Monday 21st July 2014

Melbourne pizza maker Johnny Di Francesco crowned World Pizza Champion

Johnny Di Francesco, owner of 400 Gradi in Brunswick, has once again done Australia proud, taking out the #1 spot at the Pizza World Championship in Italy.
Source: News Corp Australia A MELBOURNE pizza maker will return to his woodfired oven in Lygon St tonight as the World Pizza Champion.

Johnny Di Francesco arrived home today after taking top honours against 600 competitors from 35 countries at the Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza (Pizza World Championship) in Parma, Italy.

Mr Di Francesco’s margherita pizza, which he makes day in, day out at his Brunswick eatery 400 Gradi, was judged the best in the world.

He told Herald Sun Confidential: “It’s exciting to win a world pizza competition in Italy, the home of pizza. Amazing.

Johnny Di Francesco’s winning pizza.

Johnny Di Francesco’s winning pizza. Source: News Corp Australia

“I was up against the best pizza makers in the world and I did everything right on the day.

“My dough was perfect, the ingredients were the same I use in my restaurant everyday. I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I did what I do in Brunswick everyday.”

He added: “It’s great to put Australia on the map. You don’t have to go to Europe or Italy to get quality pizza. We make world class products right here.”

A traditionalist, Mr Di Francesco says he strives to educate Australians about authentic pizza.

“I say there are two pizzas in the world: pizza, and pizza napoletana. Pizza came out of Naples.

I’m very passionate about that. I never say one pizza is better than the other. But if you want traditional pizza, pizza napoletana is the one you need to eat.

Johnny Di Francesco with daughter Claudia, 7.

Johnny Di Francesco with daughter Claudia, 7. Source: News Corp Australia

“A lot of people think pizza should be thin and crispy like a biscuit. But our pizza is soft, pliable and foldable. That’s the way a napoletana pizza is supposed to be.

“My struggle has been trying to educate the Australian public about pizza. I want to keep it traditional.”

He’ll also keep his now-famous margherita pizza at the same price.

“We sell a high quality product at a really competitive price,” Mr Di Francesco said. “I want to leave it that way.”

And the world champion won’t be resting on his laurels, either. “I’ll be making pizza tonight,” Mr Di Francesco smiled. “I’m always behind the oven. That’s what I do.”