Peter Boizot's story starts in 1965. Wardour Street, Soho to be exact. When Peter visited London and realised great pizza didn't exist, he became a man on a mission, bringing a pizza oven over from Napoli and a chef from Sicily.
The oven was too big for the door, but that didn't stop him. He took the wall down. Oven in. He started creating simple, delicious recipes that are still enjoyed today.
Music and pizza go hand in hand. That's why, in 1969, Peter started PizzaExpress Jazz Club, with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Amy Winehouse starring there. Ever since, music has been at the heart of everything we do.
A big lover of art, with a passion for design, Peter enlisted the help of good friend Enzo Apicella to design a number of his restaurants.
He started a trend, which we continue today, designing each restaurant in its own style that’s relevant and specific to the local area. So your bellies can feast on the food, whilst your eyes feast on the surroundings.
When Peter heard of the Venice in Peril fund, he got to work creating his own recipe, the Veneziana, and gave a percentage of every pizza sold to the charity.
We still do this today, with more than £2m raised for charity through pizza sales.
Since firing up his first oven in 1965, his passion and determination has gone on to create more than 470 restaurants nationwide, employing over 10,000 people, and giving millions to charity.
Looking back to the earliest days of PizzaExpress, Peter was adamant he never doubted the potential of pizza or that he was the man to introduce it to the UK. “The world was my oyster! I believed I could go as far as I could”, he insisted.
He will be remembered for his vision, his innovation, his extravagance and his warmth.
On behalf of the PizzaExpress family, Peter’s spirit, vision and his passion for good food and good times, will live on and we will continue to carry forward his legacy through the people and culture of our business. We will all miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.