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In focus

Is there such a thing as British pizza?

If you can have a Neapolitan, New York or Tokyo pizza, why not a classic piece of pie from Glasgow, Huddersfield or Manchester? As a Chiswick restaurateur is crowned Pizza Maker of the Year, Clare Finney speaks to the foodies adding a slice of life to the British pizza scene

Friday 22 September 2023 11:06 BST
Prize-winning pizza: Napoli on the Road in Chiswick won the prestigious Global Pizza Maker of the Year 2023
Prize-winning pizza: Napoli on the Road in Chiswick won the prestigious Global Pizza Maker of the Year 2023 (Supplied)

In 2011 in Covent Garden, the then indefatigable Jamie Oliver launched his latest restaurant, Union Jacks, with the aim of creating a British breed of pizza. “Did he really need to?” asked Lisa Markwell in this very paper. Oliver had rebranded them as “flats” and unsuccessfully topped them with an array of British produce, including Lincolnshire Poacher cheddar, wild mushrooms, Old Spot pig, quince, Bramley apples and Colston Bassett stilton.

“Pizza doesn’t need reinventing, being one of the world’s most loved, perfectly assembled dishes,” the review continued. Fast forward 12 years, and not everything’s changed. Jamie Oliver is still opening a restaurant in central London; pizza is still one of the world’s favourite foods. But the concept of British pizza, once a contradiction in terms, is no longer as preposterous as it once was.

On the contrary, it is bang on trend. Just this week, Michele Pascarella, founder of Napoli on the Road in Chiswick, won the illustrious Global Pizza Maker of the Year 2023. His menu includes a “Cheesewick” made with cherry tomato ham and dry blue stilton. “Winning the global title of Pizza Maker of the Year is a dream come true for me, but the award is also about putting British pizza on the global map,” he tells The Independent.

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