Created in 2006, the Università della Pizza® (Pizza University) project remains unparalleled for the completeness of the subjects studied and for the competence of its teachers: technologists, doctors, cooks, experts in management and communication, who teach alongside well-known names of Italian pizza making. The teaching staff also includes leading Italian food and wine journalists and sommeliers.
Pizza is not just dough, yeast and baking. It also takes good cooking techniques, an ability to choose the best ingredients, such as meat and fish, the organisation of staff, and clear ideas on cost structure. And more and more frequently, it means knowing how to read nutritional tables, match wine and beer, communicate well in the dining room, at events, and on the web. Università della Pizza® courses teach all about wheat, with the help of those who select and mill the best varieties of common wheat grown in Italy.
The courses are subdivided into 3 levels to satisfy the requests of a growing number of gourmets, who see the pizzeria as the future of a healthy and tasty way of eating out affordable by everyone. Because pizza has to combine popularity with great quality, just like every other speciality of Italian cuisine.
The first Università della Pizza® courses began in 2006. The purpose: to train pizza makers in quality ingredients and cooking techniques to bring pizza into line with the quality of the finest Italian cuisine, in terms of product and service.
The project was designed to meet the growing consumer demand to benchmark pizzerias against the highest catering standards and therefore to show pizza professionals an alternative approach focused on the product rather than on the pizza maker. In other words, a search for customer appreciation linked to the quality of the dish, rather than just success in competitions between professionals, of little interest to pizzeria regulars. In a market situation with too many pizza "world champions", and too few pizzas worthy of the name of "a good Italian dish". Those who attend Università della Pizza® courses, strive to become champions for their customers, and part of a national team that never stops growing.
In 2013, after some years, and hundreds of "certificates" issued to as many pizza makers, the syllabus of the °Università della Pizza® was totally revised, to keep offering an unprecedented opportunity for those who wish to attract the most demanding consumers. A 2.0 version of a course with°3 levels of professional multidisciplinary studies.
The change was inspired by the tried and tested °PizzaUp® format, a technical symposium on Italian pizza that today is a key occasion to swap opinions for those who consider pizza an expression of° food excellence° in Italy and the rest of the world. The new Università della Pizza® courses are available at different levels;°Base, followed by °Advanced° and finally °Gourmet. And before tackling the full course, there is an optional°2-day preparatory course° also suitable for those who have never put "their hands in dough" and want to undertake a new line of work.
Università della Pizza® is based in the old Molino Quaglia site in Vighizzolo d'Este (Padua) where the very first stone mill is located.
The interiors have been renovated preserving the old materials like stone and wood, some old work tools, the original windows, the flour bins: everything just as it was.
However, the technology is state-of-the-art: 7 classrooms that can work in parallel featuring systems to project videos and still images, 4 cameras for close-ups in the large assembly hall, eco-friendly chairs, multimedia wiring on all four floors, Wi-Fi, a mega screen for courses on the use of social networking, many kinds of oven (wood-burning, gas, several electric ones, and a rational convection one), proving chambers, several kinds of mixer, a floor dedicated to cooking techniques and a kitchen attached to the assembly hall, pizza and bakery-patisserie schools with fully-equipped premises featuring real shops, pizzerias and restaurants.
Attending courses at Università della Pizza® also means enjoying the atmosphere of an old mill given a new lease of life, to become the most modern and complete professional pizza teaching facility in Italy.
view of an introductory lesson in pizzeria communication techniques in the assembly hall
photo by Thorsten Stobbe for Università della Pizza®
scorcio di una lezione introduttiva alle tecniche di comunicazione per la pizzeria in aula magna.foto di Thorsten Stobbe per Università della Pizza®
The teaching method is innovative: participants take part in a full schedule of hands-on classes and theoretical lessons organised for small groups on yeast, dough, baking and the fine-tuning of recipes, while at the same time, other groups are busy studying fundamental notions for the overall quality of the pizzeria: e.g. the nutritional aspects of food, communication techniques for the dining room and the web, tips on managing staff and co-workers, organisational gambits to improve the pizza eating experience, "tricks" to select the most suitable ingredients according to the season, and work with them in the kitchen.
The teaching model used in the courses reproduces the successful PizzaUp® organisational model:
participants divided into teams
hands-on courses supported by theoretical sessions
a team at a time works in the kitchen while the others attend theoretical-practical seminars on topics that add value to the pizza maker's work, such as the nutritional aspects of food, simple forms of communication in the dining room and on the web, essential techniques for managing staff and co-workers, organisational gambits to improve the pizza eating experience, "tricks" to select the most suitable ingredients according to the season and work with them in the kitchen, how to put together a wine and beer cellar for a pizzeria, the origin of wheat and their processing, and much, much more.
And in the end, the presentation and tasting of pizzas made in accordance with the standards of the Italian Contemporary Pizza Manifesto at an invitation-only evening in our Dynamic Pizzeria, opened to the public for the occasion.
To achieve satisfactory business, a pizzeria can no longer rely only on local customers. For this reason, communication is one of the key ingredients for success after raising product quality. Communicating effectively attracts the interest and stimulates the curiosity of new customers, offering outstanding products with impeccable service makes them loyal, and prompts them to return and talk about everything with satisfaction. Sustainable communication, in terms of the economic commitment and the time dedicated to it, is a mixture of participation in a few select outside events accompanied by continuous presence on the social networks (above all Facebook® and Twitter®) with brief texts and pictures. There is a clear advantage in informing new and regular customers about one's activities and new menu items . Università della Pizza® teaches how to communicate on the web, and how to advertise one's quality to the public.