They may be short of ways of making some dough but recession-hit Italians are reportedly reluctant to become pizza makers because of long hours and average pay.
The country is short of about 6,000 ‘pizzaioili’ to deal with the nation’s insatiable hunger for a lunch-time slice, according to the Italian business federation.
‘Notwithstanding the economic crisis and unemployment, it is proving difficult to find them,’ it said.
Italians in cities such as Rome, Milan and Turin are avoiding sweating over ovens and preparing dough despite the long-term recession and youth unemployment reaching about 35 per cent.
Alessandro Rossi, who runs a pizzeria in Rome, said: ‘The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating, it is a manual labour job. Young Italians want to own 40,000 euro cars and wear nice clothes but they are not prepared to work for it.’
Instead, immigrants have filled the gap and are happy to help produce the three billion pizzas scoffed in Italy each year.
Filipinos, Arabs and especially Egyptians have been able to carve themselves a slice of the action in many big city restaurants and takeaways.
About 100 Egyptians are training to be pizza makers each year.
Cairo-born Amadeo Al-Wikel, who owns another pizzeria near Rome’s Trevi Fountain, said: ‘We are good at it because we are prepared to work hard. Italians, in contrast, want a nice comfortable office job where they can work six hours a day, five days a week, in air-conditioning. They’re not prepared to work 10, 12 hours a day.’
David Mandolin, the head of the Italian School for Pizza Makers, said: ‘To make a good pizza, it needs to be crunchy but also digestible. Not everyone can do that, but the Egyptians can.’