Keynote 1 — Anthony Falco | International Pizza Consultant
Tuesday, March 31 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am
This year’s opening keynote speaker will be world renowned pizzaiolo and famed Pizza Czar Anthony Falco. As is the case with many pizza makers of Italian heritage, Anthony first learned his pizza-making skills from his Sicilian grandmother.
Anthony opened his first restaurant in Seattle in 2003 without much acclaim. But that changed when he decided to move to New York City in 2007 to pursue his dream and passion for pizza. He landed jobs at Pulino’s, Vinegar Hill House and then finally legendary Roberta’s, which became an international brand. It’s earned two Michelin stars and is a favorite of pizza aficionados visiting New York City. After developing the frozen pizzas, building their Web site and designing t-shirts for Roberta’s, he decided it was time for another career change.
Since leaving Roberta’s after nine amazing years, he’s consulted with clients from around the globe doing what he does best: helping restaurateurs perfect their craft and business. His goal is always the same: to help his clients develop the ideal pizza for their chosen concept and then moving on once his job is finished. He’s a self-proclaimed international pizza consultant, taking his skills, knowledge and industry connections he’s amassed and sharing it with anyone who wants to get into the business. People tell him he’s got a dream job to be able to travel the world eating pizza. He insists however, that it’s because of the clients he consults with — young people just starting out in the pizza industry, entrepreneurs who are pursuing their life-long dreams of owning a successful pizzeria and chefs who are more talented than him. I think you’ll find Anthony’s story fascinating and inspirational.
Keynote 2 — Ken Forkish | James Beard Award Winner
Wednesday, April 1 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am
The legendary Portland baker and catalyst to the city’s culinary evolution, Ken Forkish’s set to bring his passion for artisan pizza and bread-making to International Pizza Expo on Wednesday morning, April 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
After a 20-year career in the tech industry, Forkish turned his attention to baking, relocating to Portland, Oregon, and opening Ken’s Artisan Bakery in 2001. Fueled by the success of a Monday pizza night at the bakery, Forkish opened Ken’s Artisan Pizza in 2006. Both restaurants have become wildly sought-after destinations for Portland locals, as well as a top national food destination.
He took his love for artisan baking to the masses in 2012 with his first book: Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. The book received such acclaim in the culinary community that it received both a James Beard award and an International Association of Culinary Professionals award. He followed the sensation up with another book: The Element of Pizza, a quintessential guide to the pillars of great pizza making.
He was also a finalist for the national James Beard Award “Outstanding Pastry Chef” in 2013. That same year, he opened Trifecta Tavern & Bakery in Portland’s Central Eastside, a bar, restaurant and small-batch bakery.
Most recently, Ken opened Checkerboard Pizza in Portland’s Pine Street Market, serving New York-style pizza by the slice and as whole pies. In 2018, Checkerboard Pizza was named the best pizza slice in Portland by The Oregonian.
Operating in a “foodie” town is challenging. There’s pressure to keep up not only in the pizza industry but against other restaurant concepts that seem to be opening on a weekly basis in Portland. Ken will bring to his keynote an undeniable passion for pizza and baking, knowledge of the craft and tales of his successes.