Pizza. It’s pretty much the most important thing ever. But for the intrepid people of Italy — birthplace of modern pizza culture — pizza may go the way of the dodo. Okay, not really, but there is a vital shortage of dough and sauce guys in Italy.
According to reports from the Italian business federation, the country’s short around 6,000 pizza makers. Of late, they’ve had to cull pizza-making talent from abroad, and many pizza operations are now overseen by people with no formal pizza training.
The decline in Italian pizza makers is in part because the pizza-making biz has lost its luster for many Italians. “The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating, it is a manual labour job,” pizzeria owner Alessandro Rossi told The Telegraph. Thanks to globalization and development, Italians now crave “nice comfortable office job[s] where they can work six hours a day, five days a week, in air-conditioning. They’re not prepared to work 10, 12 hours a day.”
Pizza guy Francesco De Marco disagrees. “It’s not that Italians don’t want to be pizza makers,” he said. “You can get an immigrant worker to work for much less and longer hours so the pizzeria owner opts for that even if they may not be good at making pizzas.”
John Arenas is the owner of Metro Pizza, and is a pizza historian. He’s the instructor of the University of Nevada — Las Vegas course History and Culture and Pizza (in my head I’m calling it Pizza and Its Discontents), and isn’t too worried. “Pizza has always been an evolutionary process and has always been a reflection of the people making it,” he says. “You don’t find any Italians in the kitchens in Italy any more,” but no biggie, “there have been people doing great things with French food that aren’t French.” However, he says, “The very best pizza makers are people that grew up around this food.”
Italy, let’s bring back the prestige to the pizza industry! This is a vital part of our global food outlook! And pizza, along with Sophia Loren and cast members of “The Jersey Shore,” is one of Italy’s most vital global contributions. On a related note, this might be the moment for Italian women to try their hands at making pizza. It seems that it’s a traditionally male-dominated field, but if the dudes have no interest in pizza, maybe the ladies can step up their game? I know you can do it, don’t let us down! [AOL]