Brian Hernandez
This Week in Pizza

This Pizza Chef Stretched Dough to 36″ in 5 Minutes

The versatile competitor says competing in events helps positively represent his pizza brand across the country.

Matt Hickey made quite the splash at the ‘23 Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup, placing in three of the four events he took place in. The commissary general manager at Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh, Hickey said he was proud to represent the pizza chain and Pittsburgh at the Pizza Tomorrow Summit in Orlando, Florida—the site where he competed in the Pizza Cup.

Hickey took home the gold in Largest Dough Stretch, where he was challenged to stretch out an 18-ounce ball of doubt to its largest perpendicular measurement in just five minutes. A local CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh picked up the story and even invited Hickey into the studio to show off his skills.

“You do stretch a little bit differently [in the Pizza Cup] than if you were in a pizza shop,” Hickey said. “Normally, you would keep the crust, but in this competition, you want to flatten the crust. So we work out the outside real well, not really touching the center, because the center is going to stretch naturally as you pick it up.”

Hickey’s stretch ended up measuring about 36”, the winning number thanks in part to some quick thinking: at the last second, Hickey was able to fix a pair of holes in his dough that would’ve otherwise disqualified him.

“There’s different strategies, I like to do a wheel motion almost with my arms,” Hickey said.

Hickey also placed third in the Pizza Acrobatics Competition, finishing behind McKenna Carney. Hickey’s inventive routine saw him using pizza dough as though he were scratching vinyl records like a hip-hop DJ.


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Hickey also finished third in Fastest Box Fold, with a time of 31.85 seconds.

“It really boosts the whole company up,” Hickey said of his work at the ‘23 Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup. “It’s like a whole victory for the whole company and the whole pizza community out there as a whole… When we travel around the country, they know Caliente. They know we play hard.”