” I still have trouble believing it “. Busy behind the stoves of the “Pizzas du Puits-Vieux” in Saint-Priest (Rhône), Caroline Maya is struggling to achieve her feat at the world pizza championship organized in Parma in April 2022. She climbed to first place in the podium with his partner Alain Patrick Fauconnet. The trophy has since stood in the small restaurant created by his grandmother in 1987.
To convince the jury, the two champions trained tirelessly in the family establishment. Each gesture has been studied like a choreography. The two experts had to complement each other. He took care of the filling. She was in charge of the dough. A ballet repeated tirelessly under the eyes of their coach Meidhi Belkessa and the father of Caroline Maya. This former French pizza champion was there at all times. “With my uncle, it was he who gave me a taste for the competition. When you go to a competition, it’s to win. »
A pizza estimated at more than 400 €
Caroline Maya and Alain Patrick Fauconnet served the jurors a gourmet pizza called It will be a volta (“Once upon a time” in Italian). Its price is estimated between 400 and 500 €. Among the ingredients are sea urchins from Galicia, lobster, scallops, dried caviar, prawns. “At each competition, I want to tell a story with my pizzas. With Alain Patrick, we have in common the love of travel »explains Caroline Maya.
But this incredible dish is not offered on the menu of “Pizzas du Puits-Vieux” despite the requests of many customers. “It’s not a pizza that we serve in a take-out boxjustifies the chef champion of France on several occasions. But I tell them that the dough of the other pizzas is that of the world championship. »
The curious flock to Saint-Priest
During this international competition, the 34-year-old mother was not content to come back with this title. She was nominated in four categories. “I wanted to at least win one”, confides this great competitor. She arrived 1st in France and 7th in the world in classic pizza.
Inevitably, since her return to France, Caroline Maya has been the subject of numerous reports. The Parisian unveiled the winning recipe in an article. France 3 went there and was able to film the award-winning pizza. The winner is also overwhelmed with orders. “Some customers come from afar! » Specializing in take-out sales, she nevertheless set up five small tables in front of her business so that “those who live in apartments” and “those who live far away” can enjoy the pizza immediately as well as “Enjoy the beautiful surroundings”. An environment steeped in history.
She owes everything to her family
34 years ago, Caroline Maya’s grandmother decided to sell pizzas. At the end of the courtyard of the house, she settles in the garage to cook. “My grandparents were Italian immigrants. My grandfather was a bricklayer and my grandmother opened this restaurant for fun. At the beginning, there was only one pizza on the menu”, remembers the world champion. To make her dough, the novice “goes to get eggs from the farmer who lived opposite the courtyard”. Then, she bequeaths her business to her two sons.
Caroline Maya’s father and uncle are becoming more professional. “My father trained in Italian schools. » They take Grandma’s pizza dough recipe and improve it. It is this same secret recipe that was used during the world championship. At the time, Caroline Maya was just a child and spent her time in the restaurant. “We were looked after by our grandparents and we played in the yard. On May 1, we put up a sign and sold lily of the valley. »
Her father refuses that she becomes a pizza maker
Then, she continued her studies and dreamed of becoming a childcare assistant. “Every other weekend, I came to work at the pizzeria. » Her grandparents died in 2006 and 2008. A few years later, Caroline Maya graduated and was overtaken by her family history. Accepting a maternity post is definitely turning your back on the restaurant. “I had to make a choice. »
“I am very attached to the family. When I’m here, I feel like my grandparents are still somewhat alive. » She then decides to announce to her parents that she is giving up her career as a childcare assistant and that she wants to work in the family restaurant. “My dad told me he’d rather break both my legs working here. For him, it was not a woman’s job. »
“On to the others now! »
She ends up making her parents bend, not without difficulty. “When I worked with my father, it was electric between us. » Since then, the autodidact has taken over the reins. It hires three employees. And a new stage is looming. While her father has always refused to entrust her with the management of the business, he could change his mind thanks to the title of world champion she has just won. “I proposed to him last year and he refused. » Soon she will officially be the boss.
After her victory, Caroline Maya announced that she no longer wanted to participate in competitions. A decision that is linked to his father. “He accompanies me to each competition but he can no longer come because of his state of health. I can’t see myself going without him. My father is a part of me. » The 30-year-old has no regrets. “When you have reached the highest step, you have to know when to stop. On to the others now! »