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Top Chef: Nicola Marchetti

Twice a month, we shine a spotlight on our favourite chefs in the city. This time Nicola Marchetti of Zerostress Pizza gives us his take on owning one of the more popular pizza places in Berlin.

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For Nicola Marchetti making pizza was a way to live a punk lifestyle, be with friends and travel around Europe. His Zerostress Pizza started as a food truck, driven by a group of friends selling slices at music festivals. They went to 10 countries in total and then, last September, Zerostress Pizza settled down at an actual, static location in Friedrichshain. Having a physical space means regular working hours and less room for flexibility, but for Marchetti it’s worth it to create a community around his pizza. He offers delicious pizza by the artfully crafted slice, from a vegan cheese and potato to mozzarella and bacon, and everyone is raving about it. It’s real Italian pizza handmade and served by punks.

What’s the food trend you hate the most?

Radical veganism. I don’t like when people are too radical in general, and this vegan attitude, started by people who were conscious about what is going on, has become a hipster trend. It’s cool to eat these products that are super expensive, without necessarily knowing where they came from. The prices are out of control, the branding, it’s too much at the moment.

We should always think about what we eat, and care about what we eat and think about the impact on the environment. But that is different than becoming a Nazi vegan.

The best-selling item at your restaurant?

Pizza with mozzarella, pumpkin, rosemary and gorgonzola. It’s a white pizza and people really love it. It doesn’t matter if pumpkin is in season or not, they want this pizza.

A cooking tip…

Take your time. Every cooking process has timing. If you want to take shortcuts, you will not make good food. It takes 48-hours to make pizza dough and you need the time for that. The ingredients are important but the knowledge and care of the cook is super important too. You can have incredible ingredients, you can go to the big companies and buy the best things ever, spend a lot and never really concentrate on the dish. You have to concentrate on doing it otherwise you will never have a good product.

A dining tip (other than your own restaurant)…

I am passionate about having breakfast in Berlin. I am more into morning things than night things, but maybe because I spend most of my time at night working. I often have breakfast at Aunt Benny in Friedrichshain and it’s a very high quality product. Sometimes, I eat sushi at Rice In. I have to be very motivated to get out of Friedrichshain, so I might not know about as many restaurants in the city (laughs).

The best thing about having a restaurant in Berlin?

It’s amazing because I feel completely at home in the place. It’s always about finding a balance between what you want to do and what your environment demands, but when you find it, it’s beautiful.

It’s also nice because it’s a cross cultural place, both by country and by subculture. We have collected people from really underground cultures, but then also children love us and lots of other kinds of people. In our place you can find the punk with three dogs and then also a family with children and that’s amazing. That’s the point actually. We need this melting, this fusion.

The worst…

It’s too soon. I can’t say yet,  it’s only been one year and we are a baby. We fall down, we stand back up, we cry, we laugh. Sometimes we have money, sometimes not, but in the end everything is fine.

We are all friends and sometimes it’s not easy to work together. Sometimes you need to make decisions that are weird between friends but, we chose to work in a friend crew, so that’s part of it. It’s part of the love.

Zerostress Pizza, Colbestraße 3, Friedrichshain, U-Bhf Samariterstraße, Facebook