As a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., pizza was one of the first foods I was intrigued by outside of my home. There was an amazing pizzeria in my neighborhood that introduced me to the square slice. The owner personally made every pie with the freshest ingredients he could find. I would watch him create these unique square pies. The result of his efforts was a light, yet crispy square pizza that melted in your mouth. The flavors of the whole milk mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with plump San Marzano tomatoes and fresh picked basil exploded on the palate making you want to come back for more.
Every day after school when I would go to the pizzeria there would be lines down the block. I realized this was a place where I needed to work so I could learn how to replicate what I loved to eat.
Working at the pizzeria after school was the highlight of my day. I would talk to the old man about how he learned how to make such incredible pizza. He told me he grew up in Sicily in a town called Palermo and his grandmother gave him her secret recipe. Some years later, I was fortunate enough to be a part of what he called his family and he shared with me the secret of a great pizza.
As I became a chef years later, I always remembered what I had learned working for him. Never compromise quality and always make something memorable for people to enjoy.
I proudly bring to you Benny Casanova’s square pies just like I had growing up in Brooklyn, a tribute to my mentor.
Chef Franklin Becker
Benny Casanova's founder and Top Chef Masters veteran Chef Franklin Becker, is an acclaimed chef, author, autism activist and TV personality. In addition to Top Chef Masters, Chef Becker
appears regularly on television, including Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, The Rachael Ray Show, Beat Bobby Flay, and more.
He attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and has worked in some of the nation’s finest kitchens, including Brasserie, the EMM Group, Starr Restaurant Group, Grand Hospitality, and Capitale.
Chef Becker previously co-founded the fast-casual, gluten-free concept The Little Beet and The Little Beet Table, as well as Shai Hummusiya and plant-based food subscription service Hungryroot.