Pizza isn't just Dave Sommers' favorite food, it's a way of life. The self-described "pizza-lete" has worked in the pizza business since he was 14 and now owns four Mad Mushroom storefronts in Indiana. Sommers has also made everyone's favorite food part of his favorite pastime. While competing with the U.S. Pizza team in more than 20 pizza-tossing competitions, he won the world title for speed at the World Pizza Competition in Italy. This weekend, Sommers will compete against more than 100 other pizzaletes at the Columbus Convention Center.
The Italians donít always clean up at competitions. Donít get me wrong, they normally do really well, but last year I think one of the top prizes was taken home by a couple of guys from France, so that was pretty cool. The U.S. team does really well, too. I actually won the speed competition
Ohio is a hotbed for pizza-tossing talent. A lot of winners in a variety of events come from Ohio. Early U.S. Pizza Team trials were held in Columbus, both the culinary and acrobatic. Ohio people just love to compete.
There is a special recipe for the dough in pizza tossing competitions, but itís always real dough. We have the recipe on our website, but you probably wouldnít want to eat it since it contains a lot of salt. Itís heartier than most dough and can stand a little more abuse than regular. We have a practice dough called ďthrow dough,Ē which is great because you can work on tricks without having to actually make a fresh batch.
Even if youíre not competing, the pizza-tossing competition is something to see. You wouldnít believe the kind of tricks the competitors can do. Some of them can toss pizza lying down, being blindfolded, or even setting the dough on fire. Iíve even done a one-handed pushup while spinning dough.
Itís actually really easy to get into, and once youíre into it, youíre addicted. There are teams and competitions all over the place, and once you start learning the tricks, you never want to quit. You can find out how to get started at uspizzateam.com.
No matter what anyone says, I will never get sick of pizza. There are so many different ways to prepare pizza. Every time you eat or make it is an opportunity to try something different. With different topping combinations and various crust styles, you can basically create any kind of pizza you want.