He will be performing his famed “pizza acrobatics” at the Ingham Italian Australian Festival on Saturday, August 3.
Born in Perugia,Touati comes from a family of food aficionados, with an Italian mother and French-Tunisian father endowing him with all sorts of culinary tips and tricks from a young age.
“My family has in total four restaurants... three restaurants and a bar,” Touati said.
“When I was 11 years old, my mum used to send me to Tuscany, where I would work in the restaurant of my uncle and aunt.
“So I started at 11 years old, cleaning the table and as a waiter.
“Then at 14 years old I started to work in the kitchen, prepping, and at 16 years old I started actually cooking.”
Touati began preparing pizza, antipasti and salumi, but he said that it wasn’t until a few years later that he stopped “preferring going out” and instead started “to appreciate the job [as a pizza maker]”.
Touati is now a pizza technician, and has a cinque stagioni certification in “white art”, which he said is anything to do with products made from flour and includes pizza, bread, pasta and pastry such as sfogliatella.
Touati currently works as a chef at Tartufo Restaurant in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, and will shortly transfer to commence a position at 250 Grammi in the beautiful seaside town of Noosa.
He belongs to the National Italian Pizza Team and National Acrobatic Pizza Team in Italy.
With the Italian National Team of Pizzaioli, Touati has competed in national and international contests and won many prizes, including first place for FreeStyle Pizza and a bronze medal for Gourmet Pizza at the International Pizza Championship in Rimini in 2013.
As a pizza acrobat, Touati has also competed extensively, even though he always likes to remember that acrobatic pizza is something playful that has nothing to do with the art of making pizza and the elaborate techniques involved in dough making.
Touati achieved third place in pizza acrobatics in a national competition held in the Italian town of Riccione, and also stunned audiences with his pizza tricks on TV shows Italia’s Got Talent and Australia’s Got Talent.
He and his team of pizza specialists made it to the semi-final in the Australian series.
“I always love to underline that pizza acrobatics is just one per cent of this job,” Touati said.
“When you make a lot of pizza, around 200-300 per night, you have to find different ways to stretch the dough, because otherwise you get bored.”
Touati said that when he performs, he loves the entertainment factor.
“It’s very beautiful, because some people are shocked,” he enthused.
“Some people think it’s food wastage but 90 per cent of people love it, especially the kids.
“When I do pizza acrobatics, my proudest moment is seeing the faces of the kids.”
Youssef Ben Touati will be performing his famed “pizza acrobatics” at the Ingham Italian Australian Festival on Saturday, August 3, on the Parklands Stage at 1:30 pm.