In recent years, especially due to the crisis in South Europe, many Italians are leaving their country for Oslo in search of a better life and better future for themselves and their children.
Francesco, is one of them, a professional chef, and a man of many passions and talents. Before I met him, I first met his Neapolitan Pizza, which I consider the best Italian pizza in Oslo, and the main reason that prompted me to interview him.
Because it is the best people that stay behind the simple things and the care of the details, as well as behind a great pizza there is always a great man
Interview with Francesco De Palma
«I’m Francesco De Palma currently Sous Chef at Pizza Crudo Palèet.I moved for less than four years to Oslo from a beautiful Italian town Ancaiano, 15 km from Siena in Tuscany. The transfer was pretty challenging. It was easier to say then to do for me, a common Italian, at that time struggling with a tavern to be closed and a new job to look for in the city of Oslo. The first time when I came to Oslo I was hosted by a Norwegian family that I met in Siena when I still had the restaurant. It was them who introduced the city of Oslo to me and explained me how I could do to start a new life outside the Italian borders. Soon I learned to take care of myself, to be independent and to adapt to new and so different from Italian, Norwegian rules».
What do you like and don’t like about Oslo?
I must compliment with the citizens of Oslo. They have a concept of the city very different from the Italian one. Public transport is very punctual so you can do very well without a car and live with no stress of traffic. Oslo is well organized I can say that is a human scale city, full of parks, green meadows and the blue fjord, giving me the opportunity to go with my son to the sea and in the woods in my free time. While I would like find on supermarket shelves the wine and other spirits without being forced to go to Vinmonopolet, I guess this could be a positive change.
Do you manage to tie work and private life?
In this city it is very easy to reconcile work and private life because the employers must meet the family needs. Oslo, in terms of job opportunities in the restaurant business offers many possibilities At the same time many of these who work in this sphere are improvised workers, and this remains the lowest paid sector.
Your favorite neighbourhood and why?
My favorite neighbourhood is Grünerløkka. It was my Norwegian friend Brit who made me know this neighbourhood and I fell in love of this place. Grünerløkka is full of life all year round, you’re never alone here.
Do you have the impression of living in a safe city?
Oslo is a city on a human scale. This is evidenced by the fact that the children go to school on their own. Before I couldn’t even imagine that my son would go alone to school being nine years old.
If today you could change something in the city what would you change?
Everything changes so that nothing changes. That is: if everything changes outwardly, everything remains as it is; if everything stays as it is, everything can change inwardly.
Your favorite three entertainment places in the city and why?
The Kon-Tiki Museum made me travel in time and contemplating the harmonization of the futuristic city and a history of explorers such as the Vikings themselves. The National Library, founded only in 1989, when I started working in the hotel industry, makes me feel like an Italian poet. The Munch Museum because I am fascinated by the art of Munch. It has the largest collection in the world of works by Edvard Munch, who was a pioneer of Expressionism.
Describe your favorite activities that makes you happy in the city?
I wait for the right season to go gathering mushrooms in the forests around Oslo. This makes me feel very well because I make not a bad risotto with porcini mushrooms. The same when I go fishing for mussels or some cod. A sautéed mussels is one of my specialities that once tried you will never forget.
Was Oslo better before or it’s better now?
It hard to me to say whether it is better or worst as I moved to Oslo in 2013. It is too little time to judge.
Which thing you could not live without?
I could not live without my family. Rosaria my wife and my son Antonio.