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Half the enjoyment of eating at Seventh Hill Pizza, a Best of D.C. award winner this year, is watching pizzaiolo Anthony Pilla at work. During my most recent visit this weekend, I briefly chatted with Pilla over the counter at the Capitol Hill pizzeria, as he bounced around the prep area, forming dough and putting the finishing touches on pizzas and Nutella dessert calzones.
He’s originally from Cleveland, he told me. At one point, he considered a career in advertising, but once he got a taste of true Italian pizza-making, at a pizzeria in his hometown, he turned his back on the world of Mad Men forever. He even traveled to Naples to better understand his subject and, four months later, became a certified pizzaiolo.
As you can see in this video, Pilla delivers his hard-earned knowledge with considerable flair. He even, on occasion in the workplace, breaks out a few Italian phrases, delivered in an accent that cleverly disguises his Midwestern roots.