Giulio Abussi is a professional Neapolitan Pizza trainer and co-founder at GiuNapoli, international consulting group.
Foodmakers interviewed him, enjoy the reading!
Hi Giulio! First of all, where were you born and where do you currently live?
I was born in Naples, Italy in May 1989 and I am currently back here as a result of the global pandemic. Before covid, Naples has been for me the place where, for years, I was able to pack my suitcase before taking off.
Since 2015 you have been a AVPN certified pizzamaker. Where did this passion begin and what led you to receive such a prestigious credential?
I begin my journey in 2009 when I started collaborating with AVPN as an English interpreter and administrator for their educational courses. The numerous simultaneous translation I handled allowed me to observe the different methods of dozens of Neapolitan pizza veterans and, as a result, I acquired a lot of theoretical knowledge on preparation procedures and ingredients. Four years later, I left for Sydney to start working in a pizzeria where, with great surprise, I realized that my arsenal of theoretical knowledge allowed me to work the desk and the oven in an extremely natural way. Everything else just fell into place. After a year in Sydney, I certified My first pizzeria (in the same year I entered the AVPN certified pizza maker registry) and in 2016 I left for Florida, US. Here I had the opportunity to promote myself as a Neapolitan pizza maker and really understand the market as I was planning for a future return in the USA. Three months later I left for Anguilla, a spectacular island of the Caribbean, where I was able to certify my second AVPN pizzeria in two months, the only AVPN certified business of the region.
In the last weeks of this adventure, I was invited to move to Amsterdam where I was able to successfully complete a new staff training project, with this the Netherlands finally saw their first certified pizza restaurant!
When I returned in Naples, AVPN promoted me to the instructor level and I realized that this was the start of something good.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, how has the world of pizza changed in the past ten years (based on your experience)?
It is a world that has evolved very fast, both from a technical and entrepreneurial perspective. What I can say on the entrepreneurial aspect is the fact that the virtual look of a business is now extremely important. It is vital in this era to be present on social media without compromising the on-site service, the customer service and obviously, the product you present to your clientele. From a technical standpoint I have to say that now, aside from true Neapolitan pizza, we have witnessed the introduction of a few variations that have been welcomed with great popularity, especially on social media.
You have a number of experiences, some of these in foreign countries. Could you tell us which one meant the most to you?
My professional journey was largely developed abroad. What I shared is just the beginning of my story. The experiences that had real impact of what I do were the ones working side to side with the big names of Neapolitan pizza. I had the absolute honor of working next to Guglielmo Vuolo (Verona), Ciro Salvo (London), Salvatore De Rinaldi (Naples). They are the ones that truly revolutionized my way of seeing and interpreting pizza Napoletana. I knew I was doing great work when in 2019, during a work collaboration in Trento, my pizzeria entered the “Pizzerie d’Italia” book certified by Gambero Rosso.
You are co-founder at GiuNapoli. What is it about?
Our main goal is to offer on-site consulting services with business start-ups or staff training for pizzerias, with a high focus on the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza. GiuNapoli will provide recommendations on everything that you may need to start your business with the best suppliers’ recommendation and by focusing on properly training your team. Something else that I’m proud to report is that Covid never scared us! GiuNapoli started a project totally dedicated to virtual educational courses: 6 day online courses, 3 hours a day, where is possible for a client to acquire the technical skills they will need to produce a high-quality product, even remotely. Courses are delivered on Zoom in Italian or in English and they are complemented by a customer service that is truly around the clock. GiuNapoli is young but has had an impact on the online world of pizza that we were not expecting.
You mentioned that GiuNapoli has had an important impact on the online pizza world. What did you mean exactly?
The positive impact of GiuNapoli and our courses has certainly been fostered by the historical times we are living in. Online education has become a reality and our virtual courses are engineered in a way to ensure our clientele will not miss any steps, the courses are all one-on-one or with people in the same circle to guarantee the best results and the highest level of learning. We are absolutely stunned by the support of our partners who have believed and promoted our project. We have virtually taught pizza makers in Norway, United States, Greece, Venezuela, etc. Some of our clients are ready to open pizza businesses. Another important aspect of GiuNapoli is our presence in online communities and forums where, at no cost, we guide all pizza enthusiasts to the preparation of a better product and help them choose appliances, ingredients and practices that best fit traditional Neapolitan pizza making.
What are the values that a personal trainer of Pizza Napoletana need to acquire and pass on?
I believe in unconditional love for your work, the constant research of a better product day after day and most importantly, in the support you get by other professionals in the field.
I believe I was able to leave my students some good memories because what I teach carries neither secrets nor jealousy. This is the key of my teaching. My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing my students opening up businesses in Chile, Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Brasil or Korea and see them getting AVPN certified.
What are your future projects?
We truly believe in virtual communication and bringing people together with the art of Neapolitan pizza making. To this purpose, you will see us use our favorite hashtag “#pizzaunites” on Instagram. We will continue doing our best to make this happen virtually for now though we know we will start flying again soon!