Custom pizza-oven designer brings Italian passion to SBCC

Justin Covington

Brooke Holland, Features Editor

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Forno Classico in Goleta, Calif., is a privately owned business that hand builds authentic wood-fired pizza ovens.

As a young boy, Giuseppe Crista’s fascination with his grandfathers tradition of building brick ovens ignited his career.

“When I started to make my first pizza oven I never think about how I want to sell in this country,” Crista said. “I did it for myself.”

Born in Sicily, Italy, Crista started his business in 2008 to share his Italian style cooking in America.

Randy Bublitz, culinary art department chair, hired him to build a 5,000 pound wood-fired oven for the City College.

“I’m impressed with his dedication to almost single-mindedness towards pizza,” said Bublitz.

It took one month for Crista and his employees to build the custom styled oven. Because of the weight a bucket crane was used to transport it from his workshop to the City College.

“Every oven for me, it’s a baby. Every oven I sell and leave the shop, basically it leaves a part of me,” Crista said.

The classic oven is the dining centerpiece in the outside patio of the JSB Café.

“I feel pretty confident that it’s going to make good pizzas and other roast items that we might be doing,” Bublitz said.

Crista spent time teaching his traditional techniques for cooking pizza to faculty and students. He works hard to make a difference in his community.

“A student who takes the class will remember something forever. It’s interesting,” Crista said. “That’s what makes me feel I did something good for this community.”

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