Pizzeria operators from across the U.S. will flock to the second annual Pizza Tomorrow Summit, taking place Wednesday and Thursday, November 8 and 9, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The event is co-located with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and always brings out the best in pizza-minded restaurateurs from across the country.

A late-season hurricane threatened the 2022 inaugural event but couldn’t bring it to a halt, noted Glenn Celentano, founder of the Pizza Tomorrow Summit and partner in Restaurant Events, LLC. “A year ago we opened the doors to our inaugural Pizza Tomorrow Summit in Orlando,” he said, “and despite Mother Nature gracing us with a hurricane, we still managed to have an amazing first day with packed aisles, extremely happy suppliers, competitions and educational programming. Business and learning were getting done!”

Celentano added, “There is a local pizza restaurant near my home in Connecticut called Char & Lemon, and all of their staff wear shirts that say, ‘When life gives you lemons, make pizza.’ I love that restaurant and their pizza, and I love the message on their shirts! You could say that Mother Nature gave us lemons last year, and this industry really has responded so positively and has been overwhelmingly supportive of this brand-new event. I know this because, despite being given lemons last year, we’ve pre-registered several thousand more people than we did a year ago, and our exhibit floor has ballooned to over triple the size of last year’s event. Simply amazing! I am also beyond excited to welcome the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show to co-locate along with us under one roof as that adds an entirely different demographic to our already robust audience. Spoiler alert! Stay tuned, we just may have another big pizza announcement to share from the show floor this week!”

Meanwhile, PMQ will provide coverage of the 2023 show all week long, beginning with this preview of things we’re excited to see on the show-room floor and beyond. Attendees—or those who wish they were attending—can see show updates via PMQ’s LinkedIn feed, or by following along on Pizza Tomorrow’s social channels, which will be livestreaming red-carpet-style interviews hosted by the show’s social media manager, Jeri Glyn.

Here’s a breakdown of some things we’re excited to see—and experience—in Orlando this week.

1. WookAI Pre-Event Party at Playa Pizza
7 p.m., November 7, Playa Pizza, Wintermore, FL

No Pizza Tomorrow Summit would be complete without a pre-event bash at Playa Pizza. This year’s event is presented by Pizza Tomorrow in conjunction with Playa Pizza and WookAI, and will feature fireworks, live music, beverages and, of course, pizza. The event requires registration that includes a $50 per-person fee to be applied to a final check at the end of the night. Looking for more info? Check out the Playa Pizza website for further details regarding registration, payment and directions.

2. Pizza Dough Boot Camp 
3 p.m., November 8, Education Alley, Theater 331

Tom Santos, national technical manager with General Mills, will head up the Pizza Dough Boot Camp. Santos has a unique blend of professional experience, from his 20-plus years as a bakery owner to his two decades of sales experience at General Mills. He is a member of General Mills’ “Doughminators,” a team of employees with experience traveling to shows like Pizza Tomorrow and educating pizza-makers on the art of making craveable, consistent dough. “I’ve seen things with the same lens they look through daily,” Santos said. “I’ve crafted a lot of different doughs, from pizza to apple pie, over the course of four decades.”

Attendees can expect to learn the “secrets of dough domination” at this boot camp. Santos will do a deep dive into figuring out the right combination of time, temperature and handling to make your signature dough that much better.

A piece of pizza was stretchy cheese and golden dough.

General Mills

3. Scoring a Jacoby Warlick-Designed Pizza-Themed Shirt
Various times, places

Throughout the two-day event, the Pizza Tomorrow Summit will be giving away 1,000 awesome pizza-themed shirts designed by well-known Austin-based artist Jacoby Warlick. Attendees must follow Pizza Tomorrow’s social channels in order to be eligible, and the shirts will be given away at the event’s social-media booth.

A social media post from the Pizza Tomorrow Summit's Instagram channel.


4. The Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 8, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 9

The show’s headlining event will be going on all day long Wednesday and Thursday—and champions will be crowned. Hosted by the U.S. Pizza Team (USPT) and the show’s platinum sponsor, Galbani Professionale U.S., the Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup will see talented pizzaioli from across the nation compete for grand prizes, including a trip to the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy, in April. Come watch competitors bake pizzas on a Fiero Napoli Traditional 110G, a hand-built, hearth-style oven, and present them to different panels of judges. The first-place culinary competitor will be crowned the 2024 Galbani Cup Champion and head to Parma in Spring 2024. The champion will also be presented with a snazzy pizza peel, as will the second and third-place competitors.

On the USPT’s freestyle acrobatics side, the same grand prize is on the line: eternal fame and a trip to Parma in April. There will also be cash prizes awarded for “Largest Dough Stretch” and “Fastest Pie Maker,” alongside other ancillary prizes awarded to other competitors. For those who have never seen a pizza competition, this event is not to be missed.

5. “Leading with the Right Mindset: Managing vs. Leading vs. Coaching”
11 a.m. to 12 noon, November 9, Education Alley, Theater 331

This educational session explores the different facets of leadership required of restaurant operators. Jason Brooks, a speaker and hospitality coach, will spend an hour exploring how restaurant operators can get positive results out of their team more consistently through strong management, leadership and coaching. “Unknowingly, most of your team’s underperforming results are based on not knowing the differences between the three,” the event’s description reads. “This is the art of using the right approach in situations to help yield the ultimate results in conversations, challenges and team development.”

6. The Hip Sip Bartender Competition
3 to 5 p.m., November 9, Culinary Innovation Theater

For those looking for some beverage inspiration, this is the perfect program. Judged by a panel of celebrity mixologists—including Mia Mastroianni and Phil Wills, as seen on Bar Rescue—creative bartenders will battle it out to see who can make the best rye whiskey cocktail. Bartenders will compete live on Center Stage for a chance to win a trip to the Savage & Cooke Distillery, a commemorative trophy and bragging rights. The trip includes airfare, two-night accommodations in Napa, California, a tour of the distillery and a meet-and-greet with the master distiller. For show attendees, the competition will simply be about the excitement and drama of a high-stakes restaurant reality show—except that you’re watching all the action live and in person.

Hand of bartender holds transparent mixing cup with ice cubes and drink with strainer and poured drink into glass on bar

Getty Images

7. Pizza, Pasta, Gelato—You Name It!
All Event Long

Those who have attended trade shows know that they require a whole lot of walking—far more steps than the average person is accustomed to taking. That will require refueling on copious amounts of carbs. Fortunately, there will be endless amounts of pizza, pasta, gelato and other wonderful food to sample on the show-room floor. So bring your walking shoes, an extra belt and meet us in Orlando.

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