For chef Franco Malgioglio, the secret to making a great pizza is passion.
“That’s my motto – it’s all about passion and I love making pizzas,” Franco told Newcastle Live.
For the past seven months or so, Franco has been playing his trade at Fire & Stone Pizzeria at Wests City (the old Newcastle Panthers for the uninitiated) and he is well and truly bringing that passion to the plate.
“I have that passion and I give the other staff the passion to make the pizzas – when I’m not here the same passion needs to be there,” Franco said.
“It originated about 22 years ago back in Sydney. I’m a pastry cook, baker and gelato maker by trade and then I became a woodfire pizza maker and just loved it from day one – the passion just keeps going.
Fire & Stone is a traditional Italian woodfire pizzeria that serves two types of pizza – traditional Italian (such as Capricciosa, Margherita and Catania – roast potato, pork fennel mince, Spanish Onions, Fior Di Latte and Rosemary) and Australian style (think the likes of Hawaiian, Vegorama and Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom).
Franco added that great care was taken in the preparation of the pizzas admitting: ‘The pizza also looks good – it not only tastes good it’s got an eye about it. We don’t just slop things on top.”
When it comes to the bases Franco said that great care was also taken in the creation of these pizza foundations.
“Our dough goes through a 24 to 48 hour levitation process, with very minimal yeast so it becomes very light,” he said.
“As a result, our bases are a little bit crispy, a little bit soft and we have nice aerated borders around the pizza.”
Fire & Stone are also home to a very impressive and eye-catching woodfire oven that Franco said was sourced from Milan.
“It’s a Marana oven which is a rotating oven one of the top-of-the-top ovens that you get from up north in Milano,” he said.
“It’s got a rotating base and it’s got something called “su e giù” which means “up and down” so the base can go up to get more heat if you need to cook the pizza quicker. It’s one of the best ovens going around – it’s state-of-the-art.”
Franco added that red hardwood is used in the oven due to its appealing aroma and flavour and the way it maintains the heat.
He said that since taking the reins at Fire & Stone, many of the pizzas from the original menu remain while introducing some of Franco’s personal favourites.
“I’ve introduced the lamb pizza, the Quattro Formaggi, which is the four cheese pizza, the Diavola which is the spicy pizza and one that is very popular in Italy which is potato and pork sausage mince.”
To make things even more appealing, Fire & Stone also offers half-price pizzas when you order, either dine in or take away between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.
Franco was quick to point out that that same passion for quality does not diminish during those hours.
“It doesn’t matter if you order a pizza at 3.30pm or 9.30pm – you are going to get the same pizza with the same top-quality ingredients.”
Fire & Stone Pizzeria is located at Wests City (309 King St, Newcastle West)
Open 5 days | Wednesday to Sunday from 3:00pm – 10:00pm