MiraMare Ristorante in Naples, Florida seemed destined to hire a Neapolitan pizza chef. It was obvious to anyone who travelled to the city. Salvatore Sinzeri earned his restaurant pedigree in New York and as a proud Sicilian, he understood good food from that part of the world. When Sinzeri took his restaurant management expertise and menu ideas to Florida, he wanted chefs whose passion and authenticity was genetic. He looked no further than Vincenzo and Domenico Foraggio. He states, “Their product was typically and originally Italian, difficult to compete with, the real Neapolitan pizza. I spent almost all my entire life in Manhattan as a restaurant manager. I’ve had many experiences over the years as I have been in this business since I was 16 years old Having worked in international companies such as BICE, Italian restaurant, and others…I know great food. I also know that being a chef is more than learning how to cook. You must love it, deep in your heart. Family is everything and here I was presented with the opportunity to work with two amazing chefs that were family to each other. Any father and son understands the deep bond and I knew all of this would work well for my MiraMare Ristorante.” The setting of MiraMare is just as beautiful as one would expect for Florida and the Foraggios created a menu with Salvatore that would be every bit its equal. MiraMare’s location directly off the water and beautiful patio on the ocean produced dolphins which entertained guests in a magnificent spectacle between Ocean and Nature. The amazing food coupled with this dream like atmosphere instantly made MiraMare a buzz restaurant.
Accolades from restaurant critics and public alike soon resulted in Fox TV recognizing MiraMare for the “Best Neapolitan Pizza.” In an altruistic response, MiraMare focused the recognition into a fundraiser for a local school. Domenico’s personality and ease with the public made him the natural choice as MiraMare’s on camera representative and chef. Domenico explains, “MiraMare Ristorante became a quick favorite of so many food critics. We were very happy to receive so much praise and when Fox TV contacted us about the award, we felt that we could do something good for someone else at the same time. I’ve always had a cheery and sociable disposition but early on, my English wasn’t that great. I admit that in my early time at MiraMare I was insecure about it and was a bit stand-offish. We had a great multicultural staff at MiraMare and I learned that I wasn’t being judged for my language skills at the same time I was working to improve them. I must say, our patrons and the people of Florida that I met have always been so welcoming and warm that it was easy to speak with them. They would ask to congratulate me on the pizza and helped to fill me with confidence. I love connecting with people and laughing and feel so fortunate about the experience. A part of the profession that is learned over the years is that hard work, sacrifice, and passion make you feel proud of what you are and what you do, communicating with people when you receive compliments... well, that is your reward.” He continues stating, “Where I come from in Naples, Italy there is a community of Latin people called the Spanish Quarter. I learned the basics of Spanish there when I was younger. When I went to Fox to film, it was very easy for me because at times I did not speak English with them but rather Spanish. Here I was in America speaking Spanish and English while making Italian food…such an international experience!”
Domenico’s enthusiasm and banter on set proved that MiraMare had made a wise decision sending his as their emissary. Food cannot be tasted on camera, only described. While the reaction of the children and experts on the production was intensely communicated, the audience was most receptive to the personality and positivity of Domenico. That original passion and familial sense was evident in Foraggio. He lives for Pizza Napoletana; Americans love pizza so, by proxy…they fell in love with Domenico. Foraggio remarks, “It’s always interesting that when you try to do something for someone else, you end up receiving yourself. We had about three hundred children at the fundraising event that day. There were cameras and experts…I was there just having fun and speaking about my passion for cooking this pizza. I'm from Naples, Italy and there, the pizza is not just a dish. The pizza is a devotion for us Neapolitans. We’ve eaten our pizza for over 200 years! We love it. My family story is in this food. Being a pizza maker and a Neapolitan guy is one of my greatest fortunes in life. This passion gave me a dignified and professional life, as well as the chance to travel and broaden the Neapolitan cuisine in the world. I think the Neapolitan cuisine is one of the most elegant, healthy, and tasty in the world. Our pizza is unique but little-publicized. I consider myself Domenico Foraggio, Ambassador of Pizza Napoletana in America.