Saying that Joe Piacquadio is known for making mozzarella is an understatement of massive proportions. His mozzarella is so popular that if you were ever to meet Piacquadio then you would shortly refer to him as his more common moniker, “Joe Mozzarella.”
The Bronx native has been mastering the art of mozzarella at The Iron Tomato in White Plains for eight years, and the only thing that surpasses Piacquadio’s love of making mozzarella, is the smile that mozzarella puts on his customers’ faces.
WM: How did you get the nickname Joe Mozzarella?
JM: I started making mozzarella at all these different places, and I make it at all these different parties and weddings on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays so everyone just started calling me “Joe Mozz” and it became my nickname.
WM: When did it click for you that you wanted to start making mozzarella?
JM: I was working in a deli in 1982, and the Italian guy making it would never let me see how he did it. I would spy on him and he would close the door when he was making it. So I left that place and I went to another and they asked me “do you know how to make mozzarella” and I said yes, so when I was making it, it was like a rock so I didn’t know if I wanted to make it anymore. But then I had a dream about making mozzarella and I dreamed the way of how to fold it and make it properly and then it just worked. It was amazing.
WM: What is the key to making good mozzarella?
JM: Love is the first thing; I love what I am doing so I don’t care if I am making one pound or a 1,000 pounds.
WM: Is there a good food combination that features mozzarella?
JM: Prosciutto with tomato, arugula, and olive oil is my favorite sandwich.
WM: What do you enjoy most about making your mozzarella at events?
JM: I enjoy meeting new people. At the market and deli I’m a friend with the customers and they know who I am. But at the weddings [parties] they don’t know who I am so I get to meet new people and drink wine and take pictures with them.
WM: Who do you enjoy making mozzarella for the most?
JM: When kids come in the market they love eating it. There are toothpicks, but mothers tell me that they don’t need them because [their children] just eat it up [with their hands]. I love that.
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