Posts Tagged ‘italy’

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.

Tony Gemignani wins the Caputo Cup in Naples, Italy

At the beginning of this month, my friend Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Napoletana in San Francisco shocked the International pizza world again with his first place win at the 10th Annual World Championships of Pizza Makers in Naples, Italy. Tony surpassed over 300 international competitors with his Pizza a Metro, or Roman style pizza, and walked away with the Caputo Cup. This is the only APN (Association Pizza Napolitani) sanctioned competition in the world. It’s sponsored by Caputo Flour.

Tony has always been a smooth competitor. Here he is in the largest dough stretch at the World Pizza Championships in Italy.

“It is a great honor to be the first American to win with all these great Italian pizzas being made here,” Tony said as he held this huge trophy. Tony’s winning pizza was a meter-long Roman-style pizza called “Quattro Regioni,” or Four Regions. Ingredients from Rome, Naples, Puglia, and Calabria were represented on this pizza. “All the planning, preparation, and hard travel to get over here and make a great pizza has paid off.” Tony says. “It was over 100 degrees in there and I was worried about my dough. The four judges grilled me with questions but I soon found that each of these judges came from a region on my pizza.”

Tony is the owner of Tony’s Napoletana in San Francisco and Chief Instructor at the International School of Pizza. He is also President of the World Pizza Champions and is no stranger to winning in Italy. He had just added “Best Pizza in the U.S.A.” at the World Pizza Championships in Northern Italy to his ten other International culinary awards. Tony has just opened 900 Degrees with his partner and another pizza legend, Bruno di Fabio in New York City.

Congratulations Tony! You’re a great pizza man and a great friend.