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Pembrokeshire chef wins at World Pizza Awards

One of Giovanni's creations

A chef from Pembrokeshire has been named one of the best pizza makers in the world after winning big at the Campionato del Mondo di Pizza, the Pizza World Championships, held in Rimini, Italy last month.

Giovanni Recchia, 36, a chef at Top Joe’s Pizzeria in Narberth, entered the three-day event at the end of February, competing against hundreds of other pizza makers to be crowned the best in the world in the ‘Mystery Box’ category.

In this category, 89 competitors from around the globe were given a box of mystery ingredients and asked to make a pizza of their own creation from scratch. Giovanni made a pizza dough topped with an asparagus base, layers of mushrooms and Campania cheese, before finishing with olive oil, parmesan and basil. The creation earned him top marks, meaning Giovanni is now officially one of the best pizza makers in the world.

Giovanni Recchia

Giovanni said, “It was such an exciting couple of days, I am over the moon that the judges loved my pizza so much. To prepare for the competition I spent a week making pizza in my hometown of Forli, perfecting the dough and experimenting with flavours – and all of that practice was worth it!”

With a new world title under his belt, Giovanni is now working on a brand-new menu for Top Joe’s Pizzeria which will be launching in April. The menu will focus on using ingredients from hyper-local producers, showcasing what Narberth and the surrounding area has to offer.

Top Joe’s first opened its doors in a former Ice Cream parlour in Tenby in 2012, with a vision to create the best Neapolitan Pizza in Wales. They use traditional cooking methods, scientific level dough-making and the best ingredients they can find.

In 2018, a sister restaurant was opened in Narberth on the ground floor of Top Joe’s Townhouse, a beautiful Georgian townhouse on the high street. The third restaurant was opened in Pembroke in early 2023.

Top Joe’s owner Dan Warder said Our new Narberth menu will have a massive emphasis on provenance. This last winter has been all about trips to thousand-year-old local flour mills, passionate Welsh cheese makers and frontier vegetable growers who moved to west Wales during the organic movement in the 60’s – all for seeking out the best local produce we can find.

As a restaurant with rooms, we are hoping that people will travel to us to sample Giovanni’s award-winning creations, and through our pizza, discover some of the fantastic produce – and producers – that the surrounding area has to offer.”