Johnny Di Francesco – 400 Gradi

Johnny Di Francesco’s passion for pizza started at the back of a pizzeria where he would spend his days washing dishes. But as he moved up the ranks of the restaurant and learnt more about the exquisite simplicity of Italian cooking he fell in love and turned his love for pizza into a booming international business.

400 Gradi first opened its doors 10 years ago and have expanded exponentially since then. “I’m thrilled to be expanding on home soil and into the USA, and I’m very proud that we will have more than 10 venues since opening our very first in Brunswick” Francesco said. The chain’s latest editions include a restaurant at Auckland Airport and an outlet on the Pacific Explorer.

Despite international success, Francesco maintains that love and respect for cooking still sit at the heart of their business.

“400 Gradi kitchens are always full of passion. It’s fast paced and full of Italian influence, we love to create the most authentic meals for our customers to taste the best of Italy,” he explained. 400 Gradi has created a strong image, which balances adventurous new endeavours with traditional techniques. “I am a firm believer in always keeping out dishes authentic and being true to Neapolitan flavours, and I am a huge believer in simplicity and letting quality ingredients speak for themselves.”

Francesco was the first Australian chef to ever receive training at the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletena. “It was through my time at the AVPN that I learned the importance of tradition and culture, and to never compromise on quality,” he explained. Francesco was able to bring what he had learnt at the AVPN back to Australia and received the award for World’s Best Pizza in 2014, putting 400 Gradi and Australia on the tip of pizza lovers’ tongues all around the world.

Francesco will continue to expand 400 Gradi across Australia and internationally in the coming years, bringing Italian excellence to the tables of pizza lovers across the globe.