Italy Faces Shortage -- Of Pizza Makers

Italy needs pizza-makersEven though so many jobs are outsourced or performed by immigrant labor, you might think that Italy would be the one place in the world were you could count on your pizza being made by an Italian. But according to a new report by FIPE, an Italian business federation, there's a shortage of pizza-makers in the country, and foreigners like Egyptians are filling the void.

The current pizza-maker deficit in the country is pegged at 6,000, reports Britain's Telegraph newspaper. The figure is jarring for reasons well beyond pizza's place in Italian culture; the country's unemployment rate is currently 12 percent. (The figure is even higher for Italian youth -- 35 percent.)

And the reason that out-of-work Italians aren't signing up for the job? Because they simply don't want to get their hands deep enough in the dough to maintain the 25,000 pizzerias, some say. "The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating, it is a manual labour job," Rome pizzaria owner Alessandro Rossi told The Telegraph. Italians "want a nice comfortable office job 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," Rossi said.

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An average of 100 people per year from Egypt are receiving formal pizza training in Italy, according to the Italian School for Pizza Makers. Newly turned-out pizza-makers also reportedly hail from Bangladesh, the Philippines and the Ukraine. Although teachers in pizza-making are from Naples, where pizza reputedly originated, ABC News reports that there aren't enough trainers to go around in a country that consumes an estimated 3 billion pies a year. FIPE says that 1 out of every 5 pizzeria managers in the country has hired workers who hasn't completed any formal training in pizza-making.

Of course a move toward non-Italian pizza-makers is hardly unique to Italy. Roberto Caporuscio, U.S. president of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, told NBC News that "most of the immigrants" now preparing pies in American restaurants are from Latin America.

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There are intricacies to any cuisine. People who do not cook do not understand how delicate the process can be and how minor tweaks and differences in technique can be the difference between a good pizza and a truly excellent pizza ... not to mention ingredients and how they are combined. Still, I thnk that most great cooks and food service professionals became such by being dumped in a ktichen at minimum wage and learning on the run. Maybe the Italians need to skip the formal training and just get some eager folks in their restaurants with their sleeves rolled up to learn the craft.

May 04 2013 at 12:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I`m Italian and I want to tell all the one that say that pizza is an American invention to get the facts straights. DONT STEAL WHAT IS NOT YOURS. By the way in Italy pizza is made with tomatoes, fresh tomatoes sliced and not with tomato souce, the only time you use souce is when there is no tomato around. thin pizza ,large enough for one person to eat alone with the best ingredients around like arugula,provoletta, salame , the 4 stagioni etct.. yes in the USA there is good pizza but our Italian pizza is the best and also depends were you get it. My best pizza eating was in the slopes of MT.ETNA in a town called Linguaglossa. a midnight it was still packed to the fullest. and the pizza was worth waiting for . Fabulous! that is the place that most Sicilian on the west coast go.

May 03 2013 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Andy Bauer

Wow...Italians don't want pizzeria jobs because they'd have to work 10-12 hours a day instead of 6? Shoot, I do that now! I've been working 12-hour shifts for 19 years at 3 different jobs, and I just started another job with 12-hour shifts. But of course, when you're unemployed, I was raised to believe no job is "beneath" you, especially when you have bills to pay. I was unemployed for 9 months, and I would have gladly worked in an Italian pizzeria (especially if it was in Italy!) if it would have gotten me out of the house. Plus, I love Italian I'd have to cook twice as many for you, one-a for for you, one-a for me...LOL

May 03 2013 at 9:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andy Bauer's comment

Good post Andy! Hope your work ethic rubs off on some of our citizen slackers.

May 04 2013 at 12:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


May 03 2013 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I invented a new "club" pizza. It has three layers. The first layer is roast turkey. The second layer is lettuce, Roma tomatoes, and crispy bacon. The top has crushed tomatoes, black pepper and mozzarella cheese.

May 03 2013 at 3:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alfredschrader's comment

Now THIS is what you'd call "an american invention."

Bon appétit!

May 03 2013 at 4:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

it's a lot of work making dough and having to make dough for many many pizzas would take a very strong person who's got stamina for 10 people. All hyper active people who can't seem to hold still and are always on the go should apply for this job!

May 03 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First, pizza is an ITALIAN "invention".

Second, North Aftricans and Eastern Europeans have been taking more pizza-making jobs than Italians for at least 20 years.

Finally, when pizza-making becomes "what Americans do", and Italian unemployment goes past 20%, the Italians will "discover" that "they do it best."

May 03 2013 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fermiuno's comment

Yes, you do kind of have to chuckle at the idea that pizza is somehow "not an Italian invention"? Huh?

What's next -- sushi isn't really Japanese?

May 03 2013 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
karen and pitts

lots of misinformation here. pizza is was an american invention. not a mother country italian invention.

May 02 2013 at 2:52 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to karen and pitts's comment

Better do some more research -- and that goes for both of you, karen and pitts.

Pizza was in fact invented in Naples -- there were flatbreads before that in different parts of Europe and the Middle East, but our modern-day pizza came from there, well back into the 1800s. The first pizzeria in North America was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi in New York City. But pizza really only became popular in the U.S. after World War II, when G.I.s coming back from Italy wanted to have pizza over here, too.

Yeah, there's a lot of "misinformation" all right -- coming from you two.

May 03 2013 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rocky's comment

I might add, Mr. Lombardi was an Italian immigrant, so obviously pizza couldn't have been "an american invention" -- so much for your "misinformation" idea, karen and pitts.

May 03 2013 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Sounds like the mindset of all people in Nanny state, big government countries.

May 02 2013 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pizza is such an interpretive food, it's not as though it must be made by Italians only or it's not pizza.

May 02 2013 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ravennightfall31's comment

That's true, but the same could be said about a lot of other foods too. The point above is that pizza was invented in Italy -- from there, just like with a lot of the world's cuisines, Americans have put their own spin on things. Hey, that's what we do.

May 03 2013 at 4:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rocky's comment

What with invention being what it is, I would bet the FIRST pizza was in whatever country first had tomatoes and bread. People have a propensity to mix whatever they have into whatever they can think of and if you can have pizza without cheese or without sauce then I guess you can call any bread baked with toppings on it a pizza.

May 03 2013 at 10:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

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