cheeses, peppadew peppers, prosciutto, arugula, Parmesan
and—you guessed it—a balsamic glaze.
At Bexley Pizza Plus ( bexleypizzaplus.com) in Bexley,
Ohio, every employee is cross-trained to be a pizza chef.
One of the best-known is Brad Rocco, a competition
veteran and this year’s winner in the Traditional category.
Rocco wowed the judges with a pizza featuring sausage,
portabella mushroom, spicy pepperoni, bell pepper and
cheese. He has won at Pizza Pizzazz twice before—in 2003
and 2006—and competed with the U.S. Pizza Team in
Italy both years.
Coming in second in the Traditional category was Lisa
Early, owner of Brenz Pizza Co. ( brenzpizzaco.com), a
favorite among college students and locals alike in Knoxville, Tennessee. Early won $1,000 for the ATM (All the
Meat), a red-sauce pie loaded with pepperoni, ham, sausage, capicola, bacon and cheese. Finally, longtime pizza
making competitor David Smith II, owner of Pizza Palace
Plus ( pizzapalaceplus.com) in Emporium, Pennsylvania,
made his presence felt with his third-place finisher, the
Traditional Meateater. A carnivore’s dream come true, this
red-sauce pizza blended pepperoni, ham, bacon, salami
and sausage with mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL NAPICS SHOW
Just as respected pizza makers flocked to the Pizza Pizzazz competition, NAPICS 2015 also drew thousands
of pizzeria and ice cream shop owners and operators
from across the country to see, taste and touch the latest
industry wares, foods and beverages from more than 175
exhibitors. Additionally, workshops and seminars drew
nearly 900 attendees to learn more about marketing and
managing their businesses and maximizing revenue.
Prominent guest speakers included Jeff Joiner of Jeff
Joiner Training, who discussed how to turn customers
into happy, hardcore loyalists and “tattoo” your brand on
their minds, and Jeff Slutsky, the Street Fighter Marketing
expert. David Scott Peters of TheRestaurantExpert.com
talked about developing key systems to ensure restaurant success, and Steve Christensen of the Frozen Dessert
Institute covered hiring and training employees.
NAPICS organizers are already working on the
2016 event, to be held January 24 to 25 at the Greater
Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, and the
U.S. Pizza Team will be there again to host next year’s
Winter Acrobatic Trials.
The U.S. Pizza Team consists of expert pizza makers and
dough spinning acrobatic performers from pizza restaurants across the United States. The squad competes regularly in the World Pizza Championship, held every spring
in Italy. In the 2014 global event, USPT member Jamie
Culliton won second place in the Individual Freestyle
category. In 2011, the U.S. Pizza Team won first place
in the Team Acrobatics competition at the same event.
The USPT is sponsored by Grain Craft, California Milk
Advisory Board, Gordon Food Service, La Nova, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, Bag Solutions, Fontanini Meats,
Lillsun, Marsal and Sons, Univex, PizzaInsurance.com,
Rock Tenn and Presto Foods.
To learn more about the U.S. Pizza Team, visit the
team’s website at www.USPizzaTeam.com, call Brian
Hernandez at 662-234-5481, ext. 129, or email him at
Rick Hynum is PMQ’s editor-in-chief.
Finalists in the Pizza Pizzazz competition’s Traditional category were (from
left) Lisa Early, 2nd place; Brad Rocco, 1st place; and David Smith II, 3rd place.
Finalists in the Gourmet category were (from left) Anthony Farinacci,
2nd place; Will Shaw, 1st place; and Nathan Sickmiller, 3rd place.
MELANIE ADDINGTON MELANIE ADDINGTON