To be considered or singled out among the thousands of other pizza chefs in the world is a huge accomplishment in the industry. To be one of the top ten the world is even more impressive. These chefs have all made a name for themselves after years of practice, determination, experimentation, and fine-tuning their craft: the art of the pizza. Many of them come from pizza’s homeland: Italy, but a few stand out from abroad.
1. Franco Pepe
His early years found him in the kitchen with his brothers, gathering all the knowledge he would need to become considered one of the top ten pizzaiolos in the world. It is said that Pepe is known for acknowledging the fact that dough is a living organism because it is made of yeast, so he allows it to tell him when it is done proofing. Being that in touch with his craft is what makes him one of the best. His restaurant, Pepe in Grani, is located in Caiazzo northeast of Napoli, Italy.
2. Gabrielle Bonci
It is said that Bonci’s pizza by the slice restaurant, Pizzarium, is the most revered in Rome. Considering pizza’s history there, that is something to stand out. Known globally as the ‘Michelangelo of Pizza,” Chef Bonci also had a young start in the business. He began his training as many chefs did, in his teenage years in restaurants but knew he wanted to be a chef at very early age.
3. Ciro Salvo
Chef Salvo had the advantage of pizza being a family business to follow. His grandmother opened a pizzeria which was succeeded by his father, and eventually himself. It was the natural progression to do so. His admired legacy, 50 Kalo, is located in Rome, Italy.
4. Franco Caffara
Caffara started at the bottom and worked his way up in the industry of pizza baking. He began as a dishwasher and apprentice in an esteemed restaurant while still in school. This beginning allowed him to observe every aspect of pizza baking from start to finish where his love and knowledge of the subject grew.
5. Chris Bianco
The only chef known for pizza to win a coveted James Beard Award, Chef Bianco is one of few chefs to stand out from all of the Italian pizza artisans. A Bronx native, he began his career in food young as well. He pursued his passion for pizza following a family vacation to Italy. His restaurant, Pizzeria Bianco has become a Phoenix, Arizona staple.
6. Enzo Coccia
You would be hardpressed to find a negative word about Chef Coccia’s craftsmanship or passion. He is very humble when it comes to hearing how good he truly is. Well-known sources have claimed his restaurant, Pizzeria La Notizia, is the best in all of Italy. Also bred by a family-run business, Coccia’s passion was as much for making pizza as the technique and ingredients that went into it.
7. Nancy Silverton
With awards like “Pastry chef of the year,” the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Restaurant,” and being at the helm of one of the most successful and well-known bread companies in the world, La Brea Bakery, Nancy Silverton’s name is synonymous with bread and everything that could go on it, especially pizza. Her restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza is a partnership with celebrity chef Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich, and is located in Los Angeles, California.
8. Michele Condurro
The patriarch of the Condurro family in Naples, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, is a true legacy. His family restaurant was opened in 1906 at its original location and has been in its current location since 1930. He passed down through five generations of Condurros, the right way to make pizza in that nothing extra be added and letting the ingredients shine.
9. The Salvo Brothers, Francesco and Salvatore
Intrigued by modernizing the timeless tradition of the pizza, owners of Pizzeria Fratelli Salvo, Francesco and Salvatore Salvo seem to be the most modern and in touch with the social media. They provide videos on recipes and run blogs, consider wine and food pairings and are always looking for ways to improve on their craft. Like so many before them, they grew up in a pizzeria setting but have built a huge following.
10. Carlo Mirarchi
Chef of two premier restaurants in Brooklyn, Mirarchi is very much in touch with both his employees and his patrons. He values all opinions and embodies farm to fork in each pizza he makes by being a regular at the neighborhood farmer’s market. This love of produce and ingredients spurred from growing up on a farm.
Chefs all over the world have made pizzas in one form of another. Some are able to rise above the rest due to the art of pizza being in their blood. Others have grown recognition by watching those before them perfecting their craft. It can be concluded that all of the above chefs are some of the best at what they do.