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Chef Chris Bianco Started The Artisan Pizza Movement In the US


Pizzeria Bianco Photo Source: Flicker/He Drives


Chef Chris Bianco never imagined he would lead the artisan pizza movement in the US when he first started working in the food service industry. His interest in cooking, organic ingredients, and making pizza lead him to open a restaurant called Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix Arizonia. This led to his being called the best pizza chef in the world.


During his childhood he suffered from asthma, so he stayed inside most of the time. One of his aunts taught him to cook and at 13 he quit high school and took a job at a local pizza restaurant. Later he worked at a deli and learned to make mozzarella cheese. Chris traveled to Phoenix for vacation and decided to live there.


In Phoenix he started selling mozzarella cheese to local resident and expanded to local restaurants. During this time he experimented with cooking pizza in wood fired stove and Costco offered him a small space to make and sell pizzas. Later he made pizza at a small specialty grocery store.


Eventually he decided to open his own restaurant. He made most of the pizzas in his restaurant every day never delegating the duties to other workers. Chef Bianco says that when making pizza everything you use matters. If you forget an ingredient or spice it can ruin the results.



Three Cheese Sage and Sausage Pizza Photo Source: Flicker/Arnold Gatilao


When cooking pizza you are cooking for customers not just yourself. You have to care what the customer likes and the results. On his famous Margarita pizza Chef Bianco uses organic whole peeled tomatoes, stone ground flour, olive oil, and fresh basil. He marinates the fresh ingredients about 1/2 hour before he cooks the pizza.


At his restaurant in Arizonia, he became known as the best pizza maker in the United State or world. He buy produce, meat and poultry from local farmers. Chef Bianco says making pizza is an art form like art and writing.


Chef Bianco does not believe he started the artisan pizza movement but returned to the old way of making pizza. In the 1950s and 1960 pizza restaurants did not have access to the freshest ingredients and the quality was not as good. Frozen pizzas were mass produced and cooked at home. Pizza shops made mediocre pizza due to the ingredients available.


How did Chef Chris Bianco returned to the old Neapolitan traditions? He used fresh local ingredient in season and classic techniques for making dough and cooking. He used stone milled flour and created his own brand of canned tomatoes. They are called Bianco DeNapoli Whole Peeled Tomatoes. His products used in the restaurants were sourced from local farmers and businesses.


In 2016 he had to take time off from making pizza due to health issues from asthma produced by the flour and smoke used to make pizza. He tried other types of restaurants and cooking but did not find as much satisfaction with it as making pizza.



Pizzeria Bianco Heritage Square Photo Source: Local Wiki Org.


He reopened Pizzeria Bianco in 2020 and with the help of his wife and staff decided to train the pizza chefs and staff to make his recipes. He still is involved in running the restaurants and make pizzas occasionally but he delegates more of the work and teaches the workers his successful techniques.


Chef Bianco owns several restaurants located in Phoenix and Los Angeles. They are called Pizzeria Bianco, Bar Bianco, Pene Bianco, and Tratto. He has won the James Beard Award for best chef southwest and outstanding restauranter.


Photo Source Wix Media


Chef Bianco's Recipes


If you are interested in trying some of his recipes at home below are some links to articles with recipes:


Chef Bianco's Pizza Dough, by Chris Bianco, Food and Wine, January 2024


Chris Bianco's Pizza Margarita, by Chris Bianco, Parade, April 13 2022


Chris Bianco's Pizza Rosa, by Chris Bianco, Food and Wine, May 17, 2017




Pizza With Bacon, Rosemary, Jalapenos and Cheese Photos Source: Sailing Selkie Beta



References:


Chris Bianco Talks Life, Love, and Pizza, by Allie Lebos, Tasting Table, September 12, 2022


Chef Bianco's Not So Secret Pizza Making Tips by Allie Lebos, Tasting Table, September 2022


Who is Chris Bianco, by Madhuri Shetty, Biography Daily, September 2022


Chris Bianco, Spoon Mob 2024


Chris Bianco Pizzeria Bianco website 2024

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