Yes, you read it correctly. Not only is there a U.S. Pizza Team, but they have a National Pizza Spinning Contest, AND I was asked to be a judge. I know what you’re thinking. All those years of judging yo-yo and juggling contests turned out not to be a waste of time after all. They were actually the necessary training that brought me to this moment.
The trials for the US Pizza Team have several different divisions: Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pizza Maker (dough only, but it’s 5 of them), Box Folding, Culinary (making an entire pie, judged on taste etc.), and the big event, Acrobatic Freestyle. I was invited to judge the Acrobatic Freestyle. It was really cool. There were 4 competitors, each from a different pizza shop in a different part of the country. Competition was serious, but friendly. I was a little worried about my preparedness, so I watched a bunch of videos online to get an idea of what were common tricks, and what were the tough ones. The winner was Giorgio Giove from Staten Island NY. He rocked it out. He had an awesome accent. For his trouble he won a trip to Italy to compete in the World Pizza Spinning Contest. Yow.
The winners of the Acrobatic Freestyle Competition. Giorgio is the one on the right with the big smile.
The contest took place inside the Wisconsin restaurant association trade show, and it can often be hard to find food you want to eat at trade shows. There’s usually something that you don’t want to eat that you could buy for $25, but something you actually want is another story. One of the best parts about being at the pizza contest is that there was a full pizza kitchen right there, so we had hot fresh pizza at our fingertips. I was really sad that I couldn’t stay for the following day when they were doing the culinary contest. I have always wanted to eat pizza contest pizza… seriously… ever since I heard that it existed I have wanted to eat some. Major bummer that I had to miss it, but I had to get back to PA for some other business. Maybe next time.
Chris Green, U.S. Pizza Team Trainer, and his likeness on a pizza box.
My certificate of appreciation, gift box full of U.S. Pizza Team loot, and real live contest pizza dough.