“We try to give the most accurate experience and try to remain as traditional as possible just like you were to travel to Italy and take this pizza class,” said Master Instructor Leo Spizzirri.
That’s what you can expect at the North American Pizza And Culinary Academy. The Lisle business is the second of its kind in the U.S. and came to be from Leo Spizzirri.
“We’re part of the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli, which is the oldest pizza school in Italy,” said Spizzirri, the co-founder of the academy. “So with the certification program that we do, you have the choice to either come in and take a professional pizza course to get that certificate, we also offer one-day and three-day immersion class.”
The full certificate program teaches 30 hours of professional dough making, oven training, and tasty toppings, with ten hours of pizza theory about dough chemistry and grains.
“It’s been a lot of work to really talk to people about the artisan of pizza and what goes into making a really good pizza that’s healthy, digestible, all these quality ingredients that we use,” said Spizzirri. “And finally we’re at a point now that the market is starting to understand, ‘hey if I’m only going to eat pizza once a month, this is what I’m going to go search out and eat because I know this is good pizza.’”
The academy is unlike any other in the world, with a full culinary kitchen and pizza school, oven room, production kitchen, and even a showroom for specialty goods to buy.
“Because we didn’t want to be like all the other pizza schools in the world where it’s the school in the back of a pizzeria. We wanted to make a learning facility with the opportunity of having the classes and everything else and really going all out,” said Co-Founder and Chef Anthony Iannone.
Those classes are teaching more than just Italian cooking.
“It’s going to be an international class, where maybe one day will be Asian, one day might be Indian – the demonstration classes. And then we have some hands-on classes where people actually get the opportunity to make the food alongside the chefs to learn.”
And location plays a key part to bringing in the dough.
“To be able to be in Chicago to offer a certified pizza program in a huge city that’s known for pizza, to us it was a very special thing because it really gave us a huge opportunity to number one support the Midwest, what we’re doing in baking, and obviously what we’re doing with education for the next generation of bakers to come.”
And even though Spizzirri is from Chicago and Iannone is a bit loyal to his New York roots, they both agree…
“You have to love pizza. You can’t go wrong with pizza,” added Iannone.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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