Known as “Mr Pizza”, Melbourne based Johnny Di Francesco is the head of Gradi Group and was named the best in the world at The 2014 World Pizza Championships in Napoli. Johnny’s passion for Italian cusine draws from traditional Neapolitan techniques, with his family originating from Naples. With a host of award wins and many successful restaurants under his belt, Johnny has established himself as a force to be reckoned with internationally. On invitation, Johnny represented his home country in several key pizza events. Judging and competing. Johnny has visited Paris, Las Vegas and Parma to share his expert knowledge and put his unique stamp on the international pizza domain. Culminating in his World Pizza Championship win, Johnny has gained national and international media attention, media coverage and recognition.
The world’s love of Italian food seems to know no bounds and no matter where you travel, you’re likely to find an Italian restaurant. But when it’s a cuisine that has been translated across so many countries and cultures, is Italian cuisine still really Italian?
Australia is a multi-cultural melting pot, and our ethnic diversity is one of the things I love most about living here. We are a nation of migrants, and as the child of immigrants, I am aware of just how lucky we are in this country. It’s a gift I wouldn’t deny anyone else either – but as an employer I see both the pluses and minuses of immigrants in the workplace.
“Fresh produce” has become a buzzword in the last few years, but for a chef, fresh produce is not a trend–it’s our lifeblood. The plated food you serve your customers is only as good as the quality of the produce used in a kitchen. At Gradi Group, one of the most exciting things about the produce we source is that there is a whole lot of Italian culture that goes along with it.
One of the beauties of Italian culture, is it is so deeply steeped in history. Thousands of years of tradition have made Italy what it is today, and it is this history and tradition that serves as the backbone for the food that I make today.