Posts Tagged ‘dough tossing’

Jay Schuurman, World Pizza Champion

If there was an award for being really, really cool under pressure, Jay Schuurman would be right up there with Winston Churchill during the blitz, the first guy ever to eat haggis, and Albert Einstein’s younger brother, (plumbing genius Konrad Einstein- inventor of the pink urine cake.) That’s Jay above in Cinqua Terre on the Italian Riviera.


World Pizza Champions, Eric Corbin, Jay and Tony Gemignani (left in 2011) and Jay with Justin Wadstein in 2007 (right)

Jay has always livened up my Italy experience but more so when bringing other California acrobats such as Champions, Justin Wadstein and Eric Corbin, (both multiple medal winners at the World Pizza Championships.) These guys also tend to keep the hotel staff on thier toes everytime we go to Italy. Here they are in 2007 talking about the hotel maid at Hotel Astro in Salsomaggiore.


Here’s Jay mellowing out before the semi finals at this years 2011 Pizza Olympics in Salsomaggiore, Italy.

Just this year, while at the World Pizza Olympics, I interviewed Jay.

“O.K. Jay, you’re gonna compete in a matter of minutes, what are you focusing on now in your mind.”

“Well… keeping the dough off of the ground and having a good time,” he said with a smile. That sums up Jay Shuurman, he’s a mellow Californian from Santa Cruz who is a great friend and a pleasure to be around. Oh, did I show you what amazing stuff this guy can do with dough…lets start in 2007.

Only four years later, Jay has reached the pinnacle of dough tossing fame. He won the silver medal after a controversial last-minute change in scores that put an Italian in first place. (Oh, did I tell you that all the judges were Italian?) Hmmmm.

                                                    Here is Jay (left) with World Pizza Champion Eric Corbin who won the Bronze Medal.

And here is Jay Shuurman at the 2011 World Pizza Championships with his medal-winning performance. Please forgive me because my camera battery gave out and I did this video with a Blackberry.

Champion Pizza Acrobats of the U.S.A.

During the 2010 World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, our team had four fabulous pizza acrobats  selected to compete against the world.

The story of our 2010 acrobats started a long way from my small town of Athens, Ohio. Where, you ask? The acrobatic drama started on the mean streets of Naples. Several other team members went down to check out real Neapolitan pizza from some of the oldest pizzerias in Italy. Unfortunately, some of these pizzeria are located in less than desirable neighborhoods. As these guys were leaving one pizzeria, they looked down at several bums, heads down, sitting with their feet in the gutter, shoving slices of pizza in their mouths and said, “Man, this town really needs to be cleaned up, look at those bums.”

Just then the bums looked up and were recognized as our acrobatic team! When asked about the rumors of rampant crime in the city, they said “No one’s bothered us.”

Two of these acrobats surely didn’t end up in the gutter. They reached the finals and beyond; Jamie Culliston and Eric Corbin, Both from Gramaldi’s Pizzeria in Tuscon.

This is what they did in the finals. First we will watch Eric Corbin (Do try this at home kids.)

Now for Jamie Culliston:

These guys are true pizza men who are proud to work day to day with pizza. Many thanks to Grimaldi’s for getting them to Italy. Here are the interviews with these guys at the award ceremony.

Here is Jamie.

Many thanks to all my team mates on the World Pizza Champions. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be on the World Pizza Champions acrobatic team just try out during the World Pizza Games held the largest and best pizza convention in the world, The International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.