year-old daughter, introduces a ‘bianco’ (no tomatoes) pizza to the menu with its truffle paste and a rich mixture of mushrooms served on the thin, crisp Romana base. Francesco’s Calabrese pizza packs a typical Southern Italian punch with its carnival of the hottest Italian Calabrese sausage D.O.P. fresh green chillies, roquito peppers, the spicy soft sausage called n’duja, watercress dressed with pesto, fior di latte mozzarella and local oregano. This showstopper is the only square pizza on the menu, designed that way to honour Mazzei’s Grandmother’s belief that it is how pizzas should be. The third in Mazzei’s pizza trio is Rustichella where the classic PizzaExpress tomato, oregano and mozzarella base is heaped with crisp pancetta on marinated roasted tomatoes, fresh rocket, grana padano and a trickle of Caesar dressing.
Francesco Mazzei has contributed extra authenticity to PizzaExpress ingredients with the introduction of a local olive oil from his hometown in Calabria and the fragrant oregano of the region. These will be used across the core menu as well as in his own dishes.
Francesco will be meeting and training thousands of PizzaExpress pizzaiolos across the country and helping to inspire chefs and waiters to deliver his dishes the way they were conceived. Mazzei comments: “I’m excited to be working with PizzaExpress. I’ve been able to marry my creative strengths with their skill in taking great quality food to such a wide audience; thousands of people every day”.
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30 November 2009
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