Who We Are

“Tutto e possibile” — The belief that “anything is possible” connected the two passionate, thirty-something founders of HOT ITALIAN—one from an Italian-American family of artists and the other, an artistic pizzaiolo from the Italian Riviera.

Andrea Lepore’s and Fabrizio Cercatore’s mission was to build a place where pizza brings people together to celebrate Italy’s new generation of art, music, design, sport, food and wine.

By combining these elements with California’s urban lifestyle, seasonal, quality ingredients, and a conscious commitment to our environment and community, HOT ITALIAN hopes to inspire, make a difference, and create better neighborhoods.

Andrea Lepore

Founder + Creative Director

A design and cycling-enthusiast with a business background in sports marketing, Andrea handles the branding and development strategy for HOT ITALIAN. After a decade with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Lepore spent six years creating projects and campaigns for professional sports stars as founder of the nation’s first cause-related sports marketing agency. A University of California, Davis graduate, Lepore is in the Master of Design Studies for Sustainable Design at Boston Architectural College and is a member of the Board of Trustees of The California Museum.

Fabrizio Cercatore

Founder + Maestro Pizzaiolo

Born in Northern Italy, Fabrizio owned and operated tourist and local favorite “La Tavernetta” for 14 years on the Italian Riviera, minutes south of Cinque Terre, and often made over 200 pizzas in 90 minutes at the busy, 220-seat restaurant. Trained at the prominent Italian professional culinary school, IPAS, Fabrizio was one of only a handful of pizzaioli to earn the highest mark of 1,000 points in a regional competition. Cercatore created Passione Pizza in 2012, an original, organic flour company based in Berkeley, with the mission of bringing authentic, quality pizza into the home.