Pizza making the Autentico way.
A group cooking experience everyone kneads to try once.
Earlier this year together with our local Facebook Group, Darlo Darlings, sixteen of us embarked on a pizza making masterclass at Surry Hill’s Pizza Autentico. Usually a dining venue, the Pizza Autentico concept centres all around sharing, with over 30 types of pizza and ten types of pasta circulating the room for up to 90 minutes. This was actually my first visit to Pizza Autentico and it won’t be my last – located on Brisbane Street, it is a favourite of locals and I was about to discover why. I can’t wait to return later this year for round two.
“I’ve attended quite a few cooking classes over the years, all of them I’ve enjoyed for varying reasons. I remember a two day class I did in Bangkok in 2007 which was an incredible experience. What I love most about cooking classes is that they bring you together for a few hours with likeminded people. This was once again the case at Pizza Autentico – I was in a room with likeminded people, who were all there for the joy of creating great food.”
The pizza masterclass started at 12pm on a Saturday. The group started arriving from 11:45am, most of whom hadn’t met one another before. Jonny Allen from Pizza Autentico is the ultimate host, greeting everyone on arrival and taking them to the communal table that had been transformed into a cooking station for the class. Jonny is very proud of his local business and of their product which has made the venue a popular meeting place for locals, as well as group functions and parties.
Each setting around the table had a bowl, flour, salt, water and a sheet containing a run-through of the day, and of course the all important pizza recipe. Several wine buckets were also positioned around the table. The class included a glass of wine during the ‘mis en place’ and another with lunch. There was also an unlimited wine option which many people switched too as the afternoon progressed. I’m not sure if it was peer pressure, or the fact we were having such a great time – one thing was clear, this was not going to be your average cooking class – the atmosphere was warm and everyone was there to have some fun, and of course, make dough.
“I’ve never been great at making dough or pastry for that matter. I’m not sure why but it’s a talent that doesn’t come naturally. I have been told however that I’m great at making a mess, and will all that flour in front of me, anything could happen.”
With the group assembled, it was time to begin. Jonny introduced us to Tiziano, his resident Italian chef and Surry Hills local who would be teaching us the art of making great quality pizza dough. Tiziano not only provided hands-on guidance – over the course of the masterclass he reminisced about his childhood growing up in Italy. Tiziano reminded us that cooking is about bringing people together, whether it be family or friends, preparing the food is just as important as eating it, together, at one table.
The dough making was so much fun, and for some, it required several attempts. I’m not sure if it was lack of skills or the wine consumption, either way it didn’t matter, everyone was having a great time. I’ve never laughed so much learning a new cooking skill. For those who couldn’t get their dough made in the end, Tiziano quickly whipped one up for them before taking them away to the kitchen for proofing.
The toppings then appeared on the table, and it was time to dress our pizza’s before they were taken to the waiting oven. This was another great highlight of the class, as people became intrigued by what others might be topping their dough with. We had everything from vegetarian, Italian sausage, mushroom, margarita, and triple cheese. After a quick clean down of the communal table, we all took a sit to enjoy the fruits of our labour, and of course some more wine.
The pizza’s flowed freely as we laughed the afternoon away. I’m sure Tiziano and Jonny secretly added a few of their own hand made pizza’s into the mix, but they assured us that the end product was as a result of our hard work.
If you’re looking for an authentic, educational and fun day out, I can’t recommend Pizza Autentico enough. It is also the perfect place for team building or a fabulous party with friends. You just can’t go wrong!
If you enjoyed my article on Pizza Autentico I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below with any questions you may have and I’ll get back to you very soon. Follow me on Instagram @mikeygalvin for more food stories.
As always, Bon Appétit, Mike X