Hello there! My name is Alfonso Pepe and I have one great passion: pastry and desserts! I have one single aim in life: to tell people about where I was born and where I grew up!
I was born on a warm sunny day in June 1965 in a place called Sant’Egidio del Monte Albino, in a quiet rural area at the feet of the Lattari Mountains. At that time babies were still delivered at home, and so was I!
From my early infancy I had close contact with the land. My mother would take me with her while working in the fields. Hard work it was too. This is why the flavours, the scents and the colours of this land are in my blood. Our vegetable garden is still the place I love to be above all others.
my PASTRY concept
As I often say, tradition is an integral part of my idea of pastry, together with passion, experience and the continual search for quality. My first approach to the world of pastry was very early indeed, when, as a boy, I used to spend summer in my uncle’s bakery in Ascea Marina, a town further to the south in Cilento.
I then started working in patisseries in my home area, working on traditional desserts: mainly babà and sfogliatella. To this day, traditional Neapolitan desserts are my speciality. What distinguishes me from others, is perhaps the ability to combine passion and knowledge to discover a new take on tradition, to present innovative and quality creations.
my FAMILY, my EVERYTHING
Even though the world of pastry leaves little time for anything else, I always try to be as present as possible as a father and husband. Luckily, when I participate in important events, Teresa, my wife, comes with me. Her positive energy is a point of reference for me, a safe port in a storm, if you will. My children, Maria e Francesco, both study at university, however, Francesco is always willing to lend a hand in the laboratory, especially at weekends, when we are busy satisfying customers who are looking for the right amount of sweetness.
My siblings are my alter ego in every aspect! My relationship with Anna, Giuseppe and Prisco is based on trust and respect as well as strong family ties. My dream of opening “Pasticceria Pepe” became reality about thirty years ago, and since then, with hard work, our little patisserie has grown into what is today’s “Pepe Mastro Dolciere - Food & Drink”, a new, state of the art location of about 200 square meters, in our home town of Sant’Egidio del Monte Albino.
If I hadn’t been so crazy about food, I very probably wouldn’t have chosen the path of a pastry chef. Preparing a cake or dessert means that you get the first taste. If I don’t like it, then I try again, I eat it again, and again, until I find the right balance of flavor, texture and aroma.
a DESSERT for ME
A dessert isn’t just a dessert, it is a ritual which gives us a chance of escaping from the world around us, even for a moment, in order to find ourselves.
I read somewhere that when people cook, they should always do so with someone specific in mind, otherwise they are just preparing food. This is exactly how I begin creating a new dessert: I think about all the people who will come to the pastry shop to taste the new arrival, who will talk about it to me and to others, to share their feelings and opinions. And perhaps they will also ask for the recipe so they can try it out at home. I have put a few recipes together for you all here. Try them, experiment a little, and above all enjoy them.
…to reach this objective, we must surely start with the raw materials.
This is something I understood on a visit to Vesuvius, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. I asked myself how I could use and incorporate one of the most characteristic of the 100 indigenous varieties of apricot grown within the confines of the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio: known as “Pellecchiella”, it is renowned for its incredible sweetness.
Or, once on a visit to Agropoli in the Cilento area, I came across a fig plantation on a hill, cooled by the sea breeze. Or while driving round my home town, Sant’Egidio, in my little Fiat 500, I discovered a garden full of tangerines, oranges and lemons right behind the thousand year old Santa Maria Maddalena in Armillis Abbey. Couldn’t these jewels be used to provided candied fruits to give spectacular flavours to my desserts?
Tutti da piccoli avevamo un sogno nel cassetto.
Io di diventare un pasticcerie e per fortuna l’ho realizzato!