Owner of pizza business shares the secret to the perfect slice

Luca Pizza in Norwich

Luca La Bella, owner of Luca Pizza, who serves wood-fired pizzas from a converted horse box, popping up at locations across Norwich and further afield - Credit: Gina Manning

Pizza may seem like a simple dish, consisting of freshly baked dough assembled with sauce and toppings.

But this would be a disservice, according to one Norwich pizza aficionado.

"Pizza is like an orchestra" said Luca La Bella, 30,  who turned his "burning obsession" with pizza into a thriving mobile business this year.

"It's not about just one item, you have to isolate every single component and give them equal love, care and attention, otherwise its not going to come out perfectly."

Luca Pizza Norwich

Luca La Bella's pizzas uses a unique dough recipe which is like a Neapolitan/New York hybrid using high quality ingredients from Italian suppliers - Credit: Gina Manning

In May, Mr La Bella launched Luca Pizza, serving wood-fired pizzas from a converted horse box trailer at pop-up locations around the city and further afield ever since. 

The business grew out of a love affair with pizza that began from a young age.

Luca Pizza Norwich

The wood-fired pizza oven used by Mr La Bella adds aroma to the pizza and guarantees a crispy base - Credit: Gina Manning

Mr La Bella said: "Pizza is in my DNA. My Dad is Sicilian, and I used to love visiting as kids where I'd eat so much good pizza.

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"My dad opened his own pizza franchise when he moved to England, so I was always around pizza growing up."

Luca Pizza Norwich

Mr La Bella's love of pizza began from an early age, inspired by his Sicilian father and their trips to the island - Credit: Gina Manning

Mr La Bella spent the lockdown periods of the past two years dedicating his time into researching the complexities of pizza, learning which flour to use and the best wood for flavour. 

He began to experiment in his garage after buying a pizza oven, and soon his pizzas gained a cult following among family and friends. 

Luca Pizza Norwich

Mr La Bella is currently serving pizzas from his converted horse box but has ambitions to one day open a permanent spot of his own - Credit: Gina Manning

Mr La Bella added: "My Dad and I decided to go into business together so we bought a converted horse box in August, 2020. 

"My fiancee, Gina Manning, and my friend Tommy Cook, have been there since day one, helping out in the van and by May we were up and running.

"It's grown organically through reputation and word of mouth and we now have regular pop-ups at places across the city, such as The Earlham, The Leopard and the Red Lion.

"It's great seeing smiles on customers' faces. Pizza shouldn't be a snobby thing. Pizza is fun and its such a great experience when you open up a box and eat a slice. 

"My only rule is that I don't serve anything I wouldn't want to eat myself." 

More information about Luca Pizza can be found here.

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