I have 47 years behind me and I hope at least double that to come. To my right is a past full of endless days spent between ovens and sacrifices that brought me no little satisfaction; to my left, however, there is a long path still to be walked down, with many stomachs still to fill and many dishes to be created.
And at the centre of all this is me, Antonino Esposito, a chef by profession and passion.
Even now I still cling to an umbilical cord that binds my heart to my hometown, the beautiful Sorrento, and it was from the “Land of the Sirens” that I took my first steps in early adulthood into what would soon become my life's mission: the art of the pizza chef. I was a penniless greenhorn when my uncle Salvatore, a pizza chef by night and a bricklayer by day, showed me what it meant to sink your fingers into pizza dough, stretch the block like a painter preparing his canvas and brush the toppings onto it with rhythm and flair.
It was love at first sight.
Only with the passing of the years and the accumulation of experience did the pizzas start to come out of the oven more rounded, less burned and with a strong flavour, reflecting the passion that went into them. The choice of authentic products, unconditional love for my land and the desire to keep improving myself represent stages of a path that is constantly evolving, a form of training that has never concluded and which given me unique and unrepeatable experiences.
The invention of the Frusta Sorrentina, a long series of awards proudly lined up on my mantelpiece, the constant seminars and training courses that I run around the world to pass on the secrets of excellent pizza to young talents, the frequent guest appearances on TV, unforgettable co-workers, the most demanding customers and the successful experiments, such as Sorrento Sapori e Tradizioni, a company that exports Made in Italy delicacies throughout the world thanks to an extensive network of distribution channels, including an aeronautical route: this is short list of examples of the various successes that I will never forget.
My story has an unforgettable flavour, and would never have been written without the irreplaceable figure of my mother, whose support has been crucial for my personal, familial and professional growth. It is a familiar taste that blends dedication with the constant desire to improve, passion mixed with the joy of seeing the empty plates come back to the kitchen, the curiosity that compels me to never stop, to face life as if it were always the last day I could spend next to my beloved oven.
I would like to thank the many people who made this possible, such as my brother Lello, a fool who, like me, let himself get infected by the pizza bug. It is thanks to him that Ahum, a small company in my native Sorrento, has grown big despite only having access to a few square metres mostly occupied by a bowling alley... no one believed us that it would work at the beginning!
Finally, my thanks go to all those helped inspired the passion of a young pizza maker who grew up in the alleys of Sorrento, a street urchin who found the strength to turn a job into a dream to be passed on.
With hunger & love. Until the last bite.