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Meet Mikhael, our new pizzaiolo

The stakes were high when we started looking for a new pizza chef to lift our BIRD pizzas to a higher level: experience, enthusiasm and next-level dough-throwing skills were needed… We’ve now found someone who’s a perfect fit. Meet our new pizzaiolo: Mikhael!

Who are you?

I’m Mikhael. I was born in Russia, but moved to the Netherlands when I was 11. I’ve now lived here for 16 years, and I got my bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Tilburg University. Besides, I’ve always worked in restaurants and cafés.

How did you wind up at BIRD?

My passion for making pizzas brought me to numerous interesting places. That’s how I accidentally got started at BIRD. After I had seen the oven, I was sold: it’s a traditional wood-fired beast of an oven, capable of cooking the ultimate pizza within 90 seconds. Besides that pleasure, it’s wonderful to work with all of the great and experienced colleagues.

In our article “What’s Cooking at BIRD?!” you can read all about how we brought our authentic pizza oven from Napoli to BIRD, among other things.

How did you end up making pizzas?

I’ve been making pizzas since I was 16. I had to deliver them for a while at first, before they even let me anywhere near the chef’s dough. You have to work your way to the top, right? Both the product and the process are things you have to love and respect.

Pizzaiolo is a trade perfectionists (like myself) can really lose themselves in. The fermentation of the dough is a science in itself, and you can continue developing that. Besides, you’re working with a living product, so there are many variables that influence each other. I also get a lot of satisfaction from working with my hands. And the open kitchen means I have a lot of great conversations with all types of guests. They think the pizzas and the oven are just as interesting as I do.

How do you find satisfaction at BIRD?

BIRD is a place where a lot is created, whether in a musical or gastronomical field: the atmosphere is always good, and that’s because the people who create it carry BIRD in their heart. I get a lot of satisfaction from being part of such a creative and driven team. Another thing that always makes me happy is when guests come up to me – just before they leave – to tell me how much they liked the pizza!

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