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Jul 22, 2019 11:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

'Master Of Mozzarella' Pasquale Langella Dies At 62 Following Battle With Cancer

Jul 22, 2019 5:28 PM

Pasquale Langella, a partner in East Hampton’s Red Horse Market and a resident of Bohemia, died on July 18 after a battle with cancer. He was 62.He was affectionately known in East Hampton as the “Master of Mozzarella.” In a matching chef’s jacket and hat, Mr. Langella arrived morning after morning at the Red Horse Market just after 7, before the crowds, and with just enough time to repeat the thing that he did over and over again in his precise, practiced way: making perfect mozzarella.

Mr. Langella was born just outside of Naples, Italy, in 1956. One of seven children, “he was the love of his mother’s heart,” his wife, Anna Langella, said. Although the couple were from the same town—her mother was the midwife who delivered him, and she was 3 years old when he was born—the two did not really become acquainted until much later.

It was, Ms. Langella maintains, a love story of fate, and one that would eventually result in a 44-year marriage.

At 17, Mr. Langella emigrated to the United States. In South Ozone Park, Queens, he began working at a pizzeria and then, later, at a pork store, employing the skills he had learned as a child in his grandmother’s kitchen. Speaking only his native tongue, he taught himself English, just as he had taught himself to make mozzarella—by watching.

“He learned everything so quickly,” his wife said. “His grandmother used to make mozzarella. He used to watch her all the time. In Italy, everything was homemade. She’d make the curd and make it into mozzarella. He’d observe, and he just learned it. He just had that gift.”

In 1977, when Mr. Langella was 19, he and Anna married. Nine months later, their son, Michael, was born, followed by daughter Natalie, three years after that.

Fifteen years ago, Mr. Langella and his family came east, when he began working for Joe Guerra’s Citarella offshoot, Tutto Italiano. That store occupied the same storefront that Red Horse Market now occupies, and Mr. Langella spearheaded the pizza and mozzarella department.

Eventually, Tutto Italiano closed, and Mr. Langella moved on to a space in Amagansett, but he drove by the East Hampton spot regularly, dreaming of what could someday be.

After the building had sat vacant for a number of years, the property’s owner, the late builder Ben Krupinski, assembled a team of people who he felt could open a strong business.

“It was the butcher, the baker, and the mozzarella maker,” Jeff Lange, Red Horse partner and longtime friend to Mr. Langella said. “We opened the doors and were busy from day one.”

Red Horse Market drew a distinct following, and not just from its prepared foods and impeccable butcher counter. It was the “Mozzarella Man” whom everyone was clamoring to see.

“Pasquale was always offering samples to the children. It’s a very special place to see the big Italian man, to come to see him making the artisan product,” Mr. Lange added.

Mr. Langella’s mozzarella was recognized throughout the area as superlative, and he took great pride in making it himself, every day, by hand.

“The mozzarella was one of his hallmarks,” Mr. Lange said, although the pizza department, as a whole, was his baby. Mr. Lange said that customers from all over had told him that in their travels around the world, they had found no finer version of mozzarella than the one made by Mr. Langella.

But there was more to Mr. Langella than his mozzarella. His family will remember his generosity of spirit.

“Our love just kept going and going. He was such a humble man,” his wife said. “I am so overwhelmed by the number of people who have known him and have reached out to me. He touched a lot of lives.”

She described a man who brought home flowers, all the time, for no particular reason, just because he loved her. The talent and largess of the Master of Mozzarella will be sorely missed, both by his family and the East End community.

Mr. Langella is survived by his wife; a son, Michael Langella, and daughter-in-law Crystal Langella; a daughter, Natalie Bosconi, and son-in-law Thomas Bosconi; and five grandchildren, Lilianna, Nico, Lucas, Logan and Matteo.

Services for Mr. Langella took place at the Moloney Funeral Home in Bohemia on Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 23.

The family asks that donations be made in Mr. Langella’s name to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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