An Interview with Anthony Falco
Anthony Falco—once dubbed the “Pizza Czar” of Brooklyn’s legendary pizza joint, Roberta’s— celebrates his fourth year since breaking from his restaurateur roots and launching his career as a widely-acclaimed International Pizza Consultant. For nearly half a decade, Anthony has been flying all over the world providing guidance for entrepreneurs who are interested in transitioning into the pizza industry. From Seattle to Barcelona, you can find Anthony using more than a decade’s worth of pizza skills and culinary know-how to set pizzeria owners up for success.
1. When and how did you get into the pizza making business?
Roberta's in Bushwick was my first job making pizza. At the time it opened, we were all just learning how to make pizza. With lots of help from friends and lots of trial and error, the pizza got better and better. This was 2008. In 2011 I bought a mobile wood fired oven and helped launch the mobile operations division of Roberta's. I started doing pop-ups all over the country and that's really where I learned the most. In 2016, I was bought out and then shortly after that we parted ways and I started my pizza consulting business.
2. Why pizza, opposed to other Italian culinary specialties? What is it that drives you?
Who knows why things go the way they do? I never really had much of a plan and pizza wasn't something I thought to try to make until I started working at Roberta's. But when I started working, two things really kept me interested. The first was mastering the wood fired oven, it was amazing to me and I just never got tired of cooking with fire. I also just loved pizza and being able to make great pizza for myself was like a dream come true.
Today, meeting producers and learning how every aspect of the business comes together and traveling around the world and sharing the pizza culture with the world keeps me going everyday.
3. Life—and business—have ups and downs. Can you share one peak moment and one low moment that stands out to you, looking back at your life and career in the world of pizza?
I think my birthday 2 years ago in Sao Paulo was a peak moment. My partners and I at Braz Elettrica were opening our newest and biggest store, and they surprised me with a pizza shaped birthday cake. It was a really touching moment, and I’m really proud of all the work we’ve done together in one of the pizza capitals of the world.
A low point for me was really that first year after Roberta's. I was doing some consulting making philly cheesesteaks at a music festival in Jacksonville Florida. It's not really where I wanted to be in life.
4. What is the greatest challenge and most enjoyable part of being an international pizza consultant?
The challenge is the most enjoyable part! The challenge of making my clients happy while also maintaining the integrity of the pizza I believe in, all in different environments with different ingredients, all over the world. It's pretty much a dream job if you like pizza and problem solving.
Source: Lauren Massie Photography, 2018.
5. We’re sure you have traveled all over the world by now and learned of many different cultures. What food culture currently fascinates you the most?
I absolutely love Bangkok and Thai food. I love spicy and they have such an amazing range of fruits and vegetables and products they use. It's really always a pleasure working there.
6. In your opinion, what is the trickiest stage of the pizza making process to get it just right?
I think the dough is always the hardest part. And pizza is tricky because every step counts and there are so many steps. The dough has to be right, the oven has to be right, and the pizza maker has to execute everything perfectly.
Source: Bon Appetit magazine, 2018.
7. You once said in an interview with “Bon Appetit” magazine, “What makes [consulting] a dream job is the people I work with, young people starting in the industry, entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams, and chefs who are more talented than me.”
What is one piece of advice you can give to pizzaiolos who dream of owning their own pizza business one day?
The best advice is to not be afraid of making mistakes. In fact, you should go out of your way to take risks knowing you will make mistakes because that is the best way to learn.
8. What's next for you? What do you think are some new trends to look out for in the world of pizza, particularly in the United States?
I think New York style and other American styles made with elevated ingredients will grow in popularity. I think the big focus right now in the USA is flour, people are seeking out fresher higher quality regional grains. The mass produced and bleached and chemically adulterated pizza flours are really falling out of favor.
9. Thank you, Anthony! Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Follow me at @millennium_falco and be on the lookout for my pizza cookbook coming out early next year!