Between an international certification (AVPN), a first branch abroad, in Lyon, and a now full range of excellent deli meats made in Quebec, the Pizzéria NO.900 chain has had a lot to celebrate in recent months. We took stock with its executive chef, Mirko D’Agata.

When we met him at the Boisbriand branch, the pizza maker had just arrived from Lyon, where a NO.900 had just lit his oven in a superb vaulted room in the heart of a very central district of the gastronomic capital. The native of Turin, Italy, seemed very happy with this expansion on the Old Continent, but nevertheless a little nervous, especially since there is talk of one day opening NO.900 in his mother country.

Arrived in Quebec in 2012 to work at Bottega Laval, Mirko D’Agata continued to hone his skills as a pizza maker in the Nordic countries. One of the first things that impressed him in his adopted land was the quality of pork. He quickly saw a potential for deli meats. Eleven years later, the perfectionist is happy to be able to serve prosciutto, speck and several other 100% Quebec pork products in his restaurants.

It is with Biological Meats of Charlevoix that the executive chef of NO.900 (and his little brother, Morso, who specializes in Roman pizza) has developed all the deli meats. These are now found on the trays and pizzas of the 28 branches of the chain dedicated to Neapolitan pizza and in the 2 (soon to be 4) Morso.

“The speck, we got it right the first time. A friend of mine gave me his family’s recipe. In the region of Trentino-Alto Adige [in northern Italy], everyone has their own way of doing things. »

The prosciutto was a little more complicated. “Damien [Girard, founder of Biological Meats of Charlevoix] was already making a very good 12-14 month old prosciutto. But I wanted a little more aging, around 18 months, for a deeper, nuttier taste, well defined in the flavors. The tests are long because you have to wait each time. You can’t cheat. From prosciutto, the NO.900 channel passes 3,500 thighs a year! All branches should have the “in-house” version within a few weeks.

Other products that will be on your charcuterie board are a well-fenneled salame and ventricina, a tasty Abruzzo salami with a slight spiciness, which contains three varieties of peppers. Pancetta is also used in pizzas. As for the cooked ham, it comes rather from the Gaspor farm.

Along with this development of local products, Pizzeria No.900 recently received certification from the Association of Genuine Neapolitan Pizza (AVPN). It becomes the first pizzeria in Quebec and the first chain in the world to be crowned with this seal of authenticity. Mirko D’Agata even became head of the Canadian delegation of the AVPN, in order to promote Neapolitan pizza in Canada.

“What is certified is the method but also the margherita and marinara pizzas,” explains Mirko D’Agata. The four basic ingredients of these pizzas must absolutely be Italian: flour, cheese, olive oil and tomatoes. The inspectors also judge all sorts of other details, such as the schiafo napolitano [the display], also called slap in English, the temperature of the dough before baking, etc. »

In terms of North-South balance, local alongside quality imports, Pizzeria NO.900 sets an example!