Here’s Johnny

When Australia’s best barista takes to the world stage to compete in the annual World Barista Championship (WBC) against national champions, they usually travel with an entourage of coaches, colleagues, and supporters. When Melbourne chef and restaurateur Johnny Di Francesco travelled to Parma, Italy in 2014 for the Pizza World Championship, he flew solo. Armed with confidence and a love for pizza-making, Johnny fronted the judges with his signature Margherita pizza, and came out on top against 600 competitors from 35 countries.

The news spread quickly. World media picked up Johnny’s unlikely win, with headlines reading, “World’s best pizza not in Italy”, and “Australian chef wins prize for best Pizza Margherita”. Overnight, Johnny Di Francesco became a household name.

“I could never have imagined the reaction I would receive across the country or the world. It’s a competition that’s been around for 28 years and to be the first Australian to go to Italy and win was so memorable,” Johnny says.

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