The Italians created pizza, but can you believe that they had never heard of stuffed pizza? That's until Leo Spizzirri made some noise among the best pizza makers in the world. Leo, the Executive Chef for Giordano's 46 locations, is now a member of theWorld Pizza Champions
. He is considered one of the best pizza makers in the world, and his specialty is stuffed pizza.
Leo has been trained by nine-time pizza champion, Tony Gemignani, and is also certified in Classic Italian Pizza, Pizza in Pala, and Pizza in Taglia from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli in Carole, Italy.
Gemigiani tagged Leo to be a part of the U.S. team after many conversations about stuffed pizza and tasting the Chicago style pizza. Chicago style stuffed pizza wasn't recognized in any of the World Championship competitions, but Gemigiani wanted to change that.
When the Italians refused to acknowledge stuffed pizza, the USA threatened to boycott the games. After much controversy, Chicago style pizza was added. Now the pizza is the biggest story at the games.
The World Pizza Championships are held each year in Salsomaggiore, Italy, which is about an hour south of Milan. Approximately 4,000 pizza makers converge on one city to compete for the coveted title.
The competition has five different categories: Pizza Acrobatics, Fastest Pizza, Fastest Pizza Box Folder, World's Best Pizza, and Largest Dough Stretch.
Leo competes in the "World's Best Pizza" category. The USA has more medals than any other country in the world, and the team has been featured guests on many national TV shows, including the Today Show and Oprah.
Leo is the only team member from Illinois. He is a first generation Italian-American that has a passion for making pizza.
As general manager at Giordano's flagship store on Rush Street, means that he feeds thousands of hungry guests a week, and it's not uncommon for Leo to personally make a stuffed pizza for celebrities that stop in when visiting Chicago.
Check out a Giordano's stuffed pizza and you will concur that it is one of the best pizzas in town. It only makes sense, because it's made by one of the best pizza makers in the world.
To check out Leo and the US Pizza Team, visit www.leopizza.com.