Chef Michele Cuozzo shares stories about Black Sheep

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Chef Michele Cuozzo hospitality and familiarity with visitors are warmly felt at the Black Sheep restaurant. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – Pizza and pasta are typ­ical Italian foods that are very global. In fact, modifications to the various tastes of pizza have been going on for a long time. For example, teriyaki fla­vored pizza in Japan or pizza rendang in Indonesia. In their home country, pizza is also distinguished based on the various regions in Italy. Chef Mi­chele Cuozzo is a native from Southern Italy, Sala Consilina which is a city in the province of Salerno. Living around the National Park, Cliento E Vallo Di Diano, he is proud to reveal that this is where he learned how to cook, Michele said. From the Italian restaurant Black Sheep in Kemang, South Jakarta, he told us a lot about the origin of this food when Independent Observer met during the one-year anniversary of the Black Sheep.

“Since I was young, I have often worked part-time in restaurants and looked at how far the cooks were busy working in the kitchen. Years later, my uncle invited me to work in the kitchen with him in Germany during my school holidays. There, I had the opportunity to enter the kitchen. And that’s where I first learned how to make pizza on my own, Michele explained.

Michele said that actually pizza was first made by Romans, aka Greeks. They then took it to Naples in Italy. According to Michele, the first pizza is not round like now.

“The pizza was originally made from cereals, water, salt. At that time, yeast to develop pizza was not found. Then the mixture that was mixed was hit flat,” he said.

Pizza, he continued, comes from the Greek ‘piezza’ which means it is made to be soft. The early form of pizza was found to also be more like a cone.

The idea of making pizza as Mi­chelle recalled was not found by the Greeks. History refers to Alexander the Great after traveling to Asia and when with his troops returned to Greece found pizza. “Maybe it’s inspired by prata bread cooked in tandoori from India.” When the Italians started eating pizza, the ingredients are not like now. Michele said Italian pizza was original­ly only sprinkled with anchovies or an­chovies and olive oil. The discovery of pizza with tomato or margarita sauce just happened after Christopher Co­lumbus discovered the American con­tinent that had tomato plants. Com­ing from Southern Italy, Black Sheep also serves the typical pizza of Chef Michele’s residence. In Southern Italy pizza is not made too thin. Part of the pizza skin still leaves a chewy feeling after being burned for a few minutes.

“In South Italy typically pizza is giv­en broccoli that only grows in the area. So broccoli is sauteed in sausage and sown on pizza. The broccoli is picked after 42 days of growing,” he said.

Resto Black Sheep in the Kemang area, South Jakarta, serves a variety of Italian menus. Starting from salads, antipasti, heavy foods, to desserts. Es­pecially for pizza, the typical one-me­ter pizza is suitable for lunch. For raw materials such as cheese, chef Michele revealed that Black Sheep uses cheese made from Indonesia more precisely in the area of Malang, East Java.

In the midst of his busy schedule during the restaurant’s one-year par­ty celebration, Chef Michele Cuozzo revealed that as long as he was in Indonesia and set up a restaurant in Kemang he felt more and more in love with Indonesia. He told me that he first came to Indonesia in 1994 and only a few months to teach how to make pizza after that he went around oth­er Asian regions such as Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. After a long time finally in 2014 he returned to Indonesia to fulfill his intention to open a restaurant in Indonesia.

His love for Indonesia is because he really likes the culture, culture and hospitality of the Indonesian people. Apart from all these aspects, he also revealed that he was not very fond of winter, therefore Indonesia as a trop­ical country made him love and feel comfortable in Indonesia.

Chef Michele Cuozzo also revealed that the restaurant is always wide open for anyone who wants to taste the authentic Italian food menu with­out any change in taste or menu. He also told that anyone who attended if he was not too busy in Michele’s kitchen always tried to take the time to greet the visitors who came just to say hello and ask about the menu or chat with guests. As one of the Italian restaurants that highlight the menu with authentic Italian recipes and also provide hospitality for every visitor who attended it is very appropriate if Black Sheep, the Independent Observer rec­ommends that you enjoy the warmth and friendliness and also the Italian menu for you to serve at the weekend or family relatives. (Aldo)