By Brooke Kato
The world’s best dough-slinger isn’t working in a New York City slice shop — in fact, you’ll have to catch a flight across the pond if you want to find him.
UK-based Michele Pascarella, the founder of London’s Napoli on the Road, has been named the best pizza chef on the planet at the World 50 Top Pizza Awards this week.
The Chiswick pizzaiolo, who has been crafting pies since he was 11, said his big win “is a testament to pushing the boundaries of flavor and innovation within pizza.”
“It’s not just about crafting the perfect dough or finding the finest ingredients; it’s about the artistry and passion that goes into every slice,” the pizza visionary said, according to TimeOut.
As Pascarella’s last name suggests, the UK transplant is originally from Italy, and moved to England when he was just 19 years old.
His menu features the classics, such as margherita and pepperoni, listed as diavola, as well as some vegan-friendly options.
But his “signature” pies seem to be the draw of his eatery — and include pizzas topped with parma ham aged for 24 months, tuna fillet or ragu sauce made with lamb.
Pascarella, who has been hailed as the “pioneer of contemporary pizza,” has scored a number of accolades, most recently crowned in May as Pizza Maker of the Year 2023.
But while New Yorkers might be peeved by the pizza prizes, it’s not all bad news.
World 50 Top Pizza also named the best pie places on the planet, with a Big Apple eatery landing in the top three.
The judges named the Lower East Side’s Luna Pizza Napoletana in third place, behind two pizza joints in Italy: Diego Vitagliano Pizzeria in Naples and I Masanielli in Caserta.
Ask any New Yorker, and you’ll get a different answer: Joe’s, Prince Street, Patsy’s, Joe and Pat’s, L’Industrie. Even if they use Barstool founder Dave Portnoy’s one bite rule — weighing the sturdiness of the crust, gooeyness of the cheese and the tastiness of the sauce — it appears no one can come to consensus.
But according to Helen Rosner of The New Yorker, Scarr’s Pizza may just take the cake — err, pie — that is “sixty per cent pizza and forty per cent vibes,” she writes.
Scarr’s crust, she says, is light, tangy and sturdy, the sauce “bright and fresh.” The ‘za itself “has admirable structural integrity,” she adds, “succumbing neither to sag nor to sog.”
“Here’s what I will say: any list of great pizza that leaves off Scarr’s shouldn’t be trusted,” she declared, pleased by the even schmear of tomato sauce and lack of grease puddles.
“The restaurant’s slice is excellent, just this side of faultless.”