Tony Gemignani

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

(1973-08-23) August 23, 1973 (age 46)
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 21 concepts, author and reality television personality. Gemignani is the president of the World Pizza Champions, is also a multiple Guinness World Record holder[3] and is the owner and executive chef of several restaurants.

Early life and career[edit]

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][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 Cir in Naples, which motivates him into a lifelong quest to keep learning and striving to become a better pizzaiolo, by paying careful attention to the authentic craft of each style of pizza, respecting its history, while striving 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. That night he had to be escorted off stage by local police and urged not to cheer for fear of being attacked by the crowd.[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[edit]

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[edit]

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 AT&T Ballpark, as well as multiple locations in California and Nevada under the name Slice House by Tony Gemignani.[28][29][30]

Pizza Rock[edit]

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.[31][32] Now in Sacramento, California, Las Vegas, and Henderson, Nevada, Pizza Rock has received accolades in a number of publications, including the Sacramento[33] and The Chew.[34]


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.[35] 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;[36] 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.[37][38][39]

Tony's of North Beach[edit]

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.[40]

International School of Pizza[edit]

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.[41] 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.[42][43] Gemignani also offers non-professional home chef courses, designed to teach home cooks how to make restaurant quality pizza in their own kitchens.[44]


Giovanni Italian Specialties[edit]

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

Opened in October of 2017, Tony brought an "old-world Italian specialties shop" to the neighborhood of North Beach.[45] Giovanni Italian Specialties offers fresh pasta, specialty cooking tools, cook books, and offers focaccia and piadina daily.[46]


Tony Gemignani’s California Artisan Type 00 Pizza Blend is made by Central Milling.[47]

Television appearances[edit]


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[edit]

  • Largest pizza base spun in two minutes (36.5 inches) 2006[62]
  • Most Consecutive Rolls Across the Shoulders in 30 seconds (37 times) 2006[63]
  • World's Longest Pizza (1,930.39 m) 2017[64]
  • Most people tossing pizza dough (263) 2014[65]


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  4. ^ Gemignani, Tony (February 25, 2009). Tony and the Pizza Champions. Chronicle Books. p. Forward. ISBN 978-0811861625.
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  9. ^ a b Gemignani, Tony; Morgan, Diane (July 28, 2005). Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. Chronicle Books. p. 87. ISBN 0811845540.
  10. ^ a b Pierleoni, Allen (September 28, 2014). "Feast Q&A: Pizza Rock's Tony Gemignani on his life of pie". The Sacramento Bee.
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  15. ^ Shavelson, Lonny. "American Pizza Chefs Study With The Master". NPR. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
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  17. ^ "About". Tony's Pizza Napoletana. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
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  35. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo. "Let's talk about Capo's, Tony Gemignani's forthcoming North Beach restaurant". Inside Scoop SF. SF Gate. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  36. ^ Palmer, Tamara. "Capo's Quattro Forni Gets Four Times The Love". SF Weekly. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  37. ^ Mayclem, Liam (2014-05-12). "Foodie Chap With Chef Matt Molina of Capo's San Francisco". CBS Local. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
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  44. ^ Benes, Alejandro. "Pizza School". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  45. ^ Scerrato, Alisa. "'Giovanni Italian Specialities' Now Open In North Beach". Hoodline. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  46. ^ Pershan, Caleb. "Tony Gemignani's New Retail Store Has Fresh Pasta, Focaccia, and Detroit Pizza Pans". Eater SF. Eater. Retrieved Nov 20, 2017.
  47. ^ "Tony Gemignani Flour // Tony Gemignani's California Artisan Type 00 Pizza Blend". Central Milling. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
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  57. ^ Gemignani, Tony (2014). The Pizza Bible. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1607746058.
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  65. ^ "San Francisco sets new world record for pizza dough tossing". abc7News. 2014-06-29. Retrieved 14 January 2018.

External links[edit]