ChatGPT, the seemingly all-knowing AI tool that has wowed—and occasionally bamboozled—tech buffs around the world, can explain quantum physics and craft a professional-looking resume for job seekers. But will it ever be useful to pizza makers?

Al Vallorz, co-owner of Tony & Alba’s Pizza and Pasta in San Jose, California, thought it was worth a shot. In need of a specialty pizza idea for Father’s Day, Vallorz turned to ChatGPT on a whim. “All of a sudden—10 or 15 seconds later—it kicks it out,” Vallorz told The Mercury News.

Al has played around with ChatGPT for other purposes, asking it to suggest a few puns and, at one point, lyrics for a song about Tony & Alba’s (at present, ChatGPT can’t dream up a catchy tune, but give it time). Recommending a blend of pizza toppings was child’s play for the AI chatbot, but would the recipe be good enough to put on the menu?

Related: Jet’s Pizza has passed $100 million mark in AI orders

As it turns out, the recommended combo made culinary sense: red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sliced sausage links, bacon, red onions, cilantro and a drizzle of Memphis BBQ sauce. ChatGPT even recommended portions and provided directions for assembling the pie.

The pizzeria owner gave it a try, choosing links from New York Style Sausage Co. and substituting pancetta for regular American-style bacon. He dubbed the pizza “The Jetsons,” and the idea has earned free publicity for his pizzeria from media outlets like The Mercury News and KTVU. The AI-inspired pizza was first sold at Tony & Alba’s on Saturday, June 4, and will be offered throughout the month.

Diana Vallorz, Al’s wife and co-owner of the pizzeria, described it as a “futuristic pizza.” But how did guests like it? “Very well, actually,” she told KTVU. “Mostly millennials will try it. Not as many older people will try it, but most of the younger crowd in their 30s and 40s [will].”

“Younger people try it because it’s AI,” her husband told the newspaper. “Older people say, ‘What’s AI?’”

Tony & Alba’s has even combined The Jetsons pizza with a classic Margherita so less adventurous guests can go back to the tried-and-true if they don’t appreciate ChatGPT’s quirky tastes in toppings.

this photo shows a pizza that's half Margherita and half The Jetsons

Tony & Alba’s Pizza and Pasta / Facebook

On Instagram and Facebook, Al posted a Reel with a still shot of the pizza and a caption that read, “Sold a few of the AI designed pizzas. I asked the customers how they liked it, and they said ‘101010001000100100.’”

ChatGPT has its detractors; users have complained that the tool will sometimes “hallucinate” or provide false information that needs to be fact-checked. As Mackenzie Graham, a research fellow of philosophy at Oxford University, recently noted in The Conversation, ChatGPT can’t lie, but that doesn’t mean it always gets the facts right. “While we might sometimes be justified in relying on what it says, we shouldn’t trust it,” he wrote.

And let’s face it: even the smartest chatbot lacks taste buds. When suggesting pizza topic combos, it can only make educated guesses based on data it pulls from recipes and food articles elsewhere on the internet. Not that any sensible pizzaiolo would put too much faith in a chatbot anyway (we hope).

Even so, Al Vallorz isn’t the first pizzaiolo to solicit recipes from an AI tool. As PMQ reported in September 2018, Tony Naser, the owner of Crush Pizza in Boston, worked with scientists at MIT to develop five artisan pizza recipes envisioned by a recurrent neural network called Strono. The team “fed” hundreds of recipes to the AI network and trained it to generate its own unique recipes.

The results were decidedly weird but not entirely off the mark, with topping combinations like shrimp, jam and Italian sausage, or bacon, avocado and peaches. Click here to check them out.

Al Vallorz takes pride in staying on the cutting edge of technology. He told KTVU that Tony & Alba’s was the first pizzeria in the U.S. to offer online ordering. “One of the engineers had our menu online, and the program pushed the order for the pizza you wanted,” he said. “Then it would fax it to our place….Can you imagine faxing your order and now you have AI?”

Per a June 2019 story in PMQ, the world’s first online pizza order was placed by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at a press conference in Redwood City, California, in 1996. As part of that project, PMQ founder Steve Green, at the time a marketing consultant for online ordering pioneer CyberSlice, was responsible for building a sales team and strategy to sign up 1,000 pizzerias—in New York, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle—as CyberSlice clients.

CyberSlice later evolved into Cybermeals, which was purchased by Accel Partners in 1999 and renamed, with the goal of becoming “the nation’s dining network, offering consumers a single destination for anything related to food.”

That didn’t quite pan out, of course ( is mostly a recipe website today). But, thanks to innovators and early adopters like Tony & Alba’s, online ordering would go on to revolutionize the pizza industry. Could ChatGPT and AI do the same for pizza-making?

Probably not, Al Vallorz told The Mercury News. “You can’t replace a paesano,” he said. “They’ll always give you great food and a great time.”

Food & Ingredients