Joe Roberti and pizza go way back. At the wizened age of 9 he sold his first pizza; then, a few months before Roberti started high school, Calogero "Charlie" Ciaccio gave the 14-year-old his first shot in the kitchen of an Avalon Park pie joint. Ciaccio, sadly, passed away at the age of 37, but he clearly had an impact on Roberti.
"He really gave me a foundation of the basics," Roberti says. "He always looked out for me, exposed me to a lot of realities in life, and played a big part in hardening me to pursue a career in the culinary industry."
Now the 25-year-old is eager to pass on some of the wisdom he gleaned from Ciaccio. "Always show appreciation for those who helped you on the journey of achieving your dreams," Roberti says. "Recognition goes a long way. Don't leave any words left unsaid."
For someone who considers himself a private person, Roberti isn't shy about expressing his opinions on matters he deems important. "I no longer follow the news, but I can say that I have a passion for the role politics plays in sustainable agriculture and how that affects the economy, healthcare and education. On a national level, it's the single biggest issue in our society right now, and no one's talking about it. Everything else is a distraction."
When he's not pondering matters macroscopic, he's busy developing his business, he says. "I don't worry too much about what's trending or who my competitors are. I focus on telling my story and the story of the brand and that's it. I expect my co-workers to work hard and I put a lot of pressure on everyone equally whether they're a man, woman or space alien." It's no surprise, then, that the pies at Pizzeria Roberti are out of this world.