Trapizzino USA 00:00
You must know that food in Italy is a real big deal. We always say it’s like religion.

The chefs at Trapizzino are cooking up history lessons. Paul Pansera and Stefano Callegari infuse their original trapizzinos and pizza bianco with flavors crafted from old-world Roman recipes. But their dishes aren’t dull textbooks, the duo’s restaurant on Orchard Street recently caught good looks from the likes of Action Bronson and Mario Batali.

CONVICTS caught up with Paul and Stefano to get their word on storytelling through food, the similarity between New York and ancient Rome, and their mission to share ancient tastes with the modern world.

CONVICTS

How’s it going, gentlemen? To start, can you tell us your names.

STEFANO

My name is Stefano Callegari.

PAUL

And my name is Paul Pansera.

CONVICTS

And where are you from?

STEFANO

I’m from Rome, Italy.

PAUL

Yeah, both of us, we come from Rome.

CONVICTS

What was life like growing up in Rome? Especially in terms of food and baking?

STEFANO

We grew up with food, with bakers, with pizza bianco, with rolls. It used to be quite normal to see bakers every corner of the city.

CONVICTS

When did you guys first start the Trapizzino concept?

STEFANO

Something like nine years ago. Roman food was almost disappearing. So I thought ‘Okay, something nice can be done with old fashioned recipes from Rome, from Italy.’ It works.

CONVICTS

Sounds like it. Talk about the place food holds in Italian culture?

STEFANO

You must know that food in Italy is a really big deal. We always say it’s like religion. We’re always talking about food. We got this oxtail recipe that no one knows how old it is. maybe a thousand years that we’ve made oxtail like that, with lots of celery. Same with the way we still cook, it’s got an energy, a power, a very strong power. And when you eat-we don’t say sandwich-but when you eat a trapizzino with oxtail, you’re not just eating something good, but there’s a story inside and that’s very nice, and people can tell this.

New York is like Rome 2000 years ago.
CONVICTS

Talk about the oxtail a bit?

STEFANO

The flavor of the oxtail is like it comes from the center of the earth, because there’s something really ancient, something strong, but wonderful because it’s-I can say opulent- because it’s something, textual, strong.

CONVICTS

That sounds amazing. Can you travel with the sauces?

STEFANO

Secret. I have to hide it.

CONVICTS

Switching gears a bit, talk about the drive for founding Trapizzino?

PAUL

We didn’t really start this for the business. It was for a mission. Nobody wants to cook very long and do hard work, everybody chose to do business with food by doing something fast and quicker, that’s easy to sell. This food takes long to prepare, some of the longest preparation you can choose to do. It’s so good and nobody wants to do it because it’s hard work, so it’s what we decided to do. And we love the food and the history it has.

CONVICTS

Talk about this ‘mission?’

PAUL

The mission is for everybody to eat something with history, to eat the real food we do in Rome, from the same family recipe that’s one hundred years old. We’re gonna do that same thing in the United States and all over the world.

This food has strong identity, because it tells you about Rome, about Italy.
CONVICTS

Tell us about New York, the United States. What do you guys think of New York?

STEFANO

New York is like Rome 2000 years ago.

PAUL

It’s our second city.

CONVICTS

What has been the response to Trapizzino from the city?

STEFANO

New Yorkers pay a lot of attention to how you cook, what you use, and they really care about the identity. This food has strong identity, because it tells you about Rome, about Italy.

CONVICTS

What’s the most important thing about your food?

PAUL

Eating it.

CONVICTS

I saw you guys met with Mario Batali and Action Bronson? Did they like your food?

STEFANO

Yeah, really much.

PAUL

They were surprised.

CONVICTS

They’re good guys to have on your side. Have you had Mario Batali’s cooking?

STEFANO

Once, but I know he’s the best.

CONVICTS

What about Action Bronson? Have you tasted his food?

STEFANO

I like his songs. and the videos, they’re very funny. It’s great. I don’t know about his food because I just saw it on TV, but I think he’s great.

PAUL

We will ask him to cook together, maybe.

CONVICTS

Right on, gentlemen. Thanks for the chat and best of luck with everything.