Dr. Dough

Kesté's Roberto Caporuscio has no secrets

Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio grew up near Rome and spent years as a dairy farmer before moving to Naples to work with the city's most celebrated pizza masters.

Now he's America's most in-demand pizza consultant. Restaurants hire him to train staff, design kitchens, source suppliers–and troubleshoot. When the chefs at Chicago's Spacca Napoli were unhappy with their dough, they called Caporuscio in to tweak their technique.

Caporuscio's latest endeavor is Kesté, the white-hot West Village spot that's resetting the standard for Neapolitan pizza in New York. To meet that goal, he flew in friends from Italy to build a wood-burning oven outfitted with heat-holding volcanic stones, and sets tables with special curved knives that won't crack his perfectly crisp, puffy crusts.

Like many of NYC's new pizza vanguard, Caporuscio sources the best tomatoes, mozzarella and produce he can find, but it's the dough that sets his pies apart. He uses traditional 00 flour to make a very soft, wet dough that he stretches until it's nearly translucent–so thin that it needs only 90 seconds to cook in his 950° oven.

And he's anything but proprietary about his pizza: Soon, Caporuscio will start teaching intensive, multiday seminars for local chefs who want to hone their skills. Ultimately, he says, "It's about bringing great pizza to as many people as possible."

Kesté, 271 Bleecker St. (between Jones and Cornelia sts.); 212-243-1500 or kestepizzeria.com