Franco Pepe is the winner of The Best Pizza Awards 2023


24 September 2023. The virtual announcement of the highly anticipated The Best Pizza Awards 2023 took place tonight, with Italian pizzaiolos topping both the ranking and the list of special awards. After this announcement, the next appointment will be in Yucatan (Mexico). There, the annual Gala The Best Chef Awards 2023 will be held on 20 November and where Franco Pepe and all other winners will share the stage with winners of The Best Awards 2023.

Franco Pepe won the special prize in the pizza category in the 2021 and 2022 editions of The Best Chef Awards. This year he shows once more that he is an outstanding pizzaiolo, rising to number one in this new ranking. Pepe is one of today’s leading figures in the world of pizza. He learned everything he knows from his father, Stefano, who loved to spend days in the local countryside. He used to pick fresh ingredients such as oregano and mushrooms to put on top of pizza. With the legacy of two generations but with a very different and avant-garde approach to pizza, in 2012 he opened Pepe in Grani, a place where experimentation, craftsmanship, training, hospitality and a focus on the territory come together: a project that has been enriched over the years, based on a passion for the dough, creating discs of dough that tell the flavors of the Alta Caserta area in Italy.

The best Pizzaioli

The second position goes to Francesco Martucci. The story of his Pizzeria I Masanielli begins in early 2000, together with his brother Sasà, his sister Sabina, and his mother, in Caserta, a province in Southern Italy. I Masanielli has established itself over the years for the high quality and refinement of the selected raw materials, as well as for the visionary balance of the ingredients and the maniacal care in cooking. But his proudest achievement is the invention of the triple-baked pizza. “Futuro di Marinara” is the name of his emblematic pizza, a symbol of this new and revolutionary way of cooking.

And at number 3, Gabriele Bonci who in 2003 left his job in a restaurant to open Pizzarium, one of the first establishments in Rome (Italy) to use only organic products and to meticulously research quality ingredients. It all starts with the flour; forgotten cereals, ancient grains, all rigorously rich in fibers, with intact germs, ground with natural stone and an ancient mother yeast, regenerated over decades for a dough that has become legendary. The flour used for his pizza is all self-produced, following the entire process firsthand, as a farmer – growing it himself – and working with other farmers. Gabriele is recognized as a symbol and source of inspiration for all lovers of Roman pizza.

Special awards

Tonight, in addition to the unveiling of The Best Pizza Top100 list, the winners of the special awards were also announced:

  • The Best Pizza Science Award. This award goes to Francesco Martucci of I Masanielli in Caserta (Italy), recognizing the work he carries out in research, experimental techniques, and transformation.
  • The Best Pizza Food Art Award. The award goes to Pier Daniele Seu of Seu Pizza Illuminati in Rome (Italy) in recognition of his artistic talent for exquisite plating, which makes the pizzas look like paintings, almost too beautiful to eat.
  • The Best Pizza Next Award. That goes to Francesco Capece of Confine in Milan (Italy), which places him as an emerging figure who shows truly exceptional talent and is on the verge of achieving great success in the world of pizza.
  • The Best Pizza Pastry Award. This award goes to Roberto Davanzo from Bob Alchimia in Spicchi in Montepaone (Italy), recognizing his talent in making pizzas in a sweet version.
  • The Best Fried Pizza Award. This award goes to Isabella De Cham of Isabella De Cham Pizza Fritta in Naples (Italy) to recognize that she has created the best and most delicious interpretation of fried pizza by combining tradition and evolution.
  • The Best Pizza Experience Award. It has also gone to Franco Pepe of Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo (Italy) as the Nº#1, for providing a perfect service in the dining room, creating an exquisite pizza experience.
  • The Best Pizza Margherita Award. This award goes to Ciro Salvo of 50 Kalò in Naples (Italy), recognizing that he makes the best Margherita pizza, the queen of pizzas.

The international list

The result of The Best Pizza is based on the opinions and votes of a group of 200 people. It includes pizzaiolos and other gastronomy professionals from 6 continents, 24 countries and 74 cities. The variety of voters is evident in the results, where we find the following representations:

EUROPE (63) Italy 45 (including top 3), Spain with 5, Poland with 3, Denmark with 2, France with 2, Austria with 1, Greece with 1, Ireland with 1, Netherlands with 2 and Great Britain with 1

NORTH AMERICA (14) all of them in the US

SOUTH AMERICA (4) Brazil with 2 and Argentina with 2

ASIA (14) Japan with 8, Hong Kong with 2, Thailand with 2, Philippines with 1 and Singapore with 1

OCEANIA (2) both in Australia

AFRICA (3) with 2 in the United Arab Emirates and 1 in Egypt

An homage to pizza

With this list, the team of The Best Pizza, with its director Antonio Ruotolo at the head, wants to make visible and recognize some of the best pizza chefs/pizzaiolos in the world by identifying them and their establishments.

“The result is mainly influenced by the opinions of the pizzaiolos, who this year outnumbered the professional voters, and this has been very positive! Who knows this world better than they do? Great professionals who know their job and respect each other. Collaborating with them has been a great pleasure. I’m truly grateful!”.

Antonio Ruotolo

Behind The Best Pizza is The Best Chef organization headed by its founders Joanna Slusarczyk and Cristian Gadau, who have managed to position their list, created in 2017, worldwide. A list that is backed by chefs, journalists, and gastronomes from all over the world who follow them wherever their annual awards ceremony is held every year. The destination this year will be, for the first time, outside Europe and the place chosen for this event is the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico on 18, 19 and 20 November. Franco Pepe and other winners will be presented on stage during The Best Chef Awards ceremony on the 20th.

Joanna and Cristian predict a great success for this list: “We are very pleased with this amazing reception of The Best Pizza Awards. We are fully aware that this is only the beginning of a long, complex, and exciting journey!”

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