I thought I knew all about the pizza industry. After all, I did spend 5 years working in R&D at Kagome Inc., a specialty sauce manufacturer that produces sauce for various pizza chains in the United States and Asia. I loved developing new sauce concepts and trying to match the dice size, Brix and pH of our competitors.

 While I may know more than the average person when it comes to pizza, I definitely don’t know as much as Joe Carrlucci, a pioneer in the pizza industry. Joe is not only a three-time World Pizza Champion, but he is also a pizza consultant who has helped many start-up and existing pizzerias become successful. However, what Joe is really most famous for is his pizza acrobatics: He holds the Guinness World Record for highest pizza toss using a 20-oz. dough.

 I had the opportunity to watch Joe in action the other night at Famous Johnny’s Pizza in San Bruno, Calif. Famous Johnny’s is owned by John Patterson, who just happens to be my next-door neighbor! Joe was busy entertaining the crowds, but I did manage to ask him some technical questions about the dough he uses in his performance. Apparently, it’s a special performance dough that is made with three times the salt, no yeast and ice-cold water. This gives the dough more elasticity and snap, so it won’t break during the performance.

 When I was at Kagome, I only worked on sauce—not dough—so this was all very interesting food-science information. I would be curious to hear the thoughts of any pizza makers out there on how to make pizza dough more acrobatic-ready.

 I never travel anywhere without my Flip video camera, and managed to capture the moment live—along with some other great footage of my favorite local pizzeria.

About Rachel Zemser