International retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. has announced a franchise partnership with award-winning Australian chef Johnny Di Francesco to bring the 400 Gradi Italian restaurant brand to the Middle East this year – its first expansion outside Australia.
400 Gradi, a Naples-inspired Italian restaurant, is the creation of chef Johnny Di Francesco, the first Australian ever trained in Naples to the Associazione Verace (AVPN) and President of AVPN Australia. It offers a wide variety of deliciously handcrafted Italian cuisine, using the finest Italian ingredients to give guests the most complete Neapolitan experience outside of Naples.
In 2014, Chef Di Francesco was named the 'world's best pizza maker' during the World Championships in Italy for his authentic Napoletana-style pizza, which is cooked for only 90 seconds at a temperature of 400 degrees hence the name 400 Gradi.
Along with this Napoletana-style pizza, the restaurants offer an array of freshly cooked traditional Italian dishes including its famous handmade gnocchi, succulent lamb and pistachio cutlets, traditional artisan Italian gelato and delicious desserts.
Commenting on the new partnership, Chef Di Francesco said: "This is a groundbreaking milestone for the Gradi Group. Expanding to the Middle East is an exciting step forward, especially through Alshaya, who are a pioneer in franchising international brands. We are delighted with this partnership and we look forward to presenting guests with the best pizza in the world, and great Italian food, at the official debut of 400 Gradi."
Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co., said: "We're constantly looking for ways to bring authentic and diverse dining experiences to our customers in the Middle East. 400 Gradi offers a complete Neapolitan experience, and we believe that it will be an exciting addition to the regional dining scene. We look forward to a successful partnership together."