Q&A: World pizza-tossing champion Dave Sommers

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From the February 6, 2014 edition

The Italians don’t always clean up at competitions. Don’t 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 it’s always real dough. We have the recipe on our website, but you probably wouldn’t want to eat it since it contains a lot of salt. It’s heartier than most dough and can stand a little more abuse than regular. We have a practice dough called “throw dough,” which is great because you can work on tricks without having to actually make a fresh batch.

Even if you’re not competing, the pizza-tossing competition is something to see. You wouldn’t 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. I’ve even done a one-handed pushup while spinning dough.

It’s actually really easy to get into, and once you’re into it, you’re 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.