By now most people in the pizza industry have heard of the U.S. Pizza Team. PMQ has promoted it, former team members have been seen on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, ESPN's The Best Damned Sports Show Period and Cold Pizza, CNN, USA Today and more.
The Food Network will be airing a one-hour special on March 21, 2004, at 9 p.m. Eastern that documents the 2003 team's travels from Columbus, Ohio, and New York to Salsomaggiore, Italy. Each year the U.S. Pizza Team selects from America's best chefs and pizza-makers a group of individuals to represent our great American pizza industry in the World Pizza Championship held there. The question is, why and how can you get involved?
Why get involved?
The why part is easy. Just ask any former member of the team. One example is Tony Gemignani, five-time world champion dough tosser. He has used the competition as a springboard to become a sponsored performer at Universal Studios, in commercials, to become a teacher at several cooking schools and has even graced the cover of PMQ (www.pmq.com/mag/2002fall/dough.shtml).
Thanks to his World Champion status, he's been an invited guest at Francis Ford Coppola's celebrity-filled charity events and he's even appeared on the late night talk show circuit.
"Tonight Show was the biggest show I ever did. Leno was the coolest. He was really down to earth, he made you feel comfortable," said Tony. But his hometown appearances also draw crowds.
"It's great for the kids to have famous people in their neighborhood that we get to see on a regular basis," says third grade teacher Lisa Breault. "Tony comes to career day at our school and the kids know him pretty well."
Other members have enjoyed not only a free trip to the birthplace of pizza, Italy, but what is probably millions of dollars in free publicity and exposure. Many have used this celebrity status to open additional locations. Their comments are all the same – customers start pouring in from everywhere to try them out because they read about them in the papers or saw them on television. It is rumored that this year there will be a major network at the tryouts at the NAPICS show, meaning national exposure for those participating.
How do you get involved?
The first thing you can do is call or email and get the brand new FREE CD-ROM that shows you all of the competitions and rules. This video shows former team members in action at the tryouts and at the World Pizza Competition. Competitions include culinary events (gourmet and traditional) which take place each year at the NAPICS show (www.napics.com) in Columbus, Ohio, and acrobatic competitions (dough stretching, fastest pizza making, and dough tossing), which take place at various venues across the country. In 2003, the acrobatic trials took place at the LA Foods Show in California and the Sofo Foods show in Toledo, Ohio, and we will also be selecting three more acrobatic members at the NAPICS show in February to complete the 2004 U.S. Pizza Team.Trials for the 2005 USPT will take place at the New York Pizza Show in November of 2004 (www.newyorkpizzashow.com).
Winners get the opportunity of a lifetime . . . to compete on a global level with the best in the world.
The 13th Annual World Pizza Championship will be held in Salsomaggiore, Italy, March 29-31, 2004. Get more information on the World Pizza Championship and view the 30-second video clip at www.worldpizzachampionship.com or visit www.uspizzateam.com. To get your FREE CD-ROM, call 662-234-5481 or email your address and request to email@example.com. You can also send us a request by mailing us a letter to PMQ, ATTN: USPT FREE CD, 605 Edison St., Oxford, MS, 38655. This could be your big break. Several people reading this right now will be traveling with PMQ and the team to Italy . . . it may be you, but only if you act now because time is running out to become a member of the 2004 team.
PMQ Magazine manages the selection and financial support of the team through its sponsors. Every dollar contributed to the team is used directly for the expenses of supporting the team and seeking positive publicity for our industry and its renowned product. We would like to especially thank the 2004 U.S. Pizza Team sponsors for helping to make all of this happen. We couldn't do it without you.