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When Candace Nelson met Daniele Uditi at a friend’s pizza party, she immediately knew she had found something special.
As the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Nelson and her husband “had no intention of going back into the food business. We thought, ‘Okay, moving onto something new.’ Then we met Daniele and it was, like, ‘Back in.'”
The two paired to open Pizzana, a Los Angeles restaurant combining Uditi’s pizza expertise and Nelson’s bakery background, with Nelson as the owner and executive pastry chef.
“Daniele is really this true artist, he has such a gift with food and such a gift with pizza,” Nelson said. “Sprinkles was really all about doing one thing and doing it really well, and I think the same applies here at Pizzana. I mean, really, the star of the show, 100 percent, is the pizza.”
Uditi moved from Italy to Los Angeles in 2010, having grown up in a family of bakers and chefs. He mixes Pizzana’s pizza dough by hand and leaves it to ferment for 48 hours. The chef’s goal is to make “a pizza that’s super-light, like when you eat it, you still want to eat something else.”
Pizzana has worked to create a “neo-neapolitan” dish so that the ingredients don’t just fall off the loaded slide as soon as someone picks it up, something Uditi hates and has worked to fix with his own pizzas. He served his signature Corbarina pizza, loaded with squash, burrata and tomatoes that he has imported from Italy, to The Hollywood Reporter. Nelson, who prepared a pumpkin spice budino for THR, is in charge of the restaurant’s dessert menu, which also features Sprinkles ice cream.
“This has got to be the best pizza anyone has eaten. The goal with Pizzana was to have a very successful neighborhood restaurant, and that is why we always need to keep the menu fresh,” Nelson said. “Daniele really was a master at translating this centuries-old creation into something that Americans would love even more.”
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