USPT Member Takes Silver at World Pizza Championship in Parma

U.S. Pizza Team (USPT) member Scott Volpe won the silver medal in the Freestyle Acrobatics category at the World Pizza Championship in Italy this week.

The owner of Fiamme Pizza in Tucson, Ariz., Volpe, in his second trip to Parma as a member of the USPT, earned the second-place finish after three days of competition between 29 spinners. This brings the USPT’s medal total in freestyle acrobatics to five in the last nine years.

“This is what I've been working for,” Volpe said. “The training and competing all year long has definitely been worth it. Now to come back next year and get gold.”

Meanwhile, Jason Samosky of Samosky's Homestyle Pizzeria in Valley City, Ohio, had the highest score for the UPST in the peel division and Brian Hernandez, director of the USPT and test chef for PMQ Pizza Magazine, received the highest score for American competitors in the Classico event, placing in the top 60 out of 442 competitors.

“I still don't believe it,” Hernandez said. “This (Classico) is the largest category, full of great pizzaiolo from the USA and other countries. At least I can still boss my team around for another year without feeling guilty!”

Thirteen members of the USPT made the hop across the pond to compete in the 27th World Pizza Championship on April 9-11. With both seasoned veterans and wide-eyed first-time competitors attending, the USPT participated in categories ranging from traditional pizza, pizza on the peel, gluten-free, pizza in the pan, pizza for two (made by two pizzaiolos together), largest dough-stretch, fastest pie maker and freestyle acrobatics.

Additional USPT members who competed in this year’s championships included Gino Rago, Lenny Rago and Bruno Brunetti of Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, Ill.; Michael LaMarca, Master Pizza, Cleveland, Ohio; Sean Dempsey, Dempsey’s Brew Pub, Watertown, S.D.; Dan Uccello, Flo’s, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Jason Samosky, Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Valley City, Ohio; Bradley Corbin, Sloopy’s Sports Café, Lakeside, Ohio; Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, Ind.; Michael Reyes-Casanova, Ynot Italian, Virginia Beach, Va.; Scott Volpe, Fiamme Pizza, Tucson, Ariz.; and Brian Hernandez and Daniel Lee Perea, PMQ Pizza Magazine, Oxford, Miss.

The U.S. Pizza Team competes all year in various trials across the country in anticipation of the World Pizza Championship. The USPT trials are designed to mimic the Italian event to better prepare the competitors. Winners of each trial in the United States win a trip to the World Pizza Championship.

PMQ Pizza Magazine, the business trade publication for the pizza restaurant industry, created the U.S. Pizza Team in 2000. The team is sponsored by Grain Craft, Ferrarelle, Real California Milk, Gordon Food Service, LaNova, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, American Baking Systems, Burkett Restaurant Equipment and Supplies, Bag Solutions, Fontanini Meats, Lillsun, Univex, Presto Foods, Pivetti and Lloyd Pans.

For more information about this event or the U.S. Pizza Team, contact Brian Hernandez at 662-234-5481 x129 or brian@pmq.com or visit http://uspizzateam.com/.