Welcome to The Gradi Group - Home of 2014 World Pizza Champion Johnny Di Francesco's famous Pizza Margherita
Born from a desire to bring traditional, authentic Neapolitan cuisine to Melbourne, The Gradi Group offers customers the ultimate Italian dining experience. Though it was not the love for Italian food that started this Group, for it was the desire for a pair of sneakers.
Since the young age of 12, The Gradi Group founder, Johnny Di Francesco has had a love for pizza and traditional Italian food that has driven him. Starting at the very bottom, Johnny began working in a pizzeria after school so he could buy himself the sneakers that his parents could not afford. Working his way up the ranks, Johnny developed an undeniable love for the food he was creating and by the age of 15, he was hooked.
Having commenced an engineering degree, Johnny realised within his first lecture that he was constantly day dreaming about getting back to his job at the pizza shop. Gathering his things, he excused himself to go to the bathroom and never returned. Johnny's life as a restaurateur began.
After heading to Italy to train in traditional techniques, methods and in restaurants across the country, Johnny returned to Melbourne determined to introduce the food of Naples to his homeland in Melbourne.
THE BIRTH OF 400 GRADI
In 2008, 400 Gradi was born with the opening of 400 Gradi Brunswick in Melbourne. 400 Gradi refers to the high temperature at which a thin-based traditional Neapolitan pizza is cooked (just for 90 seconds!) in a wood-fired oven.
In April 2014, Johnny was crowned the World Pizza Champion at the Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza in Italy, the first Australian to have ever won. Competing against 600 other competitors from 35 counties, Johnny's Margherita pizza took out the top prize. Now a Melbourne Institution, 400 Gradi embodies Johnny's passion and love of food and has resulted in the expansion of The Gradi Group.
INTERSTATE AND INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
Today, 400 Gradi now has restaurants in Essendon and at Eastland shopping centre in Ringwood, as well as a coveted position at Crown Melbourne.
Johnny has also opened Zero Gradi; a gelateria serving traditional handmade gelato next door to 400 Gradi in Brunswick. 400 Gradi has also set sail permanently on P&O's Pacific Explorer cruiser ship.
In late 2017, the first 400 Gradi restaurant opened in Bahrain with Kuwait following early 2018. Additional 400 Gradi restaurants are due to open in the coming future, providing opportunities for our expanding recruitment family.
AN AUTHORITY ON PIZZA NAPOLETANA
400 Gradi adheres to the guidelines of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the world authority on traditional Neapolitan pizza). Johnny was the first ever Australian inducted into the AVPN, and is the Principal of Australasia for the Association.
As such, Johnny and 400 Gradi have solidified their place as an authority on traditional Neapolitan pizza. 400 Gradi restaurants excel not only in serving up heavenly fare, but also in offering the warmth and hospitality that Italians are known and loved for.