Johnny Di Francesco started making pizzas when he was 12 and opened his first pizza shop in Moonee Ponds at the ripe old age of 18. A number of years later, and now a proper adult, he has incorporated tradition and heritage into his pizza making process at 400 Gradi, creating what are arguably some of the better pizzas in town.
Any good pizzaiolo knows that a quality pizza starts with the dough. It’s a thoughtful, evolving and time-consuming process. Di Francesco realised this and decided to go back to the basics, taking a course with the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a Naples-based international association of which he has since become the Australasian principal. Pizza making sounds simple, and in a way it is, but it’s the time, the rotation of the dough and the quality of the ingredients that make it something special. The dough at 400 gradi is subtle in flavour, slightly charred, a little chewy and pliable.
It’s the simplicity, the quality, the time, knowledge and skill that transform a good pizza into a great one – studying in Naples to perfect your craft doesn’t hurt either.