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Black Hawk Down.


I met 9-year-old pizzaiolo Johnny Di Palma last fall during a visit to Antico Pizza Napoletana, and I knew within seconds that he was pretty much the greatest kid ever. He patrolled the kitchen in a white chef coat and red kerchief as his dad, owner Giovanni, and the legendary Enrico Liberato slid masterpieces into 1,000-degree ovens for a 60-second journey to culinary bliss.

At one point Johnny informed me that he had skipped school the previous day so he could zest lemons. Said zest would be used in the filling for their homemade cannolis. I'm not sure if he was serious -- it seems improbable -- but it was delivered completely deadpan. He later showed off his truancy in the form of a selection of top-shelf pastry tubes. When paying he made it very clear to Luca Varuni that these were ON THE HOUSE. Subsequent field reports have Johnny wielding a custom-made lightsaber in the kitchen. I'd expect nothing less.

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