Adriani says he called Gemignani and told him to finish
the pizza in front while they patched the back. “I took
Roberto Caporuscio with me, and we rode a golf cart to
the end, cut 100’ from the already completed end, and
used it to patch every single piece that was broken here
and there,” Adriani recalls. “You had no idea what was
going on. The radios were literally going bananas.”
Levasseur, who was in charge of the technical aspects
of the oven, walked away with quite a few burns after
nudging the pizza through the oven on more than one
occasion. “During the cheese melting, the chicken wire
we used to stabilize the bottom below the Teflon sheets
got caught in the ovens, because the links were made to
go the other way,” he says. “Luckily, we had foreseen it,
and sections of the oven were able to open from the top,
so I reached inside to unjam the pizza, although I did
burn myself a lot.”
“Everything that could have gone wrong did,” says
restaurant owner/author Tony Gemignani. “From 20’
sections being destroyed and burnt, the oven having dif-
ficulties toward the end, the California heat, and the time
restraints, there were so many obstacles to overcome.”
“A project like this is always full of surprises, but the
possible pitfalls were mostly anticipated, and we had a
contingency plan for just about everything,” says John
Arena, co-owner of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas. “The lack
of manpower certainly made it much more difficult. I
think the drying out and separation of the dough sections
was more extensive than we imagined, but Tony, Giulio
and Tony’s assistant, Laura Meyer, refused to give up, so
it all worked out.”
After a grueling four hours of stops and starts, tears,
patches, and even a few flames, the pizzaiolo crossed
the finish line feeling elation, relief, and for some, pure
exhaustion, breaking a new world record with a 6,333’-
At the completion of the bake, hundreds of boxes of
pizza were distributed to area homeless shelters, and event
attendees were invited to take boxes to go.
And, through all of the dough, sauce, cheese, sunburns
and fatigue, there was an infectious collective outpouring
of teamwork and pride. “The most rewarding part was
seeing us as a family, a group of friends unified by this
amazing product that has the name of pizza,” Adriani says.
“[The United States is] definitely the biggest market in
the world for pizza. This nation deserved this record. We
already know that Italy will react and try to beat us again.
Records are made to be broken. But the best part of it is
that we did it, and we will forever be proud of this.”
Liz Barrett is PMQ’s editor at large and author of Pizza: A Slice of American History.
The Support Team
Jay Tuuao, business development executive at
At-Pac, and his team were in charge of laying
7,000 feet of scaffolding.
Elmer Ovando, chief tech at PizzaOvens.com,
assembled the oven and drove it for the
duration of the event.
Pizzaiolo Mario Vollera fed the oven throughout the cooking process.
Andrea Ricci, general director of Italforni,
donated the ovens.
Philippe Levasseur, president and CEO of
Dynamix USA, served as technical lead and
monitored the ovens throughout the night.
Massimo Balacchi, category manager
at Sysco Corporation, provided the Riserva
cheese and smallwares.
James Snider, VP of business development
at TFX NonStick, donated 7,000 feet of
...and more than 75 pizzeria operators from
across the country joined in to help build
A special conveyor oven was created to move along the scaffolding and
bake the pizza as quickly as possible.