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director's statement;

Tyler Doehring


When this documentary began, I was largely ignorant of the international impact of pizza and of Michelin Stars. While visiting family in Italy, we dined at a Michelin Starred restaurant and were wowed by some of the finest food we had ever eaten. “So this is what a Michelin Star is all about,” I thought. The following night we visited Ciro’s pizzeria, Concettina ai Tre Santi. Because of the experience there, now I largely cannot remember the Michelin Starred meal from just one day prior. I was beside myself. I asked Ciro right then if I could shoot a documentary with him. I had no plan, I just knew Ciro was especially talented.

Concettina was one of only a few pizzerias in the world to even be listed in the Michelin Guide. As I began researching, I learned there had never been a pizzeria anywhere in the world to receive a coveted Michelin Star. The story quickly evolved into that of not only young talent, but of a storied international organization that has come to be associated with sophistication and good taste, and a humble outsider that happens to be devoted to many of the same qualities.

The most common reaction I get when discussing Michelin and gastronomy is “The tire company?” Many people are not even aware of the Guide’s existence, let alone its cachet or its history. It is essentially a secret society—a goal out of reach for most chefs and restauranteurs. Associated with “haute cuisine,” and with traditional French and Italian white tablecloth dining experiences, Michelin do not discuss their inspection practices with anyone.

“Stella” is Italian for “Star.” Michelin’s icon for a Michelin Star is a stylized asterisk ( ). The asterisk is typically used in text to note an additional consideration, which is the essence of Michelin’s intent. These starred restaurants are worth additional consideration. My hope is that our documentary gives both pizza and Michelin additional consideration. Pizza is a beloved cuisine. It’s a cuisine associated with community and celebration and fun. It transcends cultures and borders. Ciro says pizza is a simple meal, suitable for everyone and everyone’s pocket. Pizza means soul.

I hope this documentary makes you hungry and want to call up your friends and family to have a slice. This is a celebration of food, and good times, and even a celebration of celebrating food. Pizza is a nice cuisine, and I hope above all else, Stella is a nice movie. Cheers.

Tyler Doehring

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