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Meet Paolo Diana

(5 minute read)

With the launch our new spring pizza menu, we caught up with Paolo Diana, the talented chef behind it. 

Pizza paddle in hand, you’ll find Paolo next to the woodfired oven in our Victorian-style Glasshouse overlooking the lake, serving up classic Italian flavours with carefully selected ingredients – some of which are grown just a few steps away. 

We spoke to Paolo about how he honed his passion for pizza while working in Naples, what drew him to the Lake District, and his new secret pizza dough recipe…

My background as a pizza chef is…

“Let’s start by saying that for me making pizza is a passion.

I started my career when I was 17. Even at that age, I had very clear ideas – I knew I wanted to be a pizza chef. I started as an assistant to a pizza chef in Naples, Italy (the city where the pizza was born). I just prepared the toppings initially; only after service was done would I make pizzas for the staff in a woodfired oven (for me, the best oven to work with when you make pizzas).”

I was drawn to the Lake District because…

“I came to the UK to have a different experience outside Italy. Having lived in Bologna for most of my life, I’d left home at 17 to travel around Italy before settling in Naples to learn the real Neapolitan pizza. From Italy, I came to Cumbria, and worked at an Italian restaurant before coming to Another Place. My plan was to stay one year or so, but I met Janira, my girlfriend (who’s Italian too) – we work together at Another Place. We both love the Lake District and see our life here.”

The Glasshouse aerial shot with the gardens

My highlights of working in the Glasshouse are…

“Simple: getting to work with the brilliant woodfired oven, and the views of Ullswater every day. It reminds me a bit of working in Italy by the sea, even if it’s not the same thing!”

Another Place is a great destination for pizza lovers because…

“I think the pizza at Another Place is the best in the Lakes – not only because of the dough [see below], but also because of the fresh ingredients that we use from our fantastic vegetable patch. The variety of toppings change seasonally, and also the pizzas on the menu that I collaborate on with the head chef Shaun Dixon.”

The ingredients from the Another Place garden include…

“Depending on the time of year, we’ll use: fresh rocket, yellow and green courgettes, squashes, corn on the cob, marrows, leeks, beetroot, cauliflowers – and, of course, herbs like basil, oregano and  thyme. We’re hoping to start growing chillies and tomatoes in the Glasshouse too.”

Kneading dough in the Glasshouse

My pizza dough recipe has improved because…

“Lots of experimentation! When I started at Another Place in summer 2022, my pizza dough recipe was a basic Italian pizza dough, nice and simple. Over the winter break, I decided to evolve it  to be better and more sophisticated. 

It’s a secret recipe – so I won’t tell you! But I will say that it now contains a lot more water, so it’s a more difficult dough to work with. But the extra water makes the pizza’s crust hollow and crunchy. The dough is also much lighter because it contains very little yeast.”

My favourite drink to accompany a pizza is…

“A nice cold beer, on the deck looking out over the lake!”

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