Thirteen-time medalist (and six-time champion) in the World Pizza Games, Bruno DiFabio has a magnificent obsession. It’s all about Italian “pie.” In the pursuit of perfecting pizza Romana (which is made with a very wet dough) and Pizza Napoletana (which is baked in a 900°F oven), and learning basically everything there is to know about pizza, DiFabio went on a quest to Italy, to South America, and to California, and studied with some of the world’s best pizza makers. He learned about San Marzano tomatoes and about artisanal cheese and flour (the best flour, he says, comes from Manitoba, Canada). And, with his mentor and master pizza maker and instructor Tony Gemignani, DiFabio co-founded the International School of Pizza, in 2008.
The New York Post has called DiFabio “a twirling dervish” for his dance-like moves when stretching pizza dough. But then again, he’s had lots of practice, starting from age 12 when he worked with his grandfather Angelo at his restaurant, Tony’s Italian Kitchen, in Manhattan. DiFabio, whose family roots are in Abruzzo, Italy, went on to work at a Stamford, Connecticut, pizza place, which he grew up to buy and turn into Amore restaurant. With 12 restaurants around the country, and even a handful in London, this regular on the Food Network (Food Network Challenge: Pizza Champions; Chopped) still feels he has a lot to learn about his favorite subject.
At DiFabio’s Ré Napoli Pizzeria & Chicago Italian Beef in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, he may serve juicy Chicago beef cooked in a wood-fire oven, but what you really want is the Pizza Margherita, which won him the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, or a Napoletana with Puglian Burrata or smoked Wisconsin mozzarella, among other cheeses. For pizziaolo Bruno DiFabio, the pizza’s the thing.