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10 Questions: Napan gets fired up for his pizza business
10 Questions | John Difilippo, Di Filippo Wood Fired Pizza

10 Questions: Napan gets fired up for his pizza business


Growing up in a large Italian family, Sunday dinners were a “do not miss event” for John Difilippo.

Difilippo said his father was a baker in the Navy, “and his passion for baking and cooking inspired me to work in restaurants through high school.”

Eventually, Difilippo worked his way to become the pastry chef for the Ritz Carlton hotel in Phoenix and at Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley.

“My passion for bread came when I starting teaching at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley,” he said.

In 2010, he purchased his first wood-fired pizza oven and spent seven years developing an artisanal pizza dough. Today, he owns and operates his own mobile pizza business.

Difilippo said his tomato sauce uses San Marzano plum tomatoes, sea salt and olive oil.

The vegetables and protein are locally produced and raised, cheeses are local and imported “and the love is 100% Italian,” he said.

Pizza is not his only project: Difilippo also works as a real estate appraiser.

1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?

-President John F Kennedy.

-Chef Paul Bocuse.

-Singer/songwriter Neil Diamond.

2. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: European culinary tour guide.

Not try: Politician.

3. What was your childhood ambition?

To become a professional football player. At that time I was a Rams fan. They were located in Los Angeles at that time.

4. What was your first job?

Marie Callender’s in Placentia, Calif.

5. What’s on your to-do list?

To continue to be in a position to help people less fortunate than myself.

6. Who do you most admire in the business world?

-My Dad (living at 93). He lives in Southern California.

-Anyone that gives back to the community.

7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

(To be) a positive role model as a parent, chef and husband…it’s a continuous thing.

8. If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?

Affordable housing. It’s an issue here in Napa for sure.

9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

That I can do a ‘crow’ or ‘crane’ yoga pose. (I’m a big guy).

10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

Italy. My dad’s family from is Bari, Puglia. I have plans to go; I just don’t know when.

For more information, contact Difilippo at

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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