Sicily Wood Fired Pizza

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Although a dough designed to have the right amount of crust topped with extra Parmesan and Bufala mozzarella cheese, some sun-dried tomatoes, a hint of garlic, fresh basil, bell peppers, bacon, ham, jalapeno and zucchini wouldn’t be an average customer’s #1 pick, I decided to custom make mine realizing how expensive it could get with all those extra toppings and how I’m not that average customer. Like I’ve always maintained, you need to live it like you mean it. After a wait of more than 40 min, the finely made thin crust wood fired pizza was right in front of me. Flakes and seasoning is not my thing so I grabbed one of those 8 slices of the 9 inch pizza and went for it. Before I could imagine how hot the cheese was, it was in my mouth. Damn, that pizza was gratifying. It is the single most mouth-watering 9 inch dish a person like me would appreciate to such an extent that he/she would soon have the opportunity to become a part of the business and soon the family that runs it. Managed by a dexterous chef and his cousin, the restaurant was named after the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily. Probably the only place in the Indian peninsula that comes as close as it does to authentic Italian cooking styles. Big chunks of wood, a good designed oven, fresh veggies, good meat and a secret recipe for the tomato sauce and you should be fine. Spent my first day filling the kitchen order tickets and people occasionally asking for a chilled drink, it all seemed easy. The weekends have taken their toll on Chef. I tend to help him when he needs it but he doesn’t particularly appreciate it. On an average we sell 60 – 70 pizzas on the weekends in a span of 4 hours and 30 min. That’s a monumental task when the oven we’re talking about encompasses 3-4 pizzas at a time. While the Chef is running around the kitchen all the time, I make sure the customers don’t get too restless.

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Giving them a drink would be a bad move, there’s no food complimenting it. Telling them the pizzas “ETA” would be worse because now they have an expectation, ruining which would be bad for business. So I play music, usually classic rock, but then there’s always that one guy/girl who wants a different song so I let them plug-in their i-pods and play different songs, it works. Every now and then the Chef hits a small bell hanging off the ceiling, that’s a sign telling me the pizza is ready to be served. The first one month was fun, looking at people go like “Wow you run this place? good for you !”. It just kept getting better when I took some time off to study for my exams and when I returned, I started getting a small pizza ( worth 4 $) free of charge everyday after my dinner shift. It’s a wonderful experience especially when 2 French teachers from Toulouse come once or twice in a fortnight always asking you to entertain them. It’s been 3 months of work, and they still don’t get how funny my jokes are which is so ironic because they don’t stop laughing. I never stop trying though. I took the initiative to re-design the menu card and convinced the Chef to introduce new toppings in both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections, butter mushrooms and beef sausages being the most popular, giving us a considerable income. I therefore promoted myself as the direct assistant of the Executive Chef, making me the Sous Chef de cuisine, head of accounting and the restaurant steward and continued serving, because its fun.

It’s the holiday season and almost all the students left for home to meet their friends and be with their family during Christmas. For me and my room mates ( 6 in total ) though, we had to stay back for additional courses. Last night, it was pretty much empty from when we opened at 6pm all the way to 8:30 pm. I managed to convince the Chef to wonder if it was a sign from god telling him to rest for a while and let the sous chef take over the kitchen for his first wood fired pizza. That was when a doctor from a nearby medical college entered and ordered 10 pizzas to go, 1 with plain cheese and lots of pepperoni. The Chef was done with like 8 of them. I decided to do the next one. It’s not as easy as one might assume it to be. There’s a lot of science involved in the process. Two basic things that control the pizza’s end result: Heat over the pizza (Air temperature) and Heat under the pizza that’s cooking the base (Brick temperature). It’s all about controlling and manipulating the difference between these two and often turning it, so that the half that is cooking at a slower rate is facing the burning wood on one side of the oven. Maintain the overhead temperature too high and cheese melts too quickly leaving you with a cold and wet base. Maintain the brick temperature too high, your base is well done but with your sauce and toppings are tasteless. You need to place the wood on the right sides of the oven in the right amounts to get that smoky wood flavor on the pizza with a slightly burnt crust that compliments the cheese just fine. I started off messing up with the dough, too thin and the heavy toppings could make it stick, making it hard for you when you try to scoop it out. I recovered well though, the Chef was supervising me at all times. The base was turning out to be just wonderful. Soon the Parmesan settled down melting between the veggies and the meat making it a perfect blend of flavors. The one I made is called the “Farmer’s Pizza”. The only thing left was to grab that pizza box. I was so curious to know if it tasted as good as it looked. I let the Doc decide and fill me in the next time he comes.


Ayrton Senna Da Silva

Ayrton Senna Da Silva ( ★ March 21, 1960 São Paulo – † May 1, 1994 Imola, Italy )

was a Brazilian racing driver and three-time Formula One world champion. He died in a crash while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, and remains the most recent Grand Prix driver to die at the wheel of a Formula One car.

The Greatest Driver I’ve Ever Known, Senna’s way of dealing things were reminded to the world when he was defied by his adversaries. Young Senna againstthe big names like Michael Schumacher, René Arnoux, Gerhard Berger, Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill, Eddie Irvine, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet , Alain Prost defined passionate racing in Monaco ’84, Portugal ’85, Europe ’93 with one of the best races ever witnessed. I don’ t think I will ever see anyone pull off those corners in Monaco in those wet conditions. What Ayrton had accomplished was way beyond Human capabilities and he dint need any accolades to prove his point and because of a poor decision by the FIA stewards he dint. Senna was in a different dimension taking his Mclaren to new heights and increasing that bar higher and higher. A national Hero in Brazil, where Sundays were days of national glory, when everyone had a smile on their face.

Ayrton Senna wasn’t in the business for the money or the fame and I know every successful person would say that when his stomach’s full but Ayrton was different he offered to drive for free in 1993 alongside his biggest rival Alain Prost and then called him a “coward” after Prost denied to drive for Williams if Senna would be his teammate. All this after those two famous Championship Deciding Collisions in 1989 & 1990 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka each ending in favour of a different Racer.  The 1989 collision would probably go down in history as one of the most exciting races but filled with controversies. Senna needed to win the race to stay in contention. With just 0.34 seconds away from the Race Leader Alain Prost, Senna had attempted an inside pass on Prost who turned into the corner and cut him off, with the two McLarens finishing up with their wheels interlocked in the Suzuka chicane escape road. Senna then got a push-start from marshals, pitted to replace the damaged nose of his car, and rejoined the race. He took the lead from the Benetton of Alessandro Nannini and went on to finish first, only to be promptly disqualified by the FIA for cutting the chicane after the collision, and for crossing into the pit lane entry (not part of the track). A large fine and temporary suspension of his Super License followed in the winter of 1989 and Senna engaged in a bitter war of words with the FIA and its then President Jean-Marie Balestre. It was the worst decision ever made  by an FIA President and it’s a disgrace to have elected Balestre as one. The next collision in 1990 with Senna on pole requested the stewards for the pole position to be on the clean side of the track, the left side. They agreed and said “No Problem” . Yet, The FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre reversed the decision in the last minute. Being on the dirty side, Senna was slower and Prost being an opportunist grabbed the lead and entered the first corner first against a furious Ayrton Senna who clipped his rear spoiler ending up with both cars off the track.

Prost called his actions “disgusting” and considered retiring after that collision. Senna in a Press Conference Furiously stated: “If you get f***** every time you try to do your job cleanly, within the system, what do you do? Stand back, and say thank you? No way. You should fight for what you think is right. If pole had been on the left, I’d have made it to the first corner in the lead, no problem. That was a bad decision to keep pole on the right, and it was influenced by Balestre. And the result was what happened in the first corner. I contributed to it, but it was not my responsibility”.


In 1994, Senna driving for Williams Crashed into a wall at around 140 mph in the San Marino circuit in Imola, Italy. There is much speculation about his time of death and many believe he was dead without suffering. Senna’s crash was a very mysterious one and till today the whole truth is unknown. He was the Race Leader leading Micheal Schumacher by just over a second. Rewind Time a little over a day and we see the death of an Australian Novice F1 driver Roland Ratzenberger. As track officials examined the wreckage of his racing car they found a furled Austrian flag—a victory flag that he was going to raise in honour of Austrian Roland Ratzenberger after winning.

Ayrton Senna is My Hero and its not just me but Everyone who can appreciate his style are in his dept. A dept we can never cover. He is a national hero with his grave attracting more visitors than the graves of John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley combined. That’s a huge thing. He was a man who pursued his passion rather than dreaming about climbing on the podium every Sunday.

I still dream to see that wall. To be on that corner, The Tamburello corner. And I hope that the day I do, I’m continuing his legacy as a true Racing Driver. I dream not to be better than him but to be at par. A huge void in our souls, you created. Nonetheless, we know the magnitude of your determination and that makes me see the silver lining in every bad situation. Time passes as I move on in Life, But your image in my head can never fade. Going to wear my first Racing Helmet on June 27th, Chennai National Race Track in a Novice 4000cc Engine race. I know I have your blessings and the rest assured I’ll reach where you already did.

All My Life, I Will Mourn For Your Death Until I Face Mine

 Rest In Peace Brother                                                                                                                                           

† Ayrton Senna Da Silva

Your #1 Fan

Suraj Chepyala

Remembering Who I Am

It all started around 3 years ago, during Christmas Eve i guess, my best friend Preethi was very upset that her dad got a new job in London, and that meant that she had to transfer with him. She threw a HUGE party, in fact she called in so many people, the backyard was filled and we had to invade the house. After dinner, we were given a chance to talk about how much we would miss her. Her mom stepped up on the stage first and she was followed by Preethi’s grand dad. Then entered all her “BFF’s” including me. I started giving a really emotional speech about how caring she is and that she is the only one I would take advise from and I tried my best to make it not sound like a complete cliche. she was so touched by my words and she sprinted onto the stage and started talking about me. That was when I actually started looking at myself differently. Here I am standing in front of hundreds of people I don’t know and I’m listening to this person who probably knows me more than anyone on this planet ( Other than my Mom ) say such nice things about me. I started dreaming. On stage !. Just like they show in the movies. I started thinking that you Always need someone to ignite that spark in you that tells you who you really are. What kind of a person you are. There is absolutely no individual in this world who I can think of who could do this all by him/herself. You always need someone telling you where your heading. The Do’s and the Dont’s. It’s usually a Loving Mother who fits best to play this character in one’s life but quite often, your best pals come into play when you need them. So then, I realized who I really am. Well I guess I’m still working on it. That night basically inspired me and I tried to make a video ever since and finally managed to make it. Although I’m an amateur in Video Editing, I pulled it off and I Dedicated this video to My Mother who really loved it.

Softwares Used :

Sony Vegas Pro 9.0, Adobe After Effects Cs5, MS Paint, Fraps, Blufftitler V3

Music : Unknown

Remembering Who I Am…

I’ve Walked My Roads Without Shortcuts

And Missed So Many Turns

I’ve Stopped Along My Journey

And Outright Refused To Learn

But Somewhere In My Spirit Is A Light

I’ll Never Fully Comprehend

It Takes Me Through My Painful Chapters

To Reach My Stories End

In My Deepest Darkest Days

I Cry

In My Deepest Darkest Days

I Die

In My Deepest Darkest Days

I Learn To Try I Reach For The Sky

With My Arms Open High

And I Always Remember Who I Am

The Road Is Long The Book A Million Pages

At Times I Get So Tired

I Have To Read And Walk In Stages…

But There Is A Power Beneath My Feet

That Helps Me Float On Stressful Days

Not Knowing How Or Even Why

I Suddenly Turn That Page

The Voyage Traveled Is My Narative

Remembering Who I Am


It’s My Contribution To This Place

I Signature In Stone

Its Not The Battles Failed

Its The Journey Flown

I Will Affirm I’ve Made A Difference

Remembering Who I Am

I Am Suraj Chepyala

Life – A Journey

Wikipedia defines Life as:

Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes (biology) from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate” And Death as:

“Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. The word refers both to a particular process and to the condition that results thereby”

But I feel there is so much more than the “Beginning” and the “End”. The big part that’s in between is so precious and so adventurous that one fails to comprehend the meaning of complete euphoria. What I mean to say is that No one can ever be satisfied, there’s always something more to do once you’re done with something else. And this feeling is really important. Imagine a world where your done with your Bucket list when your just 12 and you have no more wants or needs and you no longer seek pleasure in activities that most would remember for their entire lives.  It’s quite impossible actually for someone like that to exist. And it’s no hard work at all, All you got to do is get out there and just be YOU. How hard can it be? And this Blog is mainly to send the message to everyone who felt like their Life is lonely, incomplete, meaningless, and purposeless. Life is so much more than that. There is ALWAYS someone around who is ready to lend his/her hand. There’s only one way to live this fantasy and that’s by enjoying it every single second up to the brim of beauty. There are strict rules though, or say facts? That’ll remind us why we don’t smile all the way during this wonderful journey, or maybe We Do…

Rule #1: Life Is Too Short To Be Someone Else.

Rule#2: Indecision is the key to flexibility.

Rule#3: Happiness is merely the remission of pain.

Rule#4: Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Rule#5: The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.

Rule#6: Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.

Rule#7: Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.

Rule#8: If you think there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.

Rule#9: One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.

Rule#10: By the time you make ends meet, they move the ends.

Rule#11: There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

Rule#12: A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

Rule#13: For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Rule#14: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research!

Rule#15: Everybody repeat after me… “We are all individuals.”!!

Rule#16: Death to all fanatics!

Rule#17: Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

Rule#18: Eagles may soar, but weasels aren’t sucked into jet engines.

Rule#19: Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

Rule#20: Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life!

Live Like You Mean It ……

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.

-Suraj Chepyala