Retrospective: 10 years at Pizza Today

My first story covered one of my favorites –– wine!

June 2004: My first story covered one of my favorites –– wine!

Today marks my 10-year anniversary at Pizza Today.

A decade.

In that time, I’ve attended more than a dozen Pizza Expo shows around the country, traveled to more than 100 pizzerias from coast to coast and written hundreds of articles covering everything from Cabernet (my first story) and smoking bans to the rise of display kitchens and social media.

In that time, Pizza Today has undergone countless redesigns, a few staff changes and a recession. We joined Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and won a gold award for our efforts). Our Web site has grown and changed exponentially, and we are still learning daily.

Each week, I do a “Throwback Thursday” blog post that takes a look at a past issue of Pizza Today. We’ve been around more than THREE DECADES, and that gives me plenty of fodder for discussion. Many of the topics from the 1980s are still relevant today, including hiring and retention, competing with the big chains, keeping food costs down and managing delivery. We’re still covering the most pressing issues facing modern operations, and we’re honored to do so.

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Emceeing the International Pizza Challenge is harder than it seems. Above, Brian Spurlock from Loui Loui’s Authentic Detroit Style Pizza competes in the American Pan division.

Still, plenty of new issues have arisen in the past 10 years. POS systems were in their infancy 10 years ago, but today’s models can track everything from which employees are clocking in late to who’s using too much pepperoni on a large pizza. Artisan pizza was still relatively new a decade ago –– my idea of gourmet was California Pizza Kitchen‘s barbecue chicken pizza. Today, it’s not uncommon to see corn, broccoli rabe, crab meat and  I’ve had some really crazy toppings in my time here. I love sweet-hot peppers, buffalo chicken and bleu cheese on pizza. I’m still not a fan of mushrooms. (And the worst? Blood sausage. Look it up, then try to forget it.)

photo studio

This artichoke spinach dip and homemade pita chips were apparently a lot of fun to make.

I’ve also been privileged to meet some really great folks, many of whom I am privileged to call friends. Scott Wiener, Glenn Cybulski, Scott Anthony, the Hadjis family, John Gutekanst, Roberto Caporuscio, Jeff Freehof, and the late Pat Bruno are but a few of some of the greatest people I’ve met along the way.  Some I only see once a year at Pizza Expo, but Facebook and e-mail makes it easier to connect daily, and I think that only helps the camaraderie that fuels our industry.

Tshirts

This is my daughter, Bella, modeling for a story on t-shirts way back in 2004. She’s almost 11 now — and entering middle school!

One of the best parts of my job is acting as our food stylist. I was brought on as managing editor after five years in the newspaper industry, but I spent hours watching a couple of the chefs we brought in until I felt comfortable enough to do it myself. I’m proud to say that 99% of our cover photos are made and shot in our test kitchen, and that’s something few trade publications can say.

After 10 years, I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve, too. I’m looking forward to what the next decade will bring (I’m hoping teleporation. Please let it be teleportation.). See you at Pizza Expo next year?