Massimiliano Prete’s career starts very early, at 15 years old, when he leaves his land of origin, the Salento (in Apulia), where he used to observe his mum kneading in the kitchen since he was a child.
First stop Asti, at Beppe Francese’s pizzeria, one of the most famous pizza maker arrived in Piedmont from Tramonti; then other experiences in different places in southern Piedmont, until he arrives in Saluzzo, where he works as pizza maker and pastry chef.
In 2000, together with his wife Erica, he decides to mark a definite turning point in his career: from being an employee, he becomes a businessman, taking over the management of the café and pastry shop PiazzAffari in Saluzzo. This place offers its customers an excellent coffee bar, an accurate selection of wines and fancy aperitifs, together with a very wide choice of both fresh and dry pastries and homemade seasonal bakery products (panettoni and colombe) prepared by Massimiliano in the out-building workshop.
In 2005 Massimiliano achieves his sommelier certificate and PiazzAffari has the pleasure to host great wine growers, such as Angelo Gaia, to present new labels and wine tasting, becoming therefore one of the most fashionable place of the province.
At the same time, the high quality of his products, his creativity as pastry chef and his extraordinary ability lead Massimiliano to travel, even to Ethiopia, in order to prepare on site a majestic cake for a sheik as member of the Eataly team, during its opening in NewYork.
In 2011, thanks to the positive experience, the success had with PiazzAffari and the twenty-year passion for the world of pizza and leavened products, Massimiliano takes over the management of another place, once more time in Saluzzo. He inaugurates Teatro del Gusto (Theater of the Taste), the restaurant and pizzeria which, since 4 years, daily welcomes the inhabitants of Saluzzo and many tourists with pizzas and good food, enjoying great appreciation for the quality of the ingredients and its attention to detail.
In 2014, willing to bring something new to town, Massimiliano experiments new ingredients, he studies innovative techniques, he meets experts in the field, such as nutritionists, chefs, researchers, precursors of the gourmet pizza, among which Mrs. Federica Racinelli and he decides to close down PiazzAffari in order to open, in the same fully renovated place, Gusto Divino, a gourmet pizzeria.
The mission of this place is to offer a real culinary experience and food culture, to teach the consumer how to taste and choose quality. The customer needs to savour, non only eat, thanks to a wide list of gourmet pizzas, all of them made with starter (mother yeast), accompanied by a fine selection of beer and wine and a top quality dessert menu.
This choice turns to be successful and, not later than one year after its opening, Gusto Divino has proudly obtained many awards at National level:
Furthermore, numerous articles appeared in local and National newspapers (among which an article in La Repubblica, personally written by Carlo Petrini, Slowfood’s founder), food bloggers’ reviews, the visits of multi-starred chefs such as Enrico Crippa (3 Michelin Stars) and Savino Mongelli (1 Michelin Star), experts in the field and food critics.
He has many projects, such as the collaboration with the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, where Massimiliano works both as professor and as external consultant.
Proud of his results and aware he has achieved them only thanks to his experience, the constant training and his opening to dialogue with experts in the field, Chef Prete is not going to stop. Firmly looking at never settling for anything less, always willing to improve and to seduce Customers with ever greater attentions and originals proposals... Massimiliano is already at work on new recipes and new goals.
Today Massimiliano and Fabio are opening in Alba, but keep the forks ready: new openings are already in the air!