National Pizza Day 2/9 and Chef Donatella Arpaia of PROVA PIZZABAR
National Pizza Day is on 2/9 and Broadwayworld.com caught up to Celebrity Chef, TV personality, restaurateur and cookbook author, Donatella Arpaia to talk about her popular NYC eatery, Prova Pizzabar.
Donatella Arpaia, is best known for her role as head judge on Food Network's Iron Chef America and the Next Iron Chef. She is a regular contributor to NBC's The Today Show where she offers her culinary expertise and mouthwatering recipes. Arpaia's distinctions include one of Crain's "40 Under 40", the "Hostess with the Mostest" by Zagat and one of the "Most Powerful Women in Manhattan" according to the New York Post.
As the child of first-generation Italian immigrants, Donatella Arpaia fondly remembers spending her summers in Italy. These early years had a formative influence on young Arpaia and provided her with the foundation for her expertise in southern Italian cuisine. After a very brief career as an attorney, Donatella decided to follow her passion and opened her first restaurant Bellini at the age of 26, which celebrated the Italian cuisine of her youth. She then partnered with Chef David Burke to open the critically acclaimed Davidburke & Donatella. This powerful duo's connection was evident by the success of the immensely popular eatery. Despite all of Donatella's accomplishments as a restaurateur, she returned to school earning Le Grand Diplôme for Classic Culinary Arts at the French Culinary Institute and the Italian Culinary Academy.
Donatella furthered her expansion by teaming up with then unknown chef Michael Psilakis as they opened a string of highly acclaimed restaurants such as Dona, Anthos, and Kefi in Manhattan as well as Eos and Bistro E in Miami. These projects and more have collectively earned substantial praises, such as Michelin Stars, Five Diamond Awards, and James Beard nominations. Donatella is a two-time winner of the New York Food & Wine Festival's Meatball Madness competition where she beat out major names in the culinary world. Donatella currently sells the same meatballs in frozen form on HSN alongside her signature line of kitchen solutions. She also designed an entire entertaining collection for Frontgate.
In 2016, Donatella debuted her first upscale quick service pizza concept, Prova Pizzabar, in Grand Central Terminal. Most recently, she opened her second location in the Moxy NYC Times Square hotel and has plans to expand the concept throughout the country. Donatella is a mom of three and wife to renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Allan Stewart.
Prova Pizzabar fans will enjoy Donatella's responses to our questions!
In a New York City where pizza eateries are so readily available, why do you think Prova Pizzabar has been a standout?
Prova Pizzabar is truly one of a kind. I created a new type of pizza - it is a hybrid of Neapolitan and Roman style pizza. Our pizza uses ancient grains from Naples plus the high water content and a dough that matures over 3 days. This is a very artisan process that results in a delicious, highly digestible dough. In addition, we use and source the best ingredients on our pizzas like Galbani Cheese, the number one cheese of Italy, ancient grains of flour from Naples and San Marzano tomatoes for our sauce."
Tell us a little about juggling your busy schedule and keeping Prova Pizzabar a priority for guests!
Juggling my busy schedule is a constant process. But, Prova Pizzabar is my baby! I am very passionate and committed to growing this into a world-class brand.
Do you have an absolute favorite pizza slice??
Hmmm hard to say, it depends on my mood! But, I love the Chicken Piccata and the Regina, which is like an amped up version of a "Margherita" slice, with Cherry Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella and topped with a little Truffle Oil! My fave!
Prova Pizzabar is located at Grand Central Terminal and the MOXY NYC. For more information, please visit: https://provapizzabar.com/.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Donatella Arpaia and Prova Pizzabar