When you find yourself, that’s when you can find greatness. Many of us have to search to find that but for Italian Domenico Foraggio it has always been right next to him. That doesn’t mean that it came easy, simply that it was accessible. As a pizza chef, Foraggio has made a lasting mark on several different communities with his masterful approach to Pizza Napoletana. Fresh flavor, traditional Italian method, and Foraggio’s big personality all contribute to making each restaurant a success; something which is the result of Domenico’s guide to creating greatness in pizza.

While exceptional abilities can be mastered through time and dedication, it would seem that greatness is often bred and then sculpted. This definitely applies to Domenico’s life as a pizza chef. From an early age he was attracted to the magnificent job that his father did. The action and the adrenaline of a completely full restaurant were every day occurrences at the Foraggio home. The passion and the love that engaged his parents was priceless, a perfect image of a united family working in harmony and happiness. It was this vison of life and family has that gave Domenico the desire to do this work as a pizza chef. It was a romantic and enticing vision.

The motivation that drives him in his career is due to this example of work and family. When you work for a long time in a restaurant, you begin to imagine those around you like a big family. Like his father and his father’s father, the youngest Foraggio pursued education of a chef and then began to work in the family business once he was ready. He recalls, “As soon as I finished the studies, my father decided to open a new pizzeria with me. I was very young and the fact that my father gave me all this confidence and responsibility…it really made me feel important, even compared to my peers. I think that was the exact moment that I began to love this job. I say start because this feeling is acquired with time, with memories, with the sacrifices that a person does every day, with good days and bad days, with bad and beautiful adventures with friends you meet in the long process of formation.”

This passion is tempered with education, followed by experience; lots and lots of experience. Domenico followed the tradition of his family but picked up his own style of implementing things in this modern age. He relates, “When I cook I feel well made. When I cook I think that’s my way. It makes me feel happy to be at the center of a system where people, employees, and managers are intertwined, communicating and working with one objective. A cook for a restaurant is like being the captain of a football team, if you are good your team wins. This is my job. Everyone believes in you and your product and it’s from there that I find the strength to be among the first Pizza chefs in the world. I have to always be thinking about what is best. My father was very strict in the beginning about never changing the family recipe but with travel and the new games available in the various restaurants and cultures, you buy into a different way of thinking and acting. When you face different types of markets in your travels, a good chef must also be able to adapt a little in order to satisfy even the typical local tastes. In the course of my life it has happened many times.” He continues, “Every time we create a dish, my staff and I always try to create more and more originality. If you want to grow as well as please people, you have to combine Italian products with local and traditional products. For example, I once created a pizza, called ‘Good Morning.’ This Pizza consisted of: a base of Neapolitan dough, eggs, asparagus, mozzarella, bacon, salt, and black pepper. This pizza would be totally impossible to sell in Italy but, in Santa Barbara, it was an incredible success. The kitchen is peace and love. You have to please everyone. If you are good enough to please them in your own way, then you are truly successful.”

Proof of the success for Domenico came in many forms. A full house of consistently loyal and avid patrons is likely the most meaningful. It’s this sense of home that Foraggio carries with him from his native Italy and one which he hopes to bestow on the US. In a statement that reinforces the view Americans have of their own country and emotions, Domenico confirms, “I believe that everyone wants to pursue the American dream. I grew up watching American TV series. A love for America has been in me since I was very small. The timeless myths of American places like: Las Vegas, Hollywood, Los Angeles…for Europeans, every time we hear these words we feel emotions. Our eyes begin to open up dramatically, followed by a loud sigh of hope, with the famous words, ‘One day I will go there.’ I love America because it is a country that measures the people for what they are worth and not for who their parents are. America is the most suitable place if you are good at what you do because it is the people who decide. America gives you the opportunity to be at the best at what you do. There are no recommendations, the respect and gratitude are won with your own sweat. I cannot imagine a more satisfying place to be than America.”