Pizza Today - August 2019 - 20

Knead To Know
JOHN ARENA

Going for Gold
Competition Dough with Laura Meyer

T

his generation of pizza makers
views pizza competitions as a
proving ground for innovation and
a pathway to recognition. Competition
has served to unite pizza makers but
make no mistake, consistent winners are
fiercely driven to succeed. We are proud
of the pizza we serve in our shops but the
unique challenges of making dough at
a competition venue coupled with strict
judging criteria require that we consider
modifying or adapting our dough if we are
going to make a serious run for the Gold.
I spoke with Laura Meyer, Executive
Chef for Pizza Rock in Sacramento and
Las Vegas. Laura is a protégé of Tony
Gemignani. A multi style champion, Laura
has emerged as a competitive force and
gifted coach in her own right. She agreed
to share her experience as an international
competitor.
Every pizza maker has to start somewhere

2 0 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

but sometimes fate lends a hand and shapes
our future as Laura explains.
LM: I got my start in 2006 at my local
pizzeria. It happened to be where Tony G.
worked and where it all began.
JA: By 2011 what started as a job had
become a career.
LM: In 2011 I moved to San Francisco
to take the KM role at Tony G's Tony's
Pizza Napoletana. I didn't really think of
restaurants as a career until I had seen the
culture and community that surrounds
restaurant life in SF.
JA: Over time Laura's role in the pizzeria
under Tony's mentorship has evolved.
LM: I was a pizza maker/cook/did
anything. Slowly I proved that I was capable
of more and moved into a manager role. It
wasn't until 2011 when Tony asked me if I
wanted to take the KM role that I realized
I was destined for more. I don't think Tony,

or I really, thought about what I was
capable of, but we knew there was
potential for more. What more was
had yet to be determined, but the
challenge was there. I took on the
KM role and slowly learned the skills
needed to not only make different
styles of pizza, compete, manage a
kitchen with more moving parts than
a car, and become a public speaker -
but also how to navigate personalities
and build relationships. Now I'm
the executive chef for the company
and have a hand in multiple projects
and work with various companies
worldwide.
JA: In addition to being a brilliant
pizzaiola, Laura has developed an
understanding of her leadership
position in our industry.
LM: It's one thing to know every
technique and style of pizza, but if
you don't know how to speak and
work with others and teach them, no
vision will be a success.
JA: Champions in any field agree
that victory depends on more than
just technical skill. Developing
a winning mindset is a crucial
component that often separates
winners from the rest of the pack.
LM: Being slightly uncomfortable
at all times is a driving force. My
coach growing up used to say, "you
need to get comfortable with being
uncomfortable" and that's what
competition is for me. It's easy to get
wrapped up in the day to day that is
a restaurant, especially when you're
the boss, and become complacent.
Competing pushes you. Tony said I
could compete for the first time in
2013 in Las Vegas and that's when
I learned how big the pizza industry
really is. From that first time I had
the itch to compete. More to prove to
myself that I could do it than to win.
JA: Laura has developed a healthy


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Pizza Today - August 2019

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

Pizza Today - August 2019
Commentary
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
@ Pizza Today
Conversation
Man on the Street
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead to Know
Destinations
Supply Alternatives
Baked Goods
Pizza Toppings: Mortadella
Seasonal Pastas
Artificial Intelligence
In-House Delivery vs. Third Party
Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
Pizza Today on the Road: Goremade, Columbus, Oh
Pizza Today on the Road: Park Street Pizza
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - August 2019 - CT1
Pizza Today - August 2019 - CT2
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza Today - August 2019
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Cover2
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Commentary
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 4
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 5
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 6
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 7
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Contributors
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 9
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 11
Pizza Today - August 2019 - @ Pizza Today
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 13
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Conversation
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 15
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 17
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 19
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 21
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 22
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 23
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Destinations
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 25
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Supply Alternatives
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 27
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 28
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 29
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 30
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 31
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Baked Goods
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 33
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 34
Pizza Today - August 2019 - CT3
Pizza Today - August 2019 - CT4
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 35
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza Toppings: Mortadella
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 37
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Seasonal Pastas
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 39
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Artificial Intelligence
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 41
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 42
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 43
Pizza Today - August 2019 - In-House Delivery vs. Third Party
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 45
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 46
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 47
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 49
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 50
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 51
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza Today on the Road: Goremade, Columbus, Oh
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 53
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 54
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 55
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza Today on the Road: Park Street Pizza
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 57
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 58
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 59
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 60
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 61
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 62
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 63
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 65
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 67
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 68
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 69
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 70
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 71
Pizza Today - August 2019 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 73
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 74
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 75
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 76
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 77
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 78
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 79
Pizza Today - August 2019 - 80
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Cover3
Pizza Today - August 2019 - Cover4
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