2009-04-25 / Community Life

Smith cooks up success in Italy

Emporium's Dave "Smitty" Smith was among members of the 2009 U.S. Pizza Team who traveled to Salsomaggiore, Italy, in early April to compete in the 18th annual World Pizza Championship.

Team members vied in the largest dough stretch, fastest pizza maker, free-style dough-tossing and culinary competitions. More than 30 countries were represented.

Smith represented the United States in all categories. He has won five pizza titles since 2007, including American Pizza Champion. Smith said he got "hooked" after entering his first pizza competition and focused then on making it to the ranks of a U.S. Pizza Team Member.

Dave and his wife Marlene own and operate Pizza Palace Plus. Two of their children are involved in the business as well.

U.S. Pizza Team is a group of pizza-makers and dough-acrobats whose mission is to promote the talent and camaraderie of the pizza industry. Members brought back several medals and bragging rights from this month's competition, after facing some of the fiercest competition in the world. Among their awards were second place in the acrobatic dough throwing competition, third and fourth in freestyle acrobatic dough throwing.

"This is my profession and I love it," Smith said. "I want to be the best I can be at it."

Like Smith, most of the team members own their own pizzerias. All come together to "make it work."

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