Ciro Papandrea. A renowned training school, pastry shops, sweet catering and new exciting collaborations, for a growing brand that bears the signature of two entrepreneurs and a pastry chef, young, enterprising and with a great desire to get involved.
Pica Milano was born from the union of the creative flair of the maître pâtissier Massimo Pica and the entrepreneurial and cosmopolitan spirit of Grace Hypolite , who together with her husband Ciro Papandrea, former entrepreneur in the world of coffee, embraced the colorful and greedy world of desserts of the young man and promising pastry chef from Campania, to give life to a new way of conceiving fine pastry. Modern pastry, as it is defined: because, unlike the classic one, it experiments with different bases from traditional doughs and dares to combine daring flavors and textures, combined with a design that makes the elements more similar to contemporary sculptures than to the classic sweets of sponge cake, shortcrust pastry and other traditional compounds give way to Bavarians, mousses, ganaches, decorated with shiny glazes, fruit, chocolate, in arrangements that strike the eye even before the palate.
The first store was opened in 2015 in Milan in via Ozanam, piazza Lima. A year later, the laboratory already present in via Fortezza is joined by Pica Pastry School , a training school which, thanks to the commitment and skills of the master and the presence of various international figures, quickly becomes the focal point of pastry training in Italy and abroad.
Together with the three-month professional training course, the school offers a varied range of individual courses for enthusiasts and professionals. Since its foundation, Pica Pastry School has hosted more than fifty teachers among the most important names in international pastry, among which prominent names such as Rolando and Francesco Morandin, Antonio Bachour, Johan Martin, Emmanuele Forcone, Loretta Fanella. After having ranked first at Sigep 2020 , winning the jury in the chocolate category, the Pica Milano team has been admitted to the Italian National team at the next Pastry World Cup, which will be held in Lyon in January 2021.
Chef Pica tells us about his passion for the world of desserts, I imagine it began when a child, but when did the desire to make it become a profession triggered in her?
“Mess in the kitchen since I was little, the natural evolution was to study as a cook and, immediately after, to start working as a chef. The choice to give myself to the pastry art was a shock: I started by chance, giving a hand to a friend who had already chosen this path. It was supposed to be a temporary help, but then … I fell in love! From there I started, driven by a thirst for knowledge that has not yet been exhausted, a specialization path with specific courses, in-depth studies, experiments… which I still continue to nurture ”.
While what pushed you to settle down and grow your business by starting in Milan?
“Milan is a bit, as far as Italy is concerned, a nerve center: a place where if you want to reach a goal, you can really do it. I have never worked near home since the early years of the hospitality industry, I already had this curiosity to escape, to deal with people and habits far from my territory. If I hadn’t chosen Milan, I would have emigrated to London or New York ”.
We are all returning from a particular period, you have continued to create sweets for your customers, have you noticed a return to comfort, that is to the sweets that our grandmothers prepared, as if to give certainty that everything would be fine?
“At that time we created Sorriso, a leavened cake with semi-candied peach and almond icing: a cuddle that actually recalls flavors of the past and home. It was very much appreciated ”.
How did the idea of a dessert come about? From an experience? A memory?
“First of all from a deep knowledge of raw materials, then the inspiration comes from everything that surrounds you: from the taste suddenly perceived in a dish, during a dinner with friends: from the color, the shape of the shoes; a particular drink… for example from my favorite drink, a non-alcoholic coconut and strawberries, Summer was born “.
Your flagship dessert?
“Surely… there are two: the trilogy and the Mediterranean, both modern pastry cakes. The first is chocolate with cocoa biscuit, dark mousse, white chocolate Bavarian cream, milk chocolate mousse, glossy mirror glaze and chocolate decorations. The other is a combination of pistachio, strawberry and lime with Breton sablè, pistachio mousse, strawberry gelee, soft pistachio biscuit, whipped lime ganache, mirror glass and chocolate decorations “.
Your favorite creation?
“Panettone, because the satisfactions that an excellent panettone gives you, being able to make a panettone in a workmanlike manner, is not the same as any other creation. It is a living product, which you nourish and follow step by step in all its work processes and see its transformation “
The next appointments of your Pastry School?
“At the moment, we are working with costum made courses, waiting to have certain times for the world championship”.
One last question, can you tell us what it means to be a member of the Italian national team at the next Pastry World Cup to be held in Lyon in 2021?
“Commitment and sacrifice, sacrifice and commitment, commitment and sacrifice… oh I forgot! Sacrifice and commitment! But also a lot, a lot of satisfaction and expectation “. The possibility of a considerable professional growth “.
Pica Pastry School
Via Fortezza, 13
Pica Pasticceria via Ozanam, 7