Learning the art of Pizza Tossing
You can’t go to New York City without having pizza and outside of Italy there is simply no better, and with so many choices. As you know I will be a judge at the American Pizza Championship, next month in Orlando. FL. Before the competition I needed to learn more about Pizza as a sport (who knew their could be so much to know about pizza). I contacted my friend Steve Lieber (Director of the U.S. Pizza Team) and he suggested I visit team member Hakki Akdeniz.
Hakki teaching Jeremy the proper technique for tossing Pizza dough
Wednesday afternoon I headed to Hakki’s small pizza shop, World Champion Pizza, but there’s’ nothing little about Hakki’s passion, personality and pizza. Originally from Turkey, Hakki traveled to Canada where his uncle owned a pizzeria and that’s were he started to work and develop his Pizza making skills. After a few years he decided to go to New York where he started working in various kitchens as a dishwasher working his way up to pizza maker. His bosses recognized his ability to toss pizza quickly. He soon became interested in Pizza competitions, he practiced and before he knew it he was competing, lighting pizza on fire and tossing it! (a crowd pleaser). Hakki is now the 2010 World Champion Pizza Tosser. On every wall in his pizzeria, he shares all of his accomplishments. He began by showing me how to toss “Throw Dough” (the official practice rubber dough of the u.s. pizza team). He showed me how to toss with one hand and then spin it with the other, twirl it in your hand and even toss it under your leg! We made pizza too; he tops the pizza with a sweet tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. According to Hakki the most important thing about pizza is the crust and sauce.
After learning how to toss, we got down to making the Pizza
Swirling on the sauce
Putting the Pie in the oven
There’s a technique to everything, even the way you swirl the sauce on top of the pizza. We ate a slice straight out of the oven and a couple of the customer’s got to try it as well.
The First JeremyCooks "tossed" Pizza
Jeremy and Hakki enjoying a JeremyCooks Pizza
It might not have been made like a champion but I certainly now know how to judge one! Thanks Hakki.
If you're in New York stop by and visit Hakki and tell him Jeremy sent you.
World Champion Pizza is located at:
170 Rivington St
New York , NY 10002
Tel# (212) 673-3450
or visit his web site at http://www.hakkipizza.com
So toss up your own pizza and Keep on Cooking!!