Welcome to Tools of the Trade, our column that explores chef’s most indispensible kitchen tools. This week, we’re talking to Michele Iuliano, Chef at Neapolitan favorites Luzzo’s, Ovest and Da Mikele, about the kitchen device he can’t live without: a handmade pizza peel.
“I love to use this hand-made pala [peel]. For me, it represents craftmanship, dedication and passion for one’s work which, in this case, was truly a labor of love. These are the same qualities that I feel I embody when making pizza. Like the pala, my pizza is an artisinal product; a work of art and a labor of love,” Iuliano says.
The peel is handmade from pine (as opposed to alder or aluminum), which keeps it lightweight yet durable. Typically, Iuliano explains, it’s difficult to make a peel in one piece of pine without any imperfections (cracks, knots, etc.) This peel was make in two pieces, and had withstood the abuse of a very busy pizzaiolo for the past seven years.