Italian master chef Sergio Miccu traveled more than 4,000 miles from his hometown in Naples to give victims of Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Red Hook a taste of relief.
Miccu, the president of the Neapolitan Association of Pizza Makers, made 200 pizza pies from scratch last Saturday and dished them out to residents in the waterfront community who are still ailing from the brutal October storm.
“This is normal in the Italian culture to support people who have been affected by disaster,” said Miccu, who added that when a catastrophic earthquake shook his native land 28 years ago he cooked for people whose homes were destroyed.
The pizzaiolo decided to do what he does best for those who were hardest-hit after seeing the devastation that Hurricane Sandy wrought on television reports.
And Miccu said coming to Brooklyn to was a no-brainer.
“Brooklyn is the part in America that represents our Italian community, so I wanted to come here and give my support,” he said.
Andrea Carrano, the president of an Italian non-profit organization that aims to keep alive his nation’s heritage through culture and tradition, put Miccu in touch with his longtime friend Joe Chirico, the owner of the legendary Marco Polo Ristorante in Carroll Gardens.
The restaurateur, who said the super storm evoked memories of a hurricane that barreled through his homeland of Calabria and completely inundated his house when he was just 6 years old, was more than happy to lend a hand.
“When I see this kind of devastation it brings up a lot of memories for me, so any time I can help I will,” said Chirico, who brought the Miccu to his son Marco’s restaurant Enoteca on Court Street, which has a giant wood-fired pizza oven.
“It was such a terrible tragedy and this is just a good opportunity to help out,” said Marco Chirico, who helped whip up 100 12-inch margherita-style pizzas on Saturday in his restaurant’s kitchen, while Miccu set up shop on the street in front of Enoteca and made 100 of his famous fried pizzas, which resemble calzones stuffed with ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, and salami.
“This is the real traditional pizza in Naples — you don’t have this here,” said Miccu.
Red Hook parish priest Claudio Antecini drove the boxed pies down to Visitation Church on Richards Street and distributed the Italian goodness to hungry Red Hook residents.