The Orlando Pizza Show
The Biggest, Best and Most Exciting Pizza Show So Far
By Tom Boyles
Thousands of restaurant and foodservice industry professionals from all across the country descended on Orlando, Florida, September 7-9 for the 2nd annual Orlando Pizza Show and the 2007 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. Attendees had the opportunity to taste hundreds of new foods from around the world, watch competitions for the U.S. Pizza Team, which included the American Pizza Championship Semi-Finals and Finals, attend seminars by Michael Rasmussen (Rasmussen Tax Group), Jim Millikin (Wheat State Pizza), Aaron Allen (Quantum Marketing Group) and Jeff Mandel (Heartland Payment Systems), work one-on-one with Jeff Zeak and Tom Lehmann (American Institute of Baking) and network with thousands of industry colleagues.
“If you attended last years show and missed this one, you missed out on the best pizza and restaurant show on the East Coast,” PMQ Publisher and Pizza Show Producer Steve Green said. “This year there was more interactivity with more attendees, more exhibitors, and more competitions. There were chances to win prizes for just standing around the Pizza Industry information Center…and the crowd got into it more than any other show we have produced. The exhibitors, attendees and PMQ couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”
The show floor hosted 650 exhibiting companies showcasing everything for the front and back of a restaurant and foodservice establishment with products ranging from equipment to gourmet foods. “We had a great show, met with many existing customers and many new prospects over the three days, and are excited about the overall marketplace,” said Jim Wolf of Front of the House.
During the show PMQ held the US Pizza Team Trials. Dozens of dough-spinning pizza acrobats competed for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Pizza Team (USPT) and to win trips to Europe and New York City with the USPT. David Smith from Smith’s Pizza Palace Plus in Emporium, PA became the American Pizza Championship (APC) Winner with his amazing Cajun Chicken pizza. David started the day by winning the APC Semi-Finals and just when the excitement started to settle in for that win, he beat out the APC undefeated champion, Jason Samosky, and the Roma Pizza Contest and APC finalist winner Leah Scurto and was crowned the Best Pizza Maker in America. Now David will not only travel with the USPT to Europe to represent America there, he will also advance to the America’s Plate Competition at PMQ’s New York Pizza Show and compete against at least seven other countries for the title of World’s Best Pizza Maker in March.
In the USPT Acrobatic competition, John Howe of Domino's Pizza in Orlando, Florida won the Fastest Pizza Maker competition with a blistering time of 28 seconds; Scott Childers of East Coast Pizzeria in Riverview, Florida won the Largest Dough Stretch by stretching his dough ball 39.5 inches; and Ryan LaRose of Dallis Pizzeria in Lake Mary, Florida won the Free Style Dough Tossing Competition. All three of these winners have been awarded a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team, which will represent the nation’s pizza industry in international competitions in Europe.
In the last issue of PMQ’s Pizza Magazine we featured a story that was titled Pizza Boy on page 38. It was about a budding 10-year-old acrobatic dough tosser named Sam Niemeier who won a local talent show with his pizza dough tossing abilities. Sam struck again in the Throw Dough National Championship in Orlando and won first place. This year’s USPT dough tosser Ryan LaRose better watch out because Sam said he’s coming for the title of best acrobatic dough tosser.
PMQ’s 2008 Orlando Pizza Show will be held September 5-7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. PMQ also produces the New York Pizza Show, which will be held March 9-11, 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in conjunction with the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York. For more information on exhibiting or attending either of these events, call 662-234-5481 ext. 136 or visit the official show web site at www.thepizzashow.com.