When you’re adept at doing something, it’s only a matter of time before you gain recognition and maybe some fame. Matt Hickey, a local pizza chef who enjoys making pizzas is now representing Pittsburgh at the national level.
Matt Hickey, commissary general manager with Caliente recently had the opportunity to represent the pizza chain and Pittsburgh at the Pizza Tomorrow Summit in Orlando, Florida.
Matt participated in four contests that tested different skills when it came to pizza making. It's called the Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup, which the summit describes as a "head-to-head battle between talented pizzaioli and pizza acrobats from across the nation."
Matt placed first in Largest Dough Stretch, which gives competitors five minutes to stretch out an 18-ounce ball of dough into its largest possible size with a perpendicular measurement.
"You do stretch a little bit differently than if you were in a pizza shop. Normally, you would keep the crust, but in this competition, you want to flatten the crust," explains Hickey. "So we work out the outside real well, not really touching the center, because the center is going to stretch naturally as you pick it up."
"There's different strategies, I like to do a wheel motion almost with my arms," says Hickey. Hickey says he managed to stretch his dough ball to roughly 36 inches though he did have two holes, which he managed to fix at the last second. If he had failed to do so, he would’ve been disqualified.
Hickey took his dough to the stage for the Pizza Acrobatics Competition, a freestyle showdown where chefs get to show off their best dough spinning alongside music. The summit says participants are judged based on difficulty, dexterity and handiwork, technique and originality, combos, and entertainment value for three minutes. Hickey placed third in this category.
Hickey also placed third in Fastest Box Fold, which tested each chef's ability to fold pizza boxes under pressure. According to the summit's social media page, Hickey managed to fold five boxes in 31.85 seconds.
When it comes to returning home as a champion, Hickey says he likes the recognition but it's much more than that. "It really boosts the whole company up," says Hickey. "It's like a whole victory for the whole company and the whole pizza community out there as a whole."
Hickey says it's a huge honor to represent the city. "When we travel around the country, they know Caliente," Hickey says, "They know we play hard."
Author’s Note: This article is solely for information purposes. The embedded links and information shared in the article are attributed to pizzatomorrow.com, facebook.com, and cbsnews.com.