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World’s best pizza not from Italy

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Simple fresh ingredients make for an award-winning pie. (iStock)

Italians everywhere may be looking for revenge after the winner of the best pizza was announced at the Pizza World Championship. The coveted top prize of best margherita pizza went to Johnny Di Francesco, an Australian chef.

Di Francesco, also known as "Mr. Pizza," has been crafting pies from a young age, according to The Guardian. His restaurant, 400 Gradi in Brunswick, showcases the food of Naples which specializes in wood-fired pizza.

“People underestimate the margherita,” the prize-winning chef told the Guardian. “They think it’s the easiest pizzas to make, but it’s one of the hardest. Because it has so few ingredients, you can taste the quality of the dough used. With other pizzas, you can mask that with toppings.”

Under the rules of the competition, a margherita pizza must be under 35cm in diameter, cooked in a wood-fired oven and contain only certain ingredients, such as peeled tomatoes, cheese, garlic, olive oil and salt.The world championships, formally known as the Campionato Mondiale della Pizza was held in Parma, Italy last Friday. 

Over 600 chefs attended the event from 35 countries, with six coming from Australia.

Although Di Francesco placed third at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas this past March,he knew the competition would be steeper than ever in Italy.

“I was happy to get into the top five, so to end up number one is a fantastic achievement for me and also for Australia,” he told the Guardian Australia. “It lets the rest of the world know we do produce quality product here in Australia.”

So what’s his secret? The chef uses Italian-imported flour, high-quality buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil.