How to Become a Pizza Chef

So you have leveled with the fact that there is a long, greasy, and delicious road covered in assorted flours ahead of you in perfecting your craft into becoming a pizza chef, where do you begin? There are several ways to get the dough rolling into becoming the next premier pizzaioli of the world. Now that pizza is more than just the go-to for any kids birthday party and is viewed more as an art form than a food group, there are more avenues to consider learning your craft than there once were.

Qualifications Of The Pizza Chef

On top of the typical cooking skills that are obvious in a pizza chefs repertoire, to be considered a true “certified Pizza Chef,” you must be deemed as such by following tradition. There are two governing bodies that hold strict guidelines for what constitutes a true pizza. One of them is called the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana and the other, the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napletani. Both hold the purpose of keeping the authentic method of making pizza standardized and true to the origins. These governing bodies hold training courses that go far beyond how to make a pizza taste good but also exactly how to make it in the traditional manner that has been used for over 300 years. The regulations in becoming certified include topics like how the dough is fermented during the rising process, which types of flour are used and why, and specified ingredients that are regulated to be considered certified. Skills needed to carry out these qualifications include attention to detail, ability to follow strict instructions in the processes of pizza making, knife skills and having availability of the proper ingredients mandated by the governing associations among others.

Culinary School

In the standard culinary school, you are prepared for all aspects of the culinary industry from how to cook, manage a kitchen, as well as bookkeeping designed specifically for the food service industry if it is a degree program. Generally speaking, you learn the ins and outs of the kitchen, basic and advanced knife and other skills, receive some sort of hands-on training and often participate in real life experience through internships built into the curriculum. The wide range of what you learn can all be applied to pizza making and you get the additional knowledge about restaurant management in many cases. Examples of such schools are the Culinary institute of America, Johnson & Wales University, Le Cordon Bleu, and Auguste Escoffier School of culinary arts, just to name the top ranked schools in the United States.

Schools and Classes Geared Directly To Pizza Making

In addition to the all-encompassing culinary schools, a better option for the serious pizza chef-to-be is going to an academy designed specifically for every in and out of pizza baking. There are a few notable programs that turn out some of the best, most talented, and most refined pizza chefs in the world. These include the International School of Pizza in San Francisco, California, Pizza Consulting in Compania, Spain and The Italian Culinary Academy located in New York City and Parma. Italy. Here, you will learn everything from the first step of measuring out the ingredients to the importance of the perfect finishing toppings. Many offer hands-on experience alongside established chefs that have perfected their skill to a science.

Other Avenues That Lead To Becoming a Pizza Chef

If a classroom/kitchen instructional setting is not for you, you have the option to do what thousands of families have been doing for generations: learn by watching those that have been doing it for years. Many if not the majority of authentic pizzerias in Italy have become the best because of the practice they have received from those before them in their family. Many of the chefs listed in the top pizza chefs in the world came from a background of growing up in and around the family business. Their grandparents taught them when they could stand exactly how to measure and bake the perfect pie. You probably should not count on paid training in this method but the knowledge you can learn by watching authentic pizzaiolis in Italy could be equal if not better than what you would receive in a classroom.

Whether you start standing next to an established pizza chef and watching their every move or enroll yourself in a premier school designed to teach pizza making, there is a great deal of knowledge and skill to master before you can be considered a pizza chef. Knowing how much protein is in the flour you should use, the dairy content of the cheese that is going to be used and the temperature of the perfect oven to bake in are just the beginnings. Learning these skills can come from any of the aforementioned sources to transform yourself from a pizza connoisseur to a certified pizza maker.