Member Profiles

 

U.S. Pizza Team Council

Dave Sommers – Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, IN.
Athletics Director, Culinary, USPT Council
Dave Sommers is the owner of 2 Mad Mushrooms in Read More
Dave Sommers – Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, IN.Athletics Director, Culinary, USPT Council

Dave Sommers is the owner of 2 Mad Mushrooms in Lafayaette and W. Lafayette, In. He competes in all the acrobatic categories, holds the records for fastest pie maker and fastest boxfolder. He also competes on the culinary side.

Jamie Culliton – USPT Athletic Coach, The Nona Slice House, Safety Harbor, FL.
Acrobatics Coach, Culinary, USPT Council
    Jamie competes in both Acrobatics and culinary and Read More
Jamie Culliton – USPT Athletic Coach, The Nona Slice House, Safety Harbor, FL.Acrobatics Coach, Culinary, USPT Council
 

 

Jamie competes in both Acrobatics and culinary and won second place in Freestyle Acrobatics at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy, 2014 and 2015 and the gold medal in 2016. Jamie was also part of the gold medal winning team acrobatic routine from the Salsomaggiore World Pizza Championships in 2011, and marched with the team in the Macy’s Day Parade in 2010. Jamie has also won numerous culinary awards, including 1st place at the 2011 Orlando USPT Trials with his Margherita Pie! Owner of The Nona Slice House in Safety Harbor, FL., Jamie spends his days slinging pie in the sunshine to beach-goers and locals alike.

https://www.thenona-slicehouse.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thenonaslicehouse/

Gino Rago – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.
Culinary Coach, USPT Council
I have a passion for all styles of pizza. I Read More
Gino Rago – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.Culinary Coach, USPT Council

I have a passion for all styles of pizza. I am proud to adhere to the standards of the old school pizzerias and the art and craft of the great pizzaiolos who started the legacy one hundred years ago.

Michael LaMarca – Master Pizza, Cleveland, OH.
Team Captian, Culinary, USPT Council
Michael P. LaMarca is the owner of the Master Pizza Read More
Michael LaMarca – Master Pizza, Cleveland, OH.Team Captian, Culinary, USPT Council

Michael P. LaMarca is the owner of the Master Pizza franchise in Cleveland, Ohio.  Michael has competed as part of the United States Pizza Team since 2013 and has been voted “Best Pizza in Cleveland” several times and won 4 national competitions for Best “Pizza in America”.

Jason Samosky – Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Valley City, OH.
Culinary, USPT Council
I am Jason Samosky, proud owner of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria Read More
Jason Samosky – Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Valley City, OH.Culinary, USPT Council

I am Jason Samosky, proud owner of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria in Valley City, OH.  Since 2003, Pizza has been my passion.  In 2005 I earned my first US pizza title, and to date have earned 5 US Pizza Championships. We are family owned and operated since 1910, “Four Generations Strong & Still Going”

Bradley Corbin – Sloopy’s Sports Cafe, Lakeside, OH.
Culinary, USPT Council
Brad Corbin, Owner of Sloopy’s Sports Cafe, Lakeside, OH & Read More
Bradley Corbin – Sloopy’s Sports Cafe, Lakeside, OH.Culinary, USPT Council

Brad Corbin, Owner of Sloopy’s Sports Cafe, Lakeside, OH & Port Clinton OH:  I’ve been in culinary for 18 years, 12 in the pizza industry. USPT member since 2012. Awards: 2012 American Pizza Championship, 2012 NAPICS “Best in the Midwest” Gourmet & Traditional, 2013 NAPICS “Best in the Midwest” Gourmet. Favorite thing to do in my spare time: hunt, fish, and travel. Favorite food other than pizza: Sushi

Leonardo Rago – Panino’s Pizzeria, Evanston, IL.
Culinary, USPT Council
Started in the pizza business at age 14, Love Pizza, Read More
Leonardo Rago – Panino’s Pizzeria, Evanston, IL.Culinary, USPT Council

Started in the pizza business at age 14, Love Pizza, competing and creating new pies. When I am not making pizza, I love music, managing bands, doing PR, TV and radio promotion for popular local band’s to help relieve the stress of running a pizza place.

Brian Hernandez – U.S. Pizza Team Director, Batesville, MS.
USPT Director, Culinary, USPT Council
  Brian came on board PMQ Pizza Magazine in October Read More
Brian Hernandez – U.S. Pizza Team Director, Batesville, MS.USPT Director, Culinary, USPT Council

 

Brian came on board PMQ Pizza Magazine in October of 2011 as the Director of the USPT and has taken the team to Italy 8 times. In those 8 years, he has filled the roster of this team with quality pizzaiolos, acrobats, and lifelong friends. He loves pizza, playing guitar and singing, relaxing by a fire with a nice cigar and glass of whiskey, and all of his team members (except LaMarca).

Brian has collaborated with old and new members to create a council of the U.S. Pizza Team so the team itself has a hand in deciding the direction it will go for the betterment of the team , the team members and the industry. The team is growing steadily year after year by recruiting quality members, as well as a membership requests through uspizzateam.com. All applicants are vetted through the team council before any are allowed membership.

Brian has competed 3 times in Italy (’16-’18). Twice in Classico and once in Pizza for Two with former PMQ Media Producer and USPT Competing Member Daniel Lee Perea. In the 2018 Classico division, Brian won Best American Score for the category, coming in 48th out of 667 competitors.

Premiere Members

Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
Bradley has been on the team since 2009. He competes in Acrobatics and Culinary. He won a trip to Italy in 2013 at IBIE in ...Read More
Bradley Johnson – Pizzeria Cortile, Chattanooga, TN.Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary

Bradley has been on the team since 2009. He competes in Acrobatics and Culinary. He won a trip to Italy in 2013 at IBIE in Las Vegas. He placed 7th in the world in freestyle acrobatics at the 2013 World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy.

https://www.pizzeriacortile.com

Premiere Member, Culinary
Leonardo (Lenny) was born and raised in Castellamare Del Golfo, Sicily. Lenny left Sicily in 1991at age of 21 and few years later he decided ...Read More
Leonardo Giordano – Mona Lisa Pizza, Staten Island, NY.Premiere Member, Culinary

Leonardo (Lenny) was born and raised in Castellamare Del Golfo, Sicily.

Lenny left Sicily in 1991at age of 21 and few years later he decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts. From Sicily he brought with him a passion for simple, yet flavorful foods to his role as an Executive Chef and Pizza Chef. Best described as an Innovative and fresh to his approach as his Sicilian/ Mediterranean style of cooking. By using the freshest ingredients, Lenny gets you as close to Original Italian dining experience as you can get.

In 2001 Lenny decided to open his first place called Mona Lisa Pizzeria & Ristorante, two years later he also opened an upscale Fine Dining, San Marco Ristorante Italiano.

In April 2012 Atlantic City NJ, Lenny won the first place in Pizza Competition of the Best Pizzeria in North East America and became Official Member of US Pizza Team PMQ.

Lenny already 3 years in USPT he lives the dream of one of the Best Pizza Chef in U.S.A and the world and also to be part of the PMQ Family.

Premiere Member, Culinary
Leah lives in San Francisco Ca.  She has been working with Pizza My Heart in the Bay Area for 18 years. When she is not ...Read More
Leah Scurto – Pizza My Heart, Santa Cruz, CA.Premiere Member, Culinary

Leah lives in San Francisco Ca.  She has been working with Pizza My Heart in the Bay Area for 18 years. When she is not slinging pies she enjoys skiing and sitting on the beach with a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it.

 

When asked to provide this bio she merely stated, “I make pizza, it’s my job”.

Premiere Member, Culinary, Gluten-Free
Heather is the owner of Sinfully Gluten Free in Dayton, Oh., a dedicated gluten free pizzeria and bakery.Heather joined the USPT in 2013 after winning ...Read More
Heather Zook – Sinfully Gluten Free, Dayton, OH.Premiere Member, Culinary, Gluten-Free

Heather is the owner of Sinfully Gluten Free in Dayton, Oh., a dedicated gluten free pizzeria and bakery.Heather joined the USPT in 2013 after winning her first gluten-free competition with the team at IBIE in Las Vegas. She then joined the team on a trip to Italy to compete in the World Pizza championships in Parma, Italy. Heather has been an active member of the team ever since.

Premiere Member, Culinary
Ali Haider & wife Sayyeda Ali, proud owners of 786 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza Co. Sun Valley CA began their dream journey back in 2013. Being  a huge ...Read More
Ali Haider – 786 Degrees, Sun Valley, CA.Premiere Member, Culinary

Ali Haider & wife Sayyeda Ali, proud owners of 786 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza Co. Sun Valley CA began their dream journey back in 2013. Being  a huge foodie at heart  Ali found  his creativity outlet ,now by using different flavors of foods from around the world and presenting them in the form of world class Neapolitan wood fired pizzas  His innate passion to find the best local street food led him find the right balance of local flavors with gourmet ingredients. In the will to learn from the best, this insatiable craving drove him back to the motherland of pizzas, Naples, Italy where he studied under the Master Pizzaiolos, the Artisanal craft of classic Italian cooking .

Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
My name is Rick Wheeler and I operate out of Mad Mushroom Pizza in Lafayette Indiana. Been doing pizza for 10 years now. I love ...Read More
Rick Wheeler – Mad Mushroom, Lafayette, IN.Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary

My name is Rick Wheeler and I operate out of Mad Mushroom Pizza in Lafayette Indiana. Been doing pizza for 10 years now. I love to complete in almost all categories of pizza. Favorite pizza is whatever I make!

Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
Owner/operator of Fiamme Pizza Napoletana in Tucson Arizona. Been in business for 1 year and a pizzaiolo or pizza maker for 4 years. Two strongest ...Read More
Scott Volpe – Fiamme Pizza Napoletana, Tuscon, AZ.Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary

Owner/operator of Fiamme Pizza Napoletana in Tucson Arizona. Been in business for 1 year and a pizzaiolo or pizza maker for 4 years. Two strongest categories are Neapolitan pizza and pizza acrobatics.

Premiere Member, Culinary
Patrick Maggi – Maggi’s Pizza & Subs/ Blues Pizza Truck, Damascus, MD.Premiere Member, Culinary
Premiere Member, Culinary
Owner of Palo Mesa Pizza in Arroyo Grande, CA., Michael joined the team in 2013 after winning 3rd place at the U.S. Pizza Team Culinary ...Read More
Michael Stevens – Palo Mesa Pizza, Arroyo Grande, CA.Premiere Member, Culinary

Owner of Palo Mesa Pizza in Arroyo Grande, CA., Michael joined the team in 2013 after winning 3rd place at the U.S. Pizza Team Culinary Trials at IBIE in Las Vegas. Michael also joined the team in Parma, Italy in 2014 to compete as a United States Pizza Ambassador at the World Pizza Championships, scoring the highest score for the team in Classico.

Premiere Member, Culinary
Born in Monroe, Michigan, Tore was lucky to be exposed to foods of the world at a very young age. Born to immigrant parents with ...Read More
Tore Trupiano – Dominic’s Italian Restaurant, Oceanside, CA.Premiere Member, Culinary

Born in Monroe, Michigan, Tore was lucky to be exposed to foods of the world at a very young age. Born to immigrant parents with a dream to open a restaurant in the United States. My father Damiano, handled the front of the house. My mother Santina, handled the kitchen. I knew quickly that food was in my future. Restaurants were opened in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. In 1986 the family decided to make the move to the west coast. Restaurants were opened in Orange and San Diego counties. Tore’s big break happened when he opened up a box of cracker jacks and found a culinary degree. That was a sure tell sign, plus the clusters of popcorn and peanuts are always a bonus. Pizza Festiva is the place we ought to beso we loaded up the truck and competed in Las Vegas.  Divisional winner in 1995 with a BBQ Chicken Pizza, 1996 with a breakfast pizza, and 2008 with the Mardi Gras Pizza.  In 2010 Tore decided that there was more to cooking than Italian cuisine and pizza. A food truck that featured freshly smoked meats. Tore found a new love, pork, brisket, chicken, and the other main meat, bacon. Mastering the art of smoking was a fun activity that quickly turned into passion. There is always a way to deconstruct, twist, flip, and turn a basic traditional dish and make it a wild dripping off the walls culinary piece of art. In 2012 Tore decided to return back to his roots and rejoin the family business. With new locations on the horizon, Tore took the reins at the 2 harbor locations. Tore has a nice collection of awards that can often be purchased on eBay. They include …but it tastes like chicken 2011, Michelin stars sold individually, best mullet trophy 1987, blank James Beard awards, available in 5 different languages, and most 4 hour shifts worked in 8 hours consecutively. “You can take the pit master out of the pit, but you can’t take the pit out of the pit master.” Tore created the Maple and Bourbon porchetta. It is an infusion of the classic Italian porchetta infused with the flavors of the good ol’ south. The flavors just pop, especially since the twist is an Asian style bbq sauce. A multi-cultural creation that just screams “EAT ME!” Tore can often be seen working after hours, perfecting new and exciting dishes. Current experiments include aspartame crusted giblets, lard fat deep fried kale chips, sugar coated excuses, and pate filled cupcakes, just to name a few. Tore has been contacted by the peeps at Guinness world book of records for possibly creating the world’s smallest amuse-bouche. Tore is waiting for a publishing house to pick up his book, “She will love you, just give her a food-gasm.” Tore enjoys spending time with his family, watching them cook and clean for him. Using the business expense account for eyebrow waxes and manicures. Hearing his name called out loud. Tore has issues with vegetarians and vegans, they are aliens and not from this world.

The next chapter combines the craft of making pizza and the skills of a pit master.  Pizza expo Tore debuted his last creation, “The Big Easy”.   Smoked provolone and mozzarella blend, ground duck, ground alligator, shrimp, and caramelized onions, and fried okra.

Future fan club members can contact me at dominicsitalian@att.net or 760-754-1881 or 760-533-0673

Competing Member, Culinary
Info@tievolipizzabar.com
Giovanni Labbate – Tievoli Pizza Bar, Palatine, IL.Competing Member, Culinary

Info@tievolipizzabar.com

Premiere Member, Culinary
Bruno Brunetti – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.Premiere Member, Culinary
Premiere Member, Culinary
Dan Uccello has been a member of the USPT since 2017. Dan owns Flo’s Collection in grand rapids Michigan. Flo’s Collection is a restaurant group ...Read More
Dan Uccello, Flo’s Pizzeria, Grand Rapids, MI.Premiere Member, Culinary

Dan Uccello has been a member of the USPT since 2017. Dan owns Flo’s Collection in grand rapids Michigan. Flo’s Collection is a restaurant group that owns Flo’s Pizzeria in Grand Rapids MI, Flo’s Pizzeria Ristorante & Sports Bar in Belmont MI & Greenville MI, and Catering Concepts in Holland MI. Dan has been in the pizza business since the age of 12. Dan’s Company Has Competed in multiple pizza competitions, they currently hold the award for the “Best Pizza in Michigan”, “Best Pizza in Grand Rapids” and “Best Pizza in the Midwest”, and “Best Pizza in America”

In Dan’s first ever personal competition, he competed in the 2017 World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy against 800 of the best pizzaiolos int he world. Dan competed with a Wood fired pizza with Fig preserves, Asiago cheese, Gorgonzola, Fresh mozzarella, Prosciutto, Arugula, flaked Parmesan, and balsamic reduction drizzle.
 
This pie won the Best in the U.S. at the World competition, but also placing 52nd out of 450+ competitors globally  in his category of Classica Pizza. This achievement earned him a spot as a USPT Premiere Member.
 
 
 
Premiere Member, Culinary
Michael “The Wolf” AthanasopoulosPremiere Member, Culinary
Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
My name is Michael Reyes-Casanova. I am the Executive Pizza Chef for Ynot Italian in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I enjoy long walks on the beach, ...Read More
Michael Reyes-Casanova, Ynot Italian, Virginia Beach, VA.Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
My name is Michael Reyes-Casanova. I am the Executive Pizza Chef for Ynot Italian in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I enjoy long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, and spinning pizza to Careless Whispers. Pizza became my passion in 2015 when I went to my first competition in Oxford, MS. Since then I’ve competed in multiple acrobatics competitions in the US and in Italy with the United States Pizza Team.
Premiere Member, Culinary
David Conti, owner of Red Planet Pizza & BBQ.  After 10 years of doing Kansas City Barbeque Society & New England Barbeque Society Grilling Competitions ...Read More
David Conti, Red Planet Pizza and BBQ, Ansonia, CT.Premiere Member, Culinary

David Conti, owner of Red Planet Pizza & BBQ.  After 10 years of doing Kansas City Barbeque Society & New England Barbeque Society Grilling Competitions along with my Barbeque catering, I decided this past year to start doing onsite Pizza catering parties. I entered my first pizza competition at the 2017 Caputo Cup in Atlantic City, I enjoyed it so much that I followed it up by competing in Las Vegas at the International Pizza Expo which I placed 3rd in the North East. After watching the World Championships from Parma, Italy this past April I made it a Goal that I wanted to compete at it one day!  I then entered the USPT West Coast competition with a Grand Prize of going to Italy to compete. My dream then became a reality by winning the West Coast Competition! Then it was back to Atlantic City for the Caputo Cup which I placed 2nd in the Non-traditional division. I am very honored to be part of the USPT and look forward to competing and expanding my Onsite Pizza Catering business in the next year.

Competing Member, Culinary
  Opened in 1999, Dempsey’s is the 2nd oldest brewery in the state,. Family run, and a fun atmosphere. From our 21+ Tap lines, house ...Read More
Sean Dempsey, Dempsey’s Brewery Restaurant & Pub, Watertown, SD.Competing Member, Culinary
 
Opened in 1999, Dempsey’s is the 2nd oldest brewery in the state,. Family run, and a fun atmosphere. From our 21+ Tap lines, house brewed brews ( and Rootbeer / Cream Soda ) to a full menu with made from scratch recipes, a full liquor rail, and 160+ seats, we’ve got something for everyone. Summer we have deck / outdoor seating. In Winter we have a warm fireplace, and decor like you wouldn’t believe. Flags fly high around the restaurant, and we have a terrific crew. Owner Sean Dempsey Is a member of the US Pizza Team, and has won multiple awards with his pizzas. Cheers!
 
Premiere Member, Culinary
Gianni Gallucci, owner of Gallucci Pizzeria Napoletana in Chicago, Ill. seized a trip from the 2018 Midwest U.S. Pizza Cup and a spot on the ...Read More
Gianni Gallucci, Gallucci Pizzeria Napoletana, Chicago, IL.Premiere Member, Culinary

Gianni Gallucci, owner of Gallucci Pizzeria Napoletana in Chicago, Ill. seized a trip from the 2018 Midwest U.S. Pizza Cup and a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team with his traditional Pizza Napoletana STG in the wood-fired oven featuring buffalo ricotta with black truffles, prosciutto di Parma, red piennolo del Vesuvio, and summer black truffle from Umbria.

 

https://www.galluccichicago.com/

https://www.instagram.com/galluccichicago/

Competing Member, Culinary
Derrick Tung, owner and operator of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square, started out by learning how to make pizza at home through YouTube tutorials and PizzaMakingForum.com ...Read More
Derrick Tung, Paulie Gee’s, Logan Square, Chicago, IL.Competing Member, Culinary

Derrick Tung, owner and operator of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square, started out by learning how to make pizza at home through YouTube tutorials and PizzaMakingForum.com discussions. After a few years of working at different pizzerias to learn restaurant operations and pizza techniques, and many road trips to visit some of the top 100 pizzerias in the US (and some international trips as well), Derrick fell in love with woodfired pizza and Detroit style, both which he incorporated into his menu at the restaurant. As a firm believer in honoring tradition but evolving forward, he is constantly seeking new and interesting pizza experiences based on non-traditional ingredients.

Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
Ryan LaRose, USPT Acrobatics, Columbus, OH.Premiere Member, Acrobatics, Culinary
Competing Member, Culinary
Lars Smith is the chef and co-owner of state of Mind Public House and Pizzeria in Los Altos, California. He has been in the industry ...Read More
Lars Smith, State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria, Los Altos, CA.Competing Member, Culinary

Lars Smith is the chef and co-owner of state of Mind Public House and Pizzeria in Los Altos, California. He has been in the industry since 2002, but has had a love for food since he was a child, always cooking with his grandmothers. He always new that he would eventually open his own family run restaurant. In 2017, he won the international pizza challenge Non-Traditional division in Las Vegas and was featured on the Cooking channel’s “Food Wars”. In 2018, State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria officially opened it doors. That same year he won second place at the US Pizza team west coast trials pan division and first place at the US Pizza team Northeast pizza trails traditional competition.

Competing Members

Will Shaw
Competing Member, Culinary
Will Shaw has been in the pizza business for over 15 years and has competed in numerous competitions resulting in four first place, one second place and one fourth place Read More
Will ShawCompeting Member, Culinary

Will Shaw has been in the pizza business for over 15 years and has competed in numerous competitions resulting in four first place, one second place and one fourth place standings. He joined the team in 2015 for their trip to the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy.

Peter Anderson – Gelsosomo’s Pizza, Crown Point, IN.
Competing Member, Culinary
Peter Anderson – Gelsosomo’s Pizza, Crown Point, IN.Competing Member, Culinary
Salvatore Passalacqua – Marrabella Old World Pizza, Greenville, NC.
Competing Member, Culinary
Salvatore Passalacqua – Marrabella Old World Pizza, Greenville, NC.Competing Member, Culinary
Massimo Mannino – Nino’s Cucina Italiana, Greenville, NC.
Competing Member, Culinary
Massimo Mannino – Nino’s Cucina Italiana, Greenville, NC.Competing Member, Culinary

Anthony Scalia – Master Pizza, OH.
Competing Member, Culinary
Anthony Scalia – Master Pizza, OH.Competing Member, Culinary
Mike Russo – Cleveland, OH.
Competing Member, Culinary
Mike Russo – Cleveland, OH.Competing Member, Culinary
Alex Garcia, Flo’s Pizzeria, Grand Rapids MI.
Competing Member, Culinary
Alex joined the USPT in 2017. Alex is the General Manager/Pizzaiolo of Flo’s Pizzeria In grand rapids Michigan. Alex has competed on behalf of Flo’s in Novi Michigan taking first Read More
Alex Garcia, Flo’s Pizzeria, Grand Rapids MI.Competing Member, Culinary

Alex joined the USPT in 2017. Alex is the General Manager/Pizzaiolo of Flo’s Pizzeria In grand rapids Michigan. Alex has competed on behalf of Flo’s in Novi Michigan taking first place for the “Best Pizza in Michigan”, in Las Vegas which he took 3rd place for the “Best Pizza in the Midwest”, and in Ohio which he placed 3rd for the “Best Pizza in the Midwest”. Alex has been in the pizza business since he was 17 years old.

Craig Allenbough – Sauced Wood Fired Pizza, Fairview Park, OH.
Competing Member, Culinary
My pizza journey started out at 17 when I took my first job at Punxy Pizza under the ownership of Scott Anthony. In 2012, I opened a food truck in Read More
Craig Allenbough – Sauced Wood Fired Pizza, Fairview Park, OH.Competing Member, Culinary

My pizza journey started out at 17 when I took my first job at Punxy Pizza under the ownership of Scott Anthony. In 2012, I opened a food truck in Cleveland called Sauced Wood Fired Pizza. We had such great success that I decided to open our first brick and mortar in June of 2016 in Fairview Park. I also headed to San Francisco in 2016 to attend Tony Gemignani’s International School of Pizza. I opened another location inside Scene 75 Entertainment Center called Food Truck Alley in August of 2017. I took 3rd Place at the Mid America Restaurant Expo in January 2018 in the Pizza Pizzazz Competition.

Daniel Lee Perea, U.S. Pizza Team
Competing Member, Culinary
Daniel Lee Perea, U.S. Pizza TeamCompeting Member, Culinary
Kyle Rosch, Brenz Pizza Co., Chapel Hill, NC.
Competing Member, Culinary
Kyle Rosch, Brenz Pizza Co., Chapel Hill, NC.Competing Member, Culinary
Daniel “The Big Cheese” Saccone – Saccone’s Pizza, Leander, TX.
Competing Member, Culinary
With numerous awards and years of competing under his belt, Daniel “The Big Cheese” has dedicated his time and expertise to representing the Lone Star state in national and international Read More
Daniel “The Big Cheese” Saccone – Saccone’s Pizza, Leander, TX.Competing Member, Culinary

With numerous awards and years of competing under his belt, Daniel “The Big Cheese” has dedicated his time and expertise to representing the Lone Star state in national and international competition alike. After several years of competing at USPT sanctioned competitions, his tenacity paid off and he was made an official Competing Member of the United States Pizza Team.

2005 Third Place          Largest Dough Stretch, Alamo Pizza Festival

2005 Third Place          Largest Dough Stretch, New York Pizza Show

2006 2nd Place              Best Gourmet Pizza, Southwest Pizza & Italian Expo

2007 Third Place          Largest Dough Stretch, World Pizza Games International Pizza Expo

2008 Third Place          Largest Dough Stretch, World Pizza Games International Pizza Expo

2008 1st & 2nd Place    Best Pizza, Best of the Southwest Pizza Competition

2008 2nd Place              Best Pizza, The American Pizza Championship

2014 Winner                 Traditional Pizza Southwest Region, International Pizza Expo

2016 Winner                 Traditional Pizza Southwest Region, International Pizza Expo

2016 2nd Place              Best Pizza, Pizza Pizzazz Mid America Restaurant Expo

2018 2nd Place              Traditional Pizza, International Division, International Pizza Expo

2018 3rd Place               Best Pizza, United States Pizza Cup

November 6, 2018 Made a Competing Member of the US Pizza Team

2019       Finalist                  Best Pizza            Pizza Pizzazz Mid America Restaurant Expo          

Brandon Davis – Novella’s Pizza, New Hudson, MI.
Competing Member, Culinary
Brandon Davis is the Owner/Operator of Novella’s Pizza in New Hudson, Michigan. He has been in the restaurant business for 15 years and opened Novella’s Pizza over a year ago. Read More
Brandon Davis – Novella’s Pizza, New Hudson, MI.Competing Member, Culinary

Brandon Davis is the Owner/Operator of Novella’s Pizza in New Hudson, Michigan. He has been in the restaurant business for 15 years and opened Novella’s Pizza over a year ago. He is very excited about becoming a member of the USPT because in Novella’s first year, they won the 2018 Michigan Pizza Challenge and placed 12th in Las Vegas for the 2019 International Pizza Challenge. For both of these competitions they used a pizza that is on their menu, Fig & Pig. Although Brandon wanted to win, after it sunk in for a few days, he realize 12th is great for his first year and can’t wait to return next year. Brandon learned so much for his first time that next year he will be more equipped to make a serious run at a championship. He has always been an athlete and loves competitions and competing. He is excited for the 2020 competition season and has already competed in 3 events for the 2019 season in anticipation.

Gail Churinetz – Gail’s Pizza Parties, Germantown, TN.
Competing Member, Culinary
My cooking career began when my husband, Bob, transplanted our family from Connecticut to Germantown, Tennessee in the summer of 1994.  When we moved here, one of the first things Read More
Gail Churinetz – Gail’s Pizza Parties, Germantown, TN.Competing Member, Culinary

My cooking career began when my husband, Bob, transplanted our family from Connecticut to Germantown, Tennessee in the summer of 1994.  When we moved here, one of the first things I did was search for the best pizza in Germantown.  Pizza was a BIG part of our weekly family dinner. Unable to find anything that resembled the awesome New Haven, CT style pizza, I began experimenting with recipes in the hope of developing the best New Haven style pizza possible.  Since the only variable for pizza is water, I began importing my water from CT for my pizza. Voila…..I had success!!

Around this time I joined a neighborhood group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”.  One day, one of my friends from that group told me she was headed to CT to visit family.  I asked her to bring me back some CT water.  She laughed and thought I was crazy, but she did bring me back the water.  As a thank you I created an amazing pizza for her, which I delivered hot out of the oven.  My friend was amazed at how great this pizza was, and asked me if I would teach the ladies in our organization how to make great tasting pizzas.  That started “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” cooking classes in my home.  When my kitchen became too small for those interested in taking my cooking classes, I began teaching at a local cooking school, “Gift Horse”.  Unfortunately, years later that school closed.

In August of 2002, I was hired by Viking Cooking School in Memphis as a Cooking Instructor, teaching cooking classes to the home cook. It didn’t take long before I became known as the “Pizza Queen” for my amazing pies.  While teaching at Viking I applied for a cooking competition on Food Network’s show called “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”, hosted by Guy Fieri. My recipe: Crawfish & Andouille Sausage Pizza. I was fortunate enough to be one out of 10,000 home cooks chosen to participate on the show. Never did I think I would actually win! And I won big, $25,000 and $5,000 Food Network Products sold at Kohl’s. That was a life changing event.

Shortly thereafter I was approached by CBS’s affiliate WREG “Live at 9” to appear as a guest chef demonstrating my recipes. I continued to make guest appearances on “Live at 9” for over 9 years. While teaching cooking classes at Viking, I was offered a position with ACH Food Companies as a Research & Development Consulting Chef. While with ACH, I developed new products and recipes for the company showcasing ACH Food products, Spice Island, Mazola, Weber, Fleishmann’s Yeast, and Tones. With the assistance of my boss, we developed a cooking book utilizing ACH Food Products.

My pizza and dinner party donations have raised over $40,000 for local charities.

In 2018, I officially retired from the corporate business world and started my own in home pizza party business.

This past March I traveled to Las Vegas and competed at the International Pizza Expo. International Pizza Expo is the largest pizza show in the world with more than 1,300 booths and 500 exhibitors and is held annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The competition draws over 200 competitors from around the world. I placed 26th in my division of 60 competitors.

Since then I have become a member of the U.S. Pizza Team. The U.S. Pizza Team was founded in 2000 with the goal of bringing competition and excitement to the pizza industry.  Since its formation, the U.S. Pizza Team has participated in an international event every year, most frequently at the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy.  Ranging from culinary masters to dough tossing phenoms, the Pizza Team renews the passion of those in the industry year after year.

My recipes for my several of my pizza creations will be featured in upcoming issues of PMQ Pizza Magazine, as well as appearances on PMQ Pizza TV. PMQ Pizza Magazine is the world’s authority on pizza and the No. 1 business publication for the pizza restaurant industry. With 10 issues each year, PMQ reaches the mailboxes of 40,000+ pizza pros. PMQ also has a video production department, PizzaTV. PizzaTV brings you the latest pizza news, interviews, product spotlights and more. From business tips and strategies to pizzeria profiles.

Member of U.S. Pizza Team

Recipe developer for “Cooking for a Living”, ACH Cookbook utilizing ACH Food Products
Winner of Food Networks “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”
Winner of Pizza Therapy Worldwide Pizza Recipe Contest
Frequent guest chef on CBS affiliate morning show, WREG Channel 3
Raised over $40,000 for charity by donation of dinner parties
Creator of www.foodsinthefastlane.me cooking blog & www.gailspizzaparties.com

Deserai Satullo – Sauced Wood Fired Pizza, Fairview Park, OH.
Deserai Satullo – Sauced Wood Fired Pizza, Fairview Park, OH.
George Taylor – Taylors’ Neighborhood pizza & Sandwich Shoppe, Endwell, NY.
Competing Member, Culinary
I have been in the pizza biz for about 25 years. My wife and I are owners of Taylors’ Neighborhood Pizza & Sandwich Shoppe in Endwell, NY. I first competed Read More
George Taylor – Taylors’ Neighborhood pizza & Sandwich Shoppe, Endwell, NY.Competing Member, Culinary

I have been in the pizza biz for about 25 years. My wife and I are owners of Taylors’ Neighborhood Pizza & Sandwich Shoppe in Endwell, NY.

I first competed in 2012. I have competed in fastest pizza maker, largest dough stretch and now compete in culinary.

Joey Karvelas – Karvelas Pizza Co. , Hogansville, GA.
Competing Member, Culinary
Joey Karvelas – Karvelas Pizza Co. , Hogansville, GA.Competing Member, Culinary
Max Durocher – Tiki Sam’s Wood Fired Pizza, Hanover, MI.
Competing Member, Culinary, Acrobatics
Tiki Sam’s Pizza is bringing the best pizza to the streets of Jackson, MI, bar none. It’s a food truck, after all, and one that’s sticking to time tested pizza Read More
Max Durocher – Tiki Sam’s Wood Fired Pizza, Hanover, MI.Competing Member, Culinary, Acrobatics

Tiki Sam’s Pizza is bringing the best pizza to the streets of Jackson, MI, bar none. It’s a food truck, after all, and one that’s sticking to time tested pizza makin’ methods to bring you pies with better crust, full of flavor to tantalize your tastebuds.

Just how are they achieving this delicious feat? Tiki Sam’s Pizza is cookin’ up those pizzas in a wood fired oven at 900 degrees, puttin’ ’em out in 90 seconds. So you won’t have to wait long to sink your teeth into the freshest, most flavorful pizza in town. From classics like pepperoni and margherita to specialty pizzas including the irresistible Honey Love ❤️, rest assured you’ll get your fill here. So why wait? Find Tiki Sam’s Pizza in Jackson, MI, or have us out to cater your next pizza party. Beats delivery by a mile.

https://www.tikisamspizza.com/

https://www.instagram.com/tikisamspizza/

Alex Koons, Purgatory Pizza & Hot Tongue Pizza, L.A., CA.
Alex Koons is the owner of Purgatory Pizza and the new Hot Tongue Pizza opening in the summer of 2021 in the Los Angeles area. Purgatory Pizza offers an array Read More
Alex Koons, Purgatory Pizza & Hot Tongue Pizza, L.A., CA.

Alex Koons is the owner of Purgatory Pizza and the new Hot Tongue Pizza opening in the summer of 2021 in the Los Angeles area.

Purgatory Pizza offers an array of different and flavor recipes and styles of pizza, including Sicilian, Detroit and Vegan.

Hot Tongue Pizza sports a solid all-vegan menu with pizza, pasta, and even vegan meatballs!

 

Matt Montgomery, Hydraulic Hearth, Buffalo, NY.
A 10 year accomplished pizza artist with the ability to train and assist in opening new restaurants. Bringing the latest flair into open kitchens across the United States. Working out Read More
Matt Montgomery, Hydraulic Hearth, Buffalo, NY.

A 10 year accomplished pizza artist with the ability to train and assist in opening new restaurants. Bringing the latest flair into open kitchens across the United States. Working out of his home base of Hydraulic Hearth in Buffalo New York,  Matt competed in the first Virtual U.S. Pizza Cup against 29 other competitors in 2020 and has plans on competing more with the USPT in the near future.

Gene McWilliams, Kitchens Unlimited, Effingham, IL.
Combining the deliciousness of Pizzas, Burgers and Cheese Steaks under one Roof, USPT member Gene McWilliams found out the best way to have all the best parts of dining out Read More
Gene McWilliams, Kitchens Unlimited, Effingham, IL.

Combining the deliciousness of Pizzas, Burgers and Cheese Steaks under one Roof, USPT member Gene McWilliams found out the best way to have all the best parts of dining out available under one roof! With Kitchens Unlimited, McWilliams makes a one stop shop for dinner in Effingham, IL. and beyond. Working with such entities as the Food Network, No Kid Hungry and the United States Pizza Team, McWilliams and Kitchens Unlimited are representing Southern Illionois on the world pizza map.

Athanasios Drivas – Nittany Pizza, York, PA.
Athanasios Drivas is a restaurant industry veteran with over 30 years of experience. Originally trained as an engineer, Athanasios couldn’t resist the pull of the family pizza business… and became Read More
Athanasios Drivas – Nittany Pizza, York, PA.

Athanasios Drivas is a restaurant industry veteran with over 30 years of experience. Originally trained as an engineer, Athanasios couldn’t resist the pull of the family pizza business… and became a pizza engineer! He opened Nittany Pizza in 2012, inspired by the food network to offer creative pizzas and sandwiches that you typically don’t find in a small city. In particular he wanted to get on the trend of plant forward, Vegan menu offerings, projecting that it would be an area of growth going forward. At Nittany Pizza we pioneered Vegan Pizza delivery in 2012 and were only the second shop to offer Vegan Pizza in Pennsylvania. Athanasios was correct in predicting the growth of Vegan, seeing it go from 10% of our sales when we opened to 20% of sales today- despite Vegans having more options available in our area. Additionally we offer many unique sandwiches, burritos (including the world’s first Philly Steak Burrito!), wings and burgers.

Pasquale Di Maio – Vesuvio’s Italian Catering & Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza, Minneapolis, MN.
Pasquale Di Maio was classically trained in his family’s pizzeria in Napoli, aka Naples, Italy. SInce then, he has been honing his craft and bringing joy to the masses with Read More
Pasquale Di Maio – Vesuvio’s Italian Catering & Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza, Minneapolis, MN.

Pasquale Di Maio was classically trained in his family’s pizzeria in Napoli, aka Naples, Italy. SInce then, he has been honing his craft and bringing joy to the masses with his signature dishes and pizzas.

Vesuvio’s Italian Catering & Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza is a full service caterer specializing in Italian food and mobile wood-fired pizza. Named after Monte Vesuvio, better known to English-speakers as Mount Vesuvius, the volcano whose eruption nearly 2,000 years ago destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Vesuvio’s is a fixture in the Gulf of Naples and looms especially large in the minds of the three million inhabitants in its vicinity. Similarly, Vesuvio’s Catering towers above the competition.

They are based in Hamel, Minnesota, but serve the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area and surrounding communities.

 

 

 

Mario Vollera – Southend Pizza, Venice, CA.
Pizzaiolo Mario Vollera turn out rustic pies, crisp-tender sourdough-style pizzas with a lot of Italian cheeses, local ingredients and seasonal products. He works hard to source the ingredients in ways Read More
Mario Vollera – Southend Pizza, Venice, CA.

Pizzaiolo Mario Vollera turn out rustic pies, crisp-tender sourdough-style pizzas with a lot of Italian cheeses, local ingredients and seasonal products. He works hard to source the ingredients in ways that our customers could enjoy organic,fresh and delicious pies. Mario picks Vino from all over the world,offering a vibrant wine list with lots of interesting, historical, organic, exotics vinos. Our goal is to share with all of you our love for pizza,wine and people.

 

http://www.southendla.com/

RC Gallegos – RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta, Kingwood and The Woodlands, TX.
RC Gallegos – RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta, Kingwood and The Woodlands, TX.
Rico Lunardi, Slice on Broadway – Beechview, Pittsburgh, PA.
Our job, as we see it, is to make the best darn pizza, sandwiches and salads money can buy. We make everything we possibly can from scratch, and we go Read More
Rico Lunardi, Slice on Broadway – Beechview, Pittsburgh, PA.

Our job, as we see it, is to make the best darn pizza, sandwiches and salads money can buy. We make everything we possibly can from scratch, and we go out of our way to use the best stuff out there. We wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if we didn’t. We have an abnormal obsession with pizza. We’re perfectionists. We’re stubborn. We’re uncompromising. We’re probably a little unstable. Bad news for our future therapists; good news for pizza lovers everywhere.

https://www.sliceonbroadway.com/

Alberto Russo – Flour House, San Luis Obispo, CA.
A HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAM, ONE ITALIAN BY BIRTH AND THE OTHER BY BLOOD… Their shared love for Italian culture and cuisine compelled them to open Flour House, a modern eatery offering Read More
Alberto Russo – Flour House, San Luis Obispo, CA.

A HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAM,
ONE ITALIAN BY BIRTH AND THE OTHER BY BLOOD…

Their shared love for Italian culture and cuisine compelled them to open Flour House, a modern eatery offering housemade pasta, aperitivi, and specializing in Pizza Napoletana—a heritage style so precious that it’s guarded by Italian law. They actively change the menu depending on their inspiration of different dishes and traditions throughout Italy.  

http://www.flourhouseslo.com/

https://www.instagram.com/flourhouseslo/

Audrey Jayne, Slingin’ Pizza, Laguna Park, TX.
I have worked in every type of shop, from mom and pops, to one of the worlds largest pizza companies. I knew my life goal very quickly was to open Read More
Audrey Jayne, Slingin’ Pizza, Laguna Park, TX.

I have worked in every type of shop, from mom and pops, to one of the worlds largest pizza companies. I knew my life goal very quickly was to open my own pizzeria and serve the best quality and freshest pizza we possibly can. But we aren’t here just to serve pizza…we are here to serve kindness and a loving atmosphere to any and all that walk through our doors. My partner Preston and I opened Slingin’ Pizza in 2019 and it’s been and adventure…going through Covid and the Texas freeze…then our lake being closed so no tourists, but we have come out of it fighting! That’s who we are!! That is what Slingin’ Pizza is!! We are here for you! Come join the Slingin’ Pizza Family! We look so forward to filling your belly’s for years to come!!

Janet Duran, 550 Pizzeria, Laredo, TX.
Hi, my name is Janet Duran. I’m the owner at 550 Pizzeria in Laredo, Texas. I’ve been making pies for about 10 years. It all started for me as a Read More
Janet Duran, 550 Pizzeria, Laredo, TX.

Hi, my name is Janet Duran. I’m the owner at 550 Pizzeria in Laredo, Texas. I’ve been making pies for about 10 years. It all started for me as a cashier first, then I moved my way on up to making pizza. It’s always been my favorite food so it was perfect! I then started making pizza from my house for about 3 years until I saved enough money to open my own pizzeria. So, don’t ever give up on your dreams my friends! Passion over fear!

At 550 our customers mean everything to us! And getting to know them over the years has taught us that people have some wild cravings! That’s why we make our pizzas as different as our customers are.

550 Pizzeria is sponsored by Roma PFG and Bacio Cheese

James Terwilliger, The Pizza Consultant, Buona Forchetta and Biga, San Diego, CA.
After making pizza for over 15 years and on both coasts of the US, I started my own Consulting firm focusing on pizzerias . I’ve made pizza for corporations and Read More
James Terwilliger, The Pizza Consultant, Buona Forchetta and Biga, San Diego, CA.

After making pizza for over 15 years and on both coasts of the US, I started my own Consulting firm focusing on pizzerias . I’ve made pizza for corporations and family owned restaurants in both New York and California. I still dabble part time at other pizzerias, but am focused on helping others create the best pizzas they can.