Pizza Today - March 2019 - 14

@PizzaToday

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MEET THE MAKER

Q&A WITH LAURA MEYER
CORPORATE EXECUTIVE CHEF, PIZZA ROCK / SACRAMENTO, CA / LAS VEGAS & HENDERSON, NV

Q: How long have you
been making pizza?
A: I first started making pizza
in 2006 when I was 17 at my
local pizzeria in Castro Valley, CA
called Pyzano's.
Q: What's your favorite
pizza style to make and why?
A: My favorite style to make
is very much dependent on
my mood. At our restaurants
we make 13 styles of pizza.
I'm fortunate that I always have
something new to practice or
perfect. On the days that I'm feeling
a little stressed and frustrated I
can work the New York line and
the dough can withstand a little
more force. If I'm having a great day
and I'm really feeling the details
I'll work the Neapolitan line. If
everything is clicking and I'm multi
tasking like a champ I'll work our
main line where the bulk of all the
styles are made. There are some
days where I'd rather just make
dough all day because the kitchen is
just too loud and I'd rather be in my
own head and it being just me and
the mixer is soothing.
Q: How did you learn your
craft?
A: I learned how to make pizza
from Tony Gemignani starting in
2006. That first pizzeria I worked
in was owned by his brother and
he worked there. It was there that
he first taught me how to push
out a pizza. I moved over to his
restaurant Tony's in 2011 as the

kitchen manager. I worked there
from 2011-2018. It was during
my time at Tony's where I learned
about the ever-changing world of
pizza. I learned various hands-on
techniques, different types of
equipment, how to be a manager,
how to be a chef, how to compete
on the international stage, how to
be a public speaker, how to teach
and so much more.
Q: What's been your biggest
challenge with pizza dough and
how did you solve it?
A: My biggest challenge with
dough is how it changes every
day. You make dough one day and
it comes out great. It feels great,
looks great, you followed your
recipe and what you know and
the next day it's nothing what you
thought. Figuring out how to back
track and solve an unknown is the
hardest part. Factors change every
day and no two recipes are ever
the same, so how to make them all
consistent is the challenge.

Q: You've grown within Tony
Gemignani's restaurants. How
have you been able to transition
from pizzaiola to an executive
role?
A: I think I've been able to
transition from pizzaiola to manager
and chef through dedication and
drive. Growing up I never really
had a dream of becoming a specific
thing. Instead I've always wanted
to be an expert in something. Pizza
became a passion of mine and it
became the thing I wanted to be
an expert in. I'm not an expert yet,
and I think that's how I've been able
to advance. I'm always looking to
learn more and do more - always
wondering what's next. I also
learned early on that pizza making
is not just the physical act but a
personal thing. If I wanted to be
successful I had to learn how to
talk to people. I had to learn that
pizza is something different to
everyone and you have to learn
how to relate. Being a leader meant
having the knowledge to make my
crew better and how to push them.
There's a balance of teaching your
crew how to care about the pizzas
they are making and at the same
time making the customer feel like
they're the only ones in the room
and that their pizza and their dining
experience is the most important.
Tony has taught me a tremendous
amount, but so have the cooks I've
worked with. Just like pizza, there's
never two exactly the same and you
have to understand the differences.

IF YOU'RE ATTENDING PIZZA EXPO THIS YEAR
PLEASE USE THE HASHTAG
#PIZZAEXPO2019
1 4 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 9

FACEBOOK DISCUSSION

In the Headlines:
"Dayton's newest Pizza Hut
can't deliver until it finds
more drivers"
Hiring! It's tough out there.
This operation was forced to
be carryout only due to lack
of delivery drivers. What's
your pizzeria experiencing
with hiring right now? If
you're not currently hiring,
what's your secret?
It's definitely a struggle! We
pay hourly for our drivers like
all other employees. The other
places in town don't and I've
heard have turnover issues.
It's about building a place
people want to work at!
Erica Warlow
Black Rock Pizzeria & Bakery

Been delivering 13 years.
Planning to eliminate our
delivery and use Uber and Grub
Hub. Not worth extra insurance
and payroll taxes, no matter
what delivery fee we charge.
Michael R Torrence
Upper Crust Pizza

We have no trouble finding
drivers (usually friends of
current drivers - mostly local
college kids) We pay the
legal rate over $10/hr plus $1
reimbursement per run plus
tips and are busy so these guys
are usually making over $20/
hr. We have an app that helps
guide them and organizes the
entire delivery process including
tracking them. We do not use
3rd party services
Periklis Anastasakis
Famous Pizza

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Pizza Today - March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - March 2019

Pizza Today - March 2019
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Road to Pizza Expo
Destinations
Knead to Know
Learning From Others
Non-Traditional Locations
Pizza Expo Preview
Pizza Head, St. Louis
Mozzapi, Louisville
Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - March 2019 - CT1
Pizza Today - March 2019 - CT2
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Pizza Today - March 2019
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Cover2
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Commentary
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 4
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 5
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Contents
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 7
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 8
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 9
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Contributors
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 11
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 13
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Interact
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 15
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Conversation
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 17
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 19
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 21
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Road to Pizza Expo
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 23
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Destinations
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 25
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 27
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 28
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 29
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 30
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 31
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 32
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Pizza Today - March 2019 - 50
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 51
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 52
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 53
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 54
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 55
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Learning From Others
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 57
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 58
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 59
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Non-Traditional Locations
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 61
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 62
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 63
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Pizza Expo Preview
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 65
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 66
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 67
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Pizza Head, St. Louis
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 69
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 70
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 71
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 72
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 73
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Mozzapi, Louisville
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 75
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 76
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 77
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 78
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 79
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 81
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 82
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 83
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Pizza Today - March 2019 - 108
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 109
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 111
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 112
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 113
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 114
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 115
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 116
Pizza Today - March 2019 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 118
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 119
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 120
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 121
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 122
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 123
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Pizza Today - March 2019 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - March 2019 - 130
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Cover3
Pizza Today - March 2019 - Cover4
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