My time at the pizza expo was summarized briefly on my Facebook page, but I wanted to organize it here for you as well. It was my third year at the Expo and I brought my mom along for the fun. We had a great time, even though I was only able to attend for two days. We even tried out some pizzas in Vegas, to which my mom said “I can’t believe you’re eating MORE pizza after you’ve eaten it all day!” Hey mom, we’re in the biz :-). This event just makes me happy, and I enjoy meeting new people and seeing what develops on the show floor to benefit business owners.
This year, I focused on the demo area where different pizzaiolos showed tips and tricks for restaurant owners. Some demonstrated side dishes/appetizers that they offer, while others showed off their famous award-winning pizzas! It was great.
I loved Laura Meyer’s Sicilian demo. She works for Tony Gemignani at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. There is a lot of effort that goes into her Sicilian crust with the double-rise method. She lets the first round of rising dough sit near the heat of the oven as they expand and par bakes the final product to seal in the dough.
Michael Rutledge (Fratelli’s Pizza) talked about oven-baked appetizers and how they are 15-18% of their revenue. That’s a sizeable portion! A secret trick- don’t throw away the bag/can of crumbs from your salad croutons. Reuse them for breadcrumbs in dishes!
Jeff Smokevitch made some awesome pizza too.
And of course, Tony Gemignani himself did a demo… I admit I am mesmerized by his ability to entice & teach a crowd.
By far, I loved meeting Scott Paul, who works with Bel Gioioso Mozzarella. He gave tips on making your own mozzarella and showed the process to make it right on the show floor! I have never seen cheese being made and was WOWED. It was awesome.
I can’t wait to come back to Vegas next year and do it again. Every time I go, I get that bug to do something more with my love for pizza, so it’s always great to keep that going!
Figure 1- Our view from the Cosmopolitan Hotel! Welcome to Vegas!
Figure 2- Jeff Smokevitch Demo- his winning pizza!
Figure 3- Tony Gemignani stretching dough
Figure 4- This dude grilled pizza dough in the competitions…
Figure 5-And then fried it up!
Figure 6- Mom and I took a stretch hummer to the expo one day because the shuttle never showed! So cool
Figure 7- Donatella Arpaia speaks!
Figure 8- Probably my favorite demo- Freshly made Bel Gioioso Mozzarella
Figure 9-Laura Meyer’s beautifully decorated pie
Figure 10- Pizza Cuz Demo their ZA
Figure 11- My Pizza Tour Buddies sampling an absurdly large late-night slice. Note- Scott’s facial expression