Keynotes

The Keynote Addresses are FREE for all registered attendees.

Keynote 1 — Chris Bianco | Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, Tratto

Tuesday, March 5 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am
When Chris Bianco started Pizzeria Bianco in the back corner of a Phoenix grocery store in 1988, he had no idea that he would become a driving force in the artisanal pizza movement. All he knew was that his food would reflect the respect and sincere intention that he brings to each of his recipes, as the result of his relationships with farmers, local producers, customers, and staff.

Now the chef-owner of Pizzeria Bianco, with locations in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Pane Bianco and his new white-tablecloth restaurant Tratto, also in Phoenix. Bianco won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2003 —the first pizzaiolo to receive the honor— and helped spawn a generation of independent and artisanal pizzerias, lending his advice, wisdom, and food philosophies to dozens of fellow chefs and restaurateurs.

Bianco released his first book, Bianco: Pizza, Pasta and Other Food I Like in 2017. A full- color, fully illustrated cookbook that illuminates the fundamentals of pizza making and the philosophy behind Chris’s cooking, the book features recipes for his signature pizzas as well as strategies and techniques for translating chef’s methods to the home kitchen.

Keynote 2— Sammy Mandell | Greenville Avenue Pizza Company

Wednesday, March 6 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am
Sammy Mandell is a visionary entrepreneur. He opened his first pizzeria when he was just 23 years old in 2007, bringing a slice concept to a late-night district in Dallas, Texas. The business has persevered many obstacles in its first decade. In 2014, Sammy renovated and rebranding the neighborhood pizzeria into Greenville Avenue Pizza Company (GAPCo). A second location followed in 2017.

Together with his wife Molly, Sammy has developed a pizza concept that has been ranked on Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Inner-City Businesses and Pizza Today’s Hot 100 Independents lists. Sammy is also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

Last year, Sammy became Pizza Today’s first Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He continually injects creativity and ingenuity into every aspect of the business. He has developed trademark products and revolutionized his employee culture by creating the trademarked persona of the Pizza Slayer. He has harnessed technology and content creation to attract and retain top talent. He pushes boundaries to lead not only his team but also to inspire the pizzeria industry to rethink how to approach operations, employee management and growth.