Food & Drink » Flavor

Central Coast chef Antonio Maragliotti launches La Teglia, specializing in authentic Italian focaccia and pizza

By

comment

You may recognize his name from Flour House in San Luis Obispo, where Antonio Maragliotti has been perfecting his craft for the past seven years.

As a lead pizza chef, Maragliotti has helped the restaurant and bar garner numerous awards, including 19th best U.S. pizzeria in 2022 and 21st best in 2023, according to Italy's 50 Top Pizza Guide to the Best Pizzerias in the World.

It has also won Best Wood-Fired Pizza in New Times' Best of SLO County readers' poll every year since 2020.

TANTALIZING TOPPINGS La Teglia proprietor Antonio Maragliotti whips up gourmet bruschetta with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Using his house-made focaccia as a base, one bruschetta creation spotlights sliced figs along with prosciutto crudo, rosemary, basil, goat cheese, a dash of salt, and an extra virgin olive oil drizzle. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF LA TEGLIA
  • Photos Courtesy Of La Teglia
  • TANTALIZING TOPPINGS La Teglia proprietor Antonio Maragliotti whips up gourmet bruschetta with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Using his house-made focaccia as a base, one bruschetta creation spotlights sliced figs along with prosciutto crudo, rosemary, basil, goat cheese, a dash of salt, and an extra virgin olive oil drizzle.

Now Maragliotti is branching out on his own with his new venture, La Teglia, launched in July and focusing on "a Roman style of pizza and focaccia that involves a long fermentation process," he said.

His delicately puffed products, served plain or topped with myriad fresh ingredients, are available at establishments throughout SLO and Santa Barbara counties, with a steady stream of prospective clients inquiring about his distribution network, pop-ups, and private catering services.

His current retail customers include Kona's Deli and Saints Barrel Wine Bar in SLO, DePalo & Sons Deli and Sando's Deli in Pismo Beach, Perfetto Caffe in Grover Beach, and Bello Forno Catering Services in Orcutt.

"I hope to sell to many other delis and restaurants in the area ... as well as wineries that can offer [focaccia] on a charcuterie plate," he added.

Maragliotti says the foundation of his business is "making the perfect dough," a task he has been fine-tuning for a decade.

"I grew up in Arona, a small town in northern Italy near the Swiss Alps," he said. "I studied and trained in Italy to become a pizzaiolo. I was working at a restaurant without any real plans for my future when I received an offer to go to the U.S. and work as a pizzaiolo in California.

"I decided to take the opportunity ... with the intention of staying less than a year. I was 23 years old when I came here to San Luis Obispo."

SLOW RISE Following 12 hours of fermentation, chef Antonio Maragliotti tops his classic focaccia dough with olive oil to soften it and add more flavor and texture. Then the dough ferments for an additional five to six hours before it's ready to bake. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF LA TEGLIA
  • Photos Courtesy Of La Teglia
  • SLOW RISE Following 12 hours of fermentation, chef Antonio Maragliotti tops his classic focaccia dough with olive oil to soften it and add more flavor and texture. Then the dough ferments for an additional five to six hours before it's ready to bake.

However, his stint at Flour House changed everything.

"When I first started experimenting with different styles of dough it was mostly a hobby that I was doing just for fun, but my passion for it really grew," he said. "I decided to take the leap and make this passion my new career.

"In Rome they are famous for their pizza in teglia—pizza made on a sheet pan—and since that style inspired me to create my own unique recipe for focaccia, it felt like the perfect name for my business."

Maragliotti's dough consists of carefully selected ingredients, including fresh yeast, imported Italian type zero flour that creates "the perfect fluffiness," extra virgin olive oil, and pink Himalayan salt, he said.

What is most unique, he added, is its extended fermentation period of up to 18 hours.

"I think many people enjoy using instant yeast or other fast-track options to be able to produce focaccia and breads more quickly," he explained. "I have chosen to slow things down and take a more classic approach to making focaccia that I believe produces the best outcomes."

ALL ABOUT AIR Chef Antonio Maragliotti strives for thick, porous focaccia—a delicate dance between manipulating the dough and extending fermentation, which traps carbon dioxide bubbles. Sautéed white onions add flavor to one of his original recipes. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LA TEGLIA
  • Photo Courtesy Of La Teglia
  • ALL ABOUT AIR Chef Antonio Maragliotti strives for thick, porous focaccia—a delicate dance between manipulating the dough and extending fermentation, which traps carbon dioxide bubbles. Sautéed white onions add flavor to one of his original recipes.

The recipe he created has less yeast and results in a lighter, less filling focaccia that's easier to digest, he said.

"[It has] a golden and slightly crispy bottom, a fluffy and light center, and slightly golden top ... and can be used for sandwiches, pizza, or on its own with a variety of toppings," he said. "The difference between focaccia and pizza is the addition of cheese and a sauce to the pizza as well as using less dough in the baking process. My pizza has a thinner crust than my focaccia does. To transform it I use the same light fluffy dough but add less to the baking sheet."

One of Maragliotti's clients, Kona's Deli, uses his focaccia for sandwiches.

"Antonio is a good friend, a hard worker, and a great baker-pizzaiolo," said Mattia Tedeschi, co-owner of both Kona's Deli and Norton's Deli in Santa Barbara. "His focaccia is special because of the ingredients he uses. It stays soft and fresh, and the oil on top gives it that lightly salty taste and crunchiness if you toast it."

It's perfect for sandwiches, Tedeschi said.

BEYOND BREAD Kona's Deli in San Luis Obispo offers La Teglia focaccia as a bread option for its sandwiches. Co-owner Mattia Tedeschi says the product is light and airy but sturdy enough for sandwich ingredients, such as ham, cheddar cheese, avocado, shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato, and condiments. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KONA'S DELI
  • Photo Courtesy Of Kona's Deli
  • BEYOND BREAD Kona's Deli in San Luis Obispo offers La Teglia focaccia as a bread option for its sandwiches. Co-owner Mattia Tedeschi says the product is light and airy but sturdy enough for sandwich ingredients, such as ham, cheddar cheese, avocado, shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato, and condiments.

Now a resident of Santa Maria, Tedeschi hails from Reggio Emilia, "the land of Parmigiano Reggiano," he said.

"The focaccia we have in my hometown is thicker and dry," he conceded. "They add little lard pieces on top of it instead of oil. Antonio's is more like the focaccia Genovese from the Liguria region. We started carrying Antonio's focaccia a couple of months ago. As of right now we offer it as a bread choice—our customers have to pick a type of bread for their sandwich, and focaccia is becoming really popular."

He said he's planning to have a little market corner in the future where he'll carry the focaccia in a to-go package.

"We have a few regulars that cannot go back to bread after having had [the focaccia], and more and more people are trying it after seeing it on the menu," Tedeschi said.

Maragliotti said he's humbled and buoyed by the strong support of the Central Coast community. His current professional goals are to continue perfecting his Italian specialties from various locations throughout SLO County.

"I am fortunate to have many connections in the restaurant industry ... and have graciously been allowed to utilize those kitchens to produce my product," he said.

As his business expands, he hopes to rent his own space, he added, then follow up with the ultimate dream—"to one day open a restaurant."

However, Flour House will always hold a special place in his heart.

"There, I had an opportunity to grow my culinary skills and develop my expertise as a pizzaiolo specializing in Napoletana-style pizza," he said. "I am grateful for everything I learned and the friendships I cultivated while working there. I even met my wife working at Flour House, and now we have beautiful twin daughters who just turned 1." Δ

Flavor Writer Cherish Whyte thinks Antonio's dough is to die for. She'll be first in line at his new restaurant. Until then, reach her at [email protected].

Tags

Add a comment