Volpe, co-owner of Fiamme Pizza Napoletana in Tucson, Arizona, took top honors in freestyle acrobatics–one of the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team Winter Trials competitions along with Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pie Maker and Fastest Box Folder. Volpe, 24, finished second in razor’s-edge results at 2015’s Columbus spinoff. “I feel very excited that all my hard work after last year’s competition paid off,” said Volpe, who runs a mobile pizza oven operation in the Tucson area. “My near victory last year was a mountain’s worth of motivated to earn new tricks and get smoother.”
Volpe’s reward is a trip to Parma, Italy, to compete in acrobatics for the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team in the 2016 World Pizza Championship. “This will be my second trip to Italy but my first to compete for the Groupon USPT,” Volpe said. “My Italy strategy will be to keep practicing hard every day and continue to do what I do best.”
Additional winners at the PMQ-sponsored Groupon USPT Winter Trials were Bradley Johnson of Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in Largest Dough Stretch; Brian Edler of Domino’s in Findlay, Ohio, in Fastest Pie; and Kyle Hambley of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria in Valley City, Ohio, in Fastest Box Folding. Also earning recognition were Ashley Parthemore of Michael Angelo’s Pizza in Rushsylvania, Ohio, and Edler, second and third in Largest Dough Stretch; Volpe and Parthemore, second and third in Fastest Pie; Johnson and Casey Cole, Sharky’s Pizza and Ice Cream in Columbus, second and third in acrobatics; and Baylen Lewis of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria and Rati Khorbaladze of Williamsburg Pizza in Brooklyn, New York, in Fastest Box Folding.
NAPICS 2016 also hosted the Pizza Pizzazz competition with 100 competitors vying for first place in one of two categories: Traditional and Gourmet. The Gourmet winner was Nathan Sickmiller, Six-Hundred Downtown, located in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Top Traditional pizza chef was Kyle Rosch of Brenz Pizza Co., in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Next year, the show will be held Jan. 29-30, 2017, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.