Tony Gemignani

Last updated
Tony Gemignani
Tony Gemignani at his restaurant, Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco.
Anthony Felix Gemignani

(1973-08-23) August 23, 1973 (age 47)
Julie White Gemignani
(m. 2000)
Culinary career
Cooking styleItalian

Anthony Felix Gemignani (born August 23, 1973) is a 13-time World Pizza Champion, [1] [2] master instructor at the International School of Pizza, two-time Food Network gold medalist, restaurateur of 30 concepts, author and reality television personality. Gemignani is the president of the World Pizza Champions, a multiple Guinness World Record holder, [3] and is the owner and executive chef of several restaurants.


Early life and career

Gemignani was born in Fremont, California to Frank and Eileen Gemignani. [4] He grew up on his family's apricot farm with his grandfather, parents and older brother, and is a third generation Italian American. [5] [6] [7]

Gemignani graduated from Washington High School in Fremont, [8] after which he began working at his brother Frank Jr.'s restaurant, Pyzano's, in Castro Valley, California, in 1991. [9] Gemignani began his pizza acrobatic career while at Pyzano's as a way to entertain customers and to show the quality of the dough to diners. [10] He competed all over the world, winning 8 world champion titles for pizza acrobatics between 1995–2007, and earning himself the nickname of the "Michael Jordan of Pizza Throwing". [3] [11] Gemignani traveled the world for 16 years, competing, working in others' kitchens, and learning about regional styles which allowed him to learn each style of pizza and perfect it. [12]

In 2000, while on his honeymoon in Sorrento, Italy, he and his wife Julie dined at Trianon da Ciro in Naples, which motivated him into a lifelong quest to keep learning and striving to become a better pizzaiolo. He paid careful attention to the authentic craft of each style of pizza, respecting its history, while aiming to make it better. [10] This attitude birthed his motto "Respect the Craft" which can be seen on his websites, books, and even tattooed on his hands. [13]

Gemignani formed the World Pizza Champions in 2005, which is made up of over 60 team members who have each earned the highest awards in the pizza industry, along with television appearances, Guinness World Records, and respect as leading professionals and pioneers in the pizza industry. [14]

In 2007, Gemignani took the title of "World Champion Pizza Maker" at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy. [3] Gemignani was the first American and non-Neapolitan to ever take this title. [15] Gemignani is the first and only Triple Crown winner for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Lecce, Italy, meaning, he won three first place titles in one competition. [16]


Tony's Pizza Napoletana

Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, CA. Tonysexterior.jpg
Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, CA.

Gemignani opened his first restaurant, Tony's Pizza Napoletana, in July 2009, with partners Bruno DiFabio and Nancy Puglisi, in San Francisco's North Beach. The restaurant has 7 pizza ovens. [17]

Tony's Pizza Napoletana is recognized as one of the city's best pizzerias. Along with being named "The Best Pizzeria in America" by Forbes magazine, [18] the restaurant has received multiple accolades in a number of publications, both local and national, including Zagat, [19] USA Today , [20] The San Francisco Chronicle , [21] The Huffington Post , [22] Food and Wine , [23] Travel + Leisure , [24] Fox News, [25] and others.

The Original Slicehouse & Coal-Fired Pizza by Tony Gemignani

New York Style Slice, the Purple Potato Pesto at Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slicehouse in San Francisco. Purplepotato.jpg
New York Style Slice, the Purple Potato Pesto at Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slicehouse in San Francisco.

Opening in 2010, Gemignani took ownership of an adjacent deli. [26] Seeing this as an opportunity to serve more styles of pizzas like classic New York style slices, Sicilian, and California style slices, along with Chicago Beef Sandwiches and other deli favorites, the slicehouse allowed people to enjoy Gemignani's pizza without the infamous wait times seen at his flagship restaurant. [27]

Since the opening in North Beach, Gemignani has expanded his slice house concept to include concessions stalls in Oracle Park & Chase Center, as well as multiple locations in California and Nevada under the name Slice House by Tony Gemignani. [28] [29] [30] Tony G's Super Delicious Pizza is Tony Gemignani's newest slice house concept in Meridian, Idaho with its delivery only concept under Crave Delivery. [31]

Pizza Rock

Pizza Rock's iconic Semi-Truck, outfitted with a DJ Booth. Pizza Rock's Semi Truck.JPG
Pizza Rock's iconic Semi-Truck, outfitted with a DJ Booth.

In 2011, Gemignani, Hewitt and Karpaty opened Pizza Rock in Sacramento California, with a focus on rock 'n' roll and great pizza. Pizza Rock offers many of the same items as Tony's Pizza Napoletana but features events such as Acoustic Brunch and live DJs performing from a custom Peterbilt truck. [32] [33] Now in Sacramento, California, Las Vegas, and Henderson, Nevada, Pizza Rock has received accolades in a number of publications, including the Sacramento [34] and The Chew . [35]


Capo's 2016 award winning pizza, The Crown Point. Caposwiki.jpg
Capo's 2016 award winning pizza, The Crown Point.

Gemignani's Chicago-style pizza and whiskey bar, Capo's, opened in November 2012 just two blocks away from Tony's Pizza Napoletana; it was designed to feel like a prohibition era speakeasy. [36] The restaurant invites family style dining, serving four styles of Chicago-style pizza: Deep Dish, Stuffed, Cast Iron Pan, and Cracker Thin; along with Southern Italian dishes. Favorite items include the Quattro Forni, a thick, square cut pizza cooked in four ovens that is a variation on a pizza baked in three ovens that won Gemignani an international championship; [37] The Dillinger and The Crown Point, Cast Iron Pan pizzas, that won the World's Best Pan Pizza and the Best of the Best at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas in 2014 and 2016, and subsequently earned Chef Matt Molina the title of Pizza Maker of the Year in 2014 and Best of the Best Champion in 2016. [38] [39] [40]

Tony's of North Beach

Gemignani's Award Winning Margherita Pizza at Tony's of North Beach in Rohnert Park, California. Margwiki.jpg
Gemignani's Award Winning Margherita Pizza at Tony's of North Beach in Rohnert Park, California.

Opened in 2013 at the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, California, Tony's of North Beach offers many styles of pizzas made by Tony Gemignani. The menu offers eight kinds of pizzas made in three different kinds of ovens, family-style pasta dinners, sandwiches, and salads. [41]

International School of Pizza

Tony and instructor Laura Meyer with a class of graduating students of the International School of Pizza. Isop20.jpg
Tony and instructor Laura Meyer with a class of graduating students of the International School of Pizza.

Gemigani is the first certified Master Instructor in the United States. [42] [ by whom? ] He opened the International School of Pizza and the United States School of Pizza under the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli. Gemignani and his fellow instructors certify students from around the world, and the certifications come direct from Italy with strict guidelines and theory followed from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli. [43] [44] Gemignani also offers non-professional home chef courses, designed to teach home cooks how to make restaurant quality pizza in their own kitchens. [45]


Tony outside of Giovanni Italian Specialties in North Beach, San Francisco. Giovannis.jpg
Tony outside of Giovanni Italian Specialties in North Beach, San Francisco.

Giovanni Italian Specialties opened in October of 2017, Tony brought an "old-world Italian specialties shop" to the neighborhood of North Beach. [46] Giovanni Italian Specialties offers fresh pasta, specialty cooking tools, cook books, and offers focaccia and piadina daily. [47]

Tony Gemignani’s California Artisan Type 00 Pizza Blend flour is made by Central Milling. [48]


Television appearances
YearEpisode titleShowChannelSeasonNotes
2013A Bar Full of Bull Bar Rescue Spike TV season 3, episode 17 [49]
2013Jon of the Dead Bar Rescue Spike TVseason 3, episode 21 [50]
2014World Pizza Champ Turns Dough Into…DoughTaking Stock with Pimm Fox BloombergTV [51]
On Location: Pizza Rock Vegas The Chew [35] [ dead link ]
Pizza Paradise 2 Food Paradise Travel Channel season 0, episode 41 [52] [53]
Pizza ChampionsChallenge Food Network Michael Shepherd, Joe Carlucci, Siler Chapman and Tony Gemignani compete at Mall of America. [54]
The Pizza Show Viceland [ citation needed ]
Cirque du Pizza: The Art of Pizza Acrobatics Great Big Story CNN Micro-documentary. [55]
Sin City Eats Cheap Eats Cooking Channel season 4, episode 10 [56]
Ryan's Yummy Playdate/Ryan's Speedy Playdate Ryan's Mystery Playdate [ citation needed ]


Tony Gemignani at his restaurant Tony's Pizza Napoletana for The Pizza Bible release party on October 21st, 2014 with Susie Heller, Steve Siegelman, and Jacques Pepin. TonySteveSusieJacques.JPG
Tony Gemignani at his restaurant Tony's Pizza Napoletana for The Pizza Bible release party on October 21st, 2014 with Susie Heller, Steve Siegelman, and Jacques Pépin.

Gemignani has authored three books:



Guinness Book of World Records

Related Research Articles

Pizza Usually savory dish of flattened bread and toppings

Pizza is a savory dish of Italian origin consisting of a usually round, flattened base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients, which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven. A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta. A person who makes pizza is known as a pizzaiolo.

Chicago-style pizza Styles of pizza developed in Chicago, including deep-dish pizza

Chicago-style pizza is pizza prepared according to several different styles developed in Chicago. The most famous is the deep-dish pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge which provides ample space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizza may be prepared in deep-dish style and as a stuffed pizza.

New York-style pizza Large hand-tossed thin crust pizza

New York–style pizza is pizza made with a characteristically large hand-tossed thin crust, often sold in wide slices to go. The crust is thick and crisp only along its edge, yet soft, thin, and pliable enough beneath its toppings to be folded in half to eat. Traditional toppings are simply tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, commonly known as Pepe's, is a popular pizza restaurant in the Wooster Square neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, at 163 Wooster Street. Opened in 1925, it is one of the oldest and best known pizzerias in the United States.

New Haven-style pizza

New Haven-style pizza, locally known as apizza, is a style of thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan pizza common in and around New Haven, Connecticut. It originated at the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and is now served in many other pizza restaurants in the area, most notably Sally's Apizza and Modern Apizza. This geographically limited pizza style has been favorably referenced by national critics.

California-style pizza

California-style pizza is a style of single-serving pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. Wolfgang Puck, after meeting LaDou, popularized the style of pizza in the rest of the country. It is served in many California Cuisine restaurants. Such restaurant chains as California Pizza Kitchen, Round Table Pizza, Extreme Pizza, and Sammy's Woodfired Pizza are four major pizza franchises associated with California-style pizza.

World Pizza Championship

The World Pizza Championship is an event held annually to determine the world's best pizza makers. It began in 1991 and is organised by the magazine Pizza e Pasta Italiana and PizzaNew. In 2008, over 20 countries competed Pizzas are judged by preparation, taste, bake and presentation. Pizza competitions include those for fastest pizza maker, freestyle acrobatics and the largest dough stretch. Salsomaggiore Terme (Parma), Italy, is the site of the championships, although several other cities likewise claim to be the home of the ultimate international pizza games including Naples and Paris.

History of pizza History of the food known as pizza

The history of pizza begins in antiquity, when various ancient cultures produced basic flatbreads with several toppings.

Detroit-style pizza Style of pizza developed in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular pizza with a thick crust that is crispy and chewy. It is traditionally topped with Wisconsin brick cheese, then tomato sauce layered on top of the other toppings. This style of pizza is often baked in rectangular steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans or to hold small industrial parts in factories. The style was developed during the mid-twentieth century in Detroit before spreading to other parts of the United States in the 2010s. The dish is one of Detroit's iconic local foods.

Neapolitan pizza Style of pizza made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese

Neapolitan pizza also known as Naples-style pizza, is a style of pizza made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It must be made with either San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, a protected designation of origin cheese made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state, or "Fior di Latte di Agerola", a cow milk mozzarella made exclusively in the Agerola comune. Neapolitan pizza is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) product in Europe, and the art of its making is included on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. This style of pizza gave rise to the New York-style pizza that was first made by Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.

Pizza in the United States

Numerous regional variations of pizza in the United States have been developed, with many bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Pizza became most popular in America after soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza became an iconic dish of considerable popularity in the United States. The American slang term za can also refer to pizza. The thickness of the crust depends on what the consumer prefers; both thick and thin crust are popular. Often, foods such as barbecued chicken and bacon cheeseburgers are used to create new types of pizza.

Pizzeria Bianco Pizza restaurant in downtown Phoenix

Pizzeria Bianco is a pizza restaurant in downtown Phoenix, Arizona established in 1987 that has earned very positive reviews by notable food critics. Nationally recognized for its pizzas, the restaurant's small seating capacity can lead to wait times that sometimes surprise casual patrons. The restaurant features a wood-fired oven and homemade mozzarella cheese used in pizzas primarily fashioned by the owner himself. In 2013, the restaurant established a second location in the Biltmore Area of Phoenix.

Numero 28

Numero 28 is an Italian restaurant chain, headquartered in New York City, with outlets in Austin and Miami Beach.

Modern Apizza

Modern Apizza is an American pizza restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. Along with Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally's Apizza, Modern forms what is informally referred to by locals as the "Holy Trinity" of New Haven-style pizza; the three pizza parlors are consistently ranked by food critics as some of the best pizza places in the world.

Antico Pizza

Antico Pizza Napoletana is a pizzeria located in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2015, it is considered the 7th highest rated pizzeria in the United States by TripAdvisor.

Tonys Pizza Napoletana Restaurant in San Francisco, California

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is a pizzeria located in San Francisco, California on Stockton Street which serves Neapolitan styled pizza. In 2015, it was considered the 5th highest rated pizzeria in the United States by TripAdvisor.

Pizza by the slice

Pizza by the slice is a fast food purveyed by pizzeria restaurants and food stands as prepared slices of pizza. It is a common dish and street food in various areas of the world. Some restaurants and pizza stands only sell pizza by the slice, while others sell both slices and whole pizzas. The jumbo slice is a large-sized slice of New York-style pizza that is a prominent food in Washington, D.C. Pizza al taglio is a variety of pizza that originated in Rome, Italy and is typically purveyed by the slice and sold by weight.

Ann Kim is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


  1. The Mercury News . Retrieved 10 December 2018.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. Pizza Today . Retrieved 25 April 2016.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. 1 2 3 "Tony Gemignani 11 Time World Pizza Champion". World Pizza Champions. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  4. Gemignani, Tony (February 25, 2009). Tony and the Pizza Champions. Chronicle Books. p. Forward. ISBN   978-0811861625.
  5. "Tony Gemignani, World Pizza Champion, Co-owner of Pyzano's Pizzeria". Legends of Pizza. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  6. P., Erin. "4 star review: the pizza bible by tony gemignani". Jump Into Books. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  7. Kurhi, Eric (August 6, 2007). "Rolling in dough comes naturally for pizza king". Contra Costa Times.
  8. Coomes, Steve (March 19, 2012). "Under the Toque: Tony Gemignani". Nation's Restaurant News.
  9. Gemignani, Tony; Morgan, Diane (July 28, 2005). Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. Chronicle Books. p. 87. ISBN   0811845540.
  10. 1 2 Pierleoni, Allen (September 28, 2014). "Feast Q&A: Pizza Rock's Tony Gemignani on his life of pie". The Sacramento Bee.
  11. Kuban, Adam. "Bay Area Pizzaiolo Seeks Perfect Oven". Serious Eats. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  12. "Tony Gemignani at Google on the Pizza Bible". Legends of Pizza. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  13. Internicola, Dorene. "World Chefs: Pizza master tosses pie-making secrets in new book". Reuters. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  14. "About the World Pizza Champions". World Pizza Champions. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  15. Shavelson, Lonny. "American Pizza Chefs Study With The Master". NPR. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  16. "Tony Gemignani Wins Triple Crown". The Pizza Therapy Forum and Pasta Therapy Forum. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  17. "About". Tony's Pizza Napoletana. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  18. Olmsted, Larry. "The Best Pizzeria in America". Forbes. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  19. "30 under 30". Zagat. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  20. Olmsted, Larry. "Great American Bites: Is the USA's best pizzeria in San Francisco?". USA Today. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  21. Bauer, Michael (2009-09-06). "Tony's Pizza Napoletana rich in flavor, choices". SF Gate. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  22. "Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the U.S." Huffington Post. 2014-04-02. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  23. "America's Coolest Pizza Ovens" . Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  24. "Americas Best Cities for Pizza". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  25. "Top 10 pizza restaurants in the US". Fox News. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  26. Kover, David. "San Francisco: Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House". Serious Eats. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  27. Lerer, Steven. "Review: Tony's Pizza Napoletana". Fit Food Fun. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  28. Stapleton, Susan (2015-02-03). "Tony Gemignani's Domination of the Vegas Pizza Scene Continues with Slice House". Eater. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  29. Sweet, Carey. "Inside Tony's of North Beach at Graton Resort & Casino". Inside Scoop SF. SF Gate.
  30. Lucchesi, Paolo. "Tony Gemignani opening Slice House in AT&T Park". Inside Scoop SF. SF Gate. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  31. Deeds, Michael. "This chef won world pizza championships in Italy. He just opened for Boise delivery". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  32. Garner, Kati (2011-01-13). "Meet Downtown's New K Street". Sacramento Press. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  33. "Sacramento's K Street to get new look in 2011". News 10 ABC. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  34. O’Donnell, Kira (2011-03-17). "Review: Pizza Rock" . Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  35. 1 2 "On Location: Pizza Rock Vegas". ABC. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  36. Lucchesi, Paolo. "Let's talk about Capo's, Tony Gemignani's forthcoming North Beach restaurant". Inside Scoop SF. SF Gate. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  37. Palmer, Tamara. "Capo's Quattro Forni Gets Four Times The Love". SF Weekly. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  38. Mayclem, Liam (2014-05-12). "Foodie Chap With Chef Matt Molina of Capo's San Francisco". CBS Local. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  39. "The 2014 International Pizza Challenge winners are…". Pizza Today. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  40. Kane, Peter. "The Crown Point, Matt Molina's "Best of the Best" Pizza at Capo's". SF Weekly. SF Weekly. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  41. Sweet, Carey. "Inside Tony's of North Beach at Graton Resort & Casino". Inside Scoop SF. SF Gate. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  42. "Tony, the Pizza Champ?". The Epicurean Zealot. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  43. "Tony Gemignani and the International School of Pizza!". Passion 4 Pizza. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  44. Shavelson, Lonny. "American Pizza Chefs Study With The Master". NPR. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  45. Benes, Alejandro. "Pizza School". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  46. Scerrato, Alisa. "'Giovanni Italian Specialities' Now Open In North Beach". Hoodline. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  47. Pershan, Caleb. "Tony Gemignani's New Retail Store Has Fresh Pasta, Focaccia, and Detroit Pizza Pans". Eater SF. Eater. Retrieved Nov 20, 2017.
  48. "Tony Gemignani Flour // Tony Gemignani's California Artisan Type 00 Pizza Blend". Central Milling. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  49. "A Bar Full of Bull". Spike TV. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  50. "Jon of the Dead". Spike TV. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  51. "World Pizza Champ Turns Dough Into...Dough". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  52. "Food Paradise: Pizza Paradise 2". Travel Channel. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  53. "Food Paradise: Pizza Paradise 2". Travel Channel.
  54. "Challenge: Pizza Champions". Food Network. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  55. "Cirque du Pizza: The Art of Pizza Acrobatics". Great Big Story. CNN.
  56. "Sin City Eats". Cooking Channel.
  57. Gemignani, Tony (2005). Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN   978-0811845540.
  58. Gemignani, Tony (2009). Tony and the pizza champions. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN   978-0811861625.
  59. Gemignani, Tony (2014). The Pizza Bible. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN   978-1607746058.
  60. Avoral, Linda (2018-11-30). "Port wine pizza?! Tony Gemignani wins a 13th title with this one". The Mercury News. The Mercury News. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  61. Palmer, Tamara (2016-04-21). "This American Chef Just Won First Prize in Italy's Pizza Championship: Here's Where to Try His Pies". Bravo TV. Bravo TV. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  62. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "Tony Gemignani 11 time world pizza champion". World Pizza Champions. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  63. "Tony Gemignani from Legends of Pizza". Legends of Pizza. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  64. "Largest pizza base spun in two minutes". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  65. Cox, Jeff (2013-12-14). "Cox: Superstar of Pizza". Press Democrat. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  66. "Longest Pizza". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  67. "San Francisco sets new world record for pizza dough tossing". abc7News. 2014-06-29. Retrieved 14 January 2018.