OXFORD, Miss. -- Members of the U.S. Pizza Team posted strong finishes at the World Pizza Championships, held April 7-9 in Salsomaggiore, Italy.
According to a U.S. Pizza Team report, Giorgio Giove, co-owner of Brother's Pizza in Staten Island, N.Y., won second place in the Classico pizza competition with his zucchini and bacon pizza. Giove was just three points shy of the first place Italian winner, Tessio Tesei, who received 779 points out of 800.
Giove's pizza was also recognized as the best pizza from North America.
"Winning the spot on the U.S. Pizza Team made me feel like the happiest pizza guy in the world, because I had finally realized that all of my interest as a kid in making pizza did become very useful," Giove said. "I had finally made my family and myself proud. I love everything about pizza."
U.S. Pizza Team founder, Steve Green, called Giove's finish a huge honor for the American team.
"The Classico competition is the most prestigious of all the categories at the World Pizza Championships," Green said. "It was amazing that an American placed in this category."
Four-store Domino's Pizza franchisee Brian Edler placed third in the largest dough stretch category. According to the report, Edler, whose stores are based in Findlay, Ohio, has twice been a Domino's World Pizza Champion.
A total of six U.S. pizza makers on the team earned their spots through competitions held at the January International Restaurant and Foodservice Show in New York City, and the February Mid-America Soft Serve, Restaurant and Pizza Show in Columbus, Ohio.
The entire team competed as a unit in the acrobatic competition, centering its routine on a comedic storyline about an Italian vacationing in New York.
According to Tony Gemignani, five-time world acrobatic champion (See related story "Who's Who: Tony Gemignani") and this year's team coach, though the team did not place, he especially was pleased with its performance in light of the group's short amount of preparation time. According to the report, teams from other countries often have months and years to train together as a unit.