1)How did your passion for pizza?

My passion for pizza started young, I was 12 years old and loved food. I had a keen interest in my Italian heritage, so combining the two made sense. Plus I wanted to start making my own money!

2) If you had to describe yourself in a pizza, which would you choose?

I think I would have to be the pizza I am most famous for – the margherita. It’s classic, straight-forward but still complex, and delicious!

3) Tradition or innovation. What do you choose to make your pizzas?

I try to choose both, depending on the situation, but my menus are predominantly made up of traditional pizzas and methods. I try to stay true to my heritage and training, but sometimes – such as my recent invention of the 99 cheese pizza – calls for innovation and modern techniques.

4) Tell us about your pizzeria, How did you and what are your future plans?

I currently have two pizzerias in Melbourne. My first, 400 Gradi, is my first restaurant so is still a very special place for me, and I just opened a Cicchetti style bar next door called 400 Cicchetti, which serves smaller dishes and specializes in Italian wine. About two months ago I opened a second restaurant, Gradi, at Melbourne’s Crown Casino on the river. Gradi has a very different look and feel, but maintains my focus on quality food and world-class pizza.
In the future I’d love to set up more pizzerias around the country and around the world, and maybe even expand into other types of Italian cuisines and traditions. Who knows! But I do know that my future will always involve my first love – pizza.

5) What is your favorite pizza from your customers?

My customers have vary varied tastes, so there are a lot of favorites! Many customers come to try the margherita as that’s the one I competed with to win the world championships, but others keep coming back for our dessert style pizza – that’s a particular favorite with our children customers!

6) Do you ever think of going back to Italy?

I do! I travel back to Italy regularly and a piece of my heart will always be there, but Australia is my home. I love that I can combine both of the places I call home every day.

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