Michele Iuliano – The Man behind the Oven
Family, friendship, tradition and authenticity. These are the words that perfectly describe Michele Iuliano as well as the feeling you have while dining at any one of his restaurants in New York City. Born in Naples, Michele was raised in Italy surrounded by his amazing family – especially his mother and grandmother who ran a local bakery. This is where Michele’s journey to becoming a top Executive Pizzaiolo began. As a child Michele would spend hours at his families bakery. At times even falling asleep on the large flour bags in the early morning hours while his mother began baking before the store opened. Under the watchful eye of his mother this was the place where his love of cooking and passion for bread began.
Over the years Michele has mastered the perfect dough, which is the foundation for truly authentic Napoli style pizza. Armed with a passion for food and his knowledge of baking Michele moved to New York City in 2001 with a dream of opening a truly authentic Neapolitan style restaurant. The dream was realized in 2004 when Michele opened Luzzo’s in the heart of the East Village. Luzzo’s creates their amazing hand crafted Napoli style pizza and bakes them in one of the of the few remaining coal ovens in New York City. The 120 year-old ovens bring together to absolute perfection his carefully chosen ingredients that are all imported from his native Italy.
Since opening Michele has received many awards and accolades regarding his pizza as well as some media outlets calling it the best pizza in New York City. With the success of Luzzo’s, Michele has opened two other restaurants in New York – Ovest located in Chelsea opened in 2010 and then DaMikele in Tribeca in 2011. At the end of the day the most important thing to Michele is that he stays true to his values. This goes for his everyday life as well as his restaurants. If you were to ask Michele if he feels successful he would tell you this: “For me, it’s never been about money or popularity. It’s just about my passion for food, especially pizza and bread”.