Food by VICE

This Chef Threatened to Kill His Coworker Over the Right Way to Make Pizza

Sure, bad pizza is an offense, but the Italian-born cook apparently chased the victim with a knife, screaming, "Tonight, I kill you."

by Hilary Pollack
Sep 11 2015, 9:00pm

Photo via Flickr user stu_spivack

Murder is a serious offense. No matter how much you truly can't stand someone, few would want to deal with the remorse, the jail time, or the other myriad consequences of killing someone.

Bad pizza, however, is also a very serious offense. Especially if you're an Italian.

Take, for instance, the Italian pizza-makers' federation, which has been hounding the Italian government to require anyone preparing and selling pizza to complete a 120-hour course just to properly master their Margheritas.

READ: Very Serious Italians Want All Pizza-Makers to Be Licensed

Or, as another example, a chef in Australia who recently chased and threatened his colleague with a knife over a disagreement stemming from the proper way to make a pizza.

It was at Fannie Bay Super Pizza in Darwin, Northern Territory, that the rather dramatic incident unfolded. Francesco Cristofaro, a 21-year-old employee visiting Australia on a visa from Italy, sparked up an argument with a fellow employee about the art of a well-made pizza. And then things went sour. Quite sour.

"At the height of the argument," ABC News Australia reports, "the court heard a screaming Cristofaro chased the victim with a knife, yelling, 'Tonight, I kill you.'"

It's not clear what the victim said or did in regards to pizza-making that so enraged the Italian cook, but it's fair to say that it was probably something he considered a major no-no. Maybe some tacky dough-spinning.

He didn't succeed. But he did get arrested—his colleague was less-than-enthused with the death threat—and has been stuck in the Howard Springs Correctional Facility since late August.

In court, Cristofaro's lawyer Peter Maley argued that his client is merely "a passionate cook that cares a great deal about the art of making pizzas." Come on—he couldn't just let this bozo ruin his edible handiwork! "He has never been in trouble with the law here or in Europe," Maley added. But in Europe, maybe people have a little more respect for proper pizza.

Maley says that Cristofaro has been traumatized by his time in jail because of his minimal understanding of English. It's not yet clear how this degree of trauma stands up to, say, being chased with a large knife and being told that you were about to be stabbed to death.

Magistrate Greg Smith was somewhat sympathetic toward Cristofaro, telling him, "Passion is sometimes a good thing, but running around with a knife is misplaced passion." He also remarked that Cristofaro "might be a good cook, but the use of a knife by a cook is not always good," then sentenced him to four months in jail.

This isn't the first time that Fannie Bay Super Pizza has gotten attention for its unusual kitchen activities. In 2012, the restaurant was in the news after 43-year-old chef Andrew Ah-Wong collapsed and died suddenly after suffering a heart attack during service. But instead of clearing the restaurant to deal with the dead person suddenly on their hands, the staff opted to continue serving guests while just working around Ah-Wong's body.

"They continued to serve food and were stepping over the body," a nurse who was at the restaurant at the time told The Australian. The owner of Super Pizza defended the restaurant, saying that they just wanted to finish up service to tables that had already placed orders. Classy.

Fannie Bay Super Pizza currently has a three-star rating on TripAdvisor. But another death in the kitchen might have compromised its mediocre score.

Then again, the only thing worse than murderous rage is a sorry slice of pepperoni pizza.

Fannie Bay Super Pizza
Francesco Cristofaro
Super Pizza