3-Day Professional Pizza University Class

From Neapolitan to NY-Style: Bridging the World of Pizza from Italy to the U.S. Class with Maestro Leo Spizzirri

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Class Overview

Have you always wanted to learn how to make Neapolitan, Neo-Neapolitan, and NY-Style pizza from a Maestro Pizzaiolo? During this class Maestro Leo Spizzirri will go over these three styles and students will be taken through the process of mixing dough by hand as well as using a variety of mixers to understand gluten development and the effects of different flour strengths as it corresponds to fermentation and maturation times. Pizzas will be baked in a variety of ovens so that students can experience the effects of different temperatures on different doughs while working with gas, wood, and electric. This course will be divided into a series of interactive theory demonstrations as well as practical, hands on sessions where students are challenged to stretch dough, top the perfect pizza using a variety of imported and domestic ingredients, then working the oven to achieve the perfect bake. Open to students of all skill levels, from home bakers to professional chefs!

Meet The Instructor

Pizza university instructor Leo Spizzirri

Leo Spizzirri

Maestro Pizzaiolo Leo Spizzirri isn’t just a chef with some good recipes in his repertoire. He’s obsessed with all things pizza and shares his love and knowledge with all who encounter him. Leo’s passion towards pizza and Italian food have earned him the title “America’s ambassador of authentic Italian Pizza and Pasta products.”

As a first-generation Italian-American, the significance of delicious, well-crafted food is part of his DNA. Spizzirri’s love for pizza was fed by his earliest childhood memories.  He spent hours watching, and assisting, his mom and Nana in the kitchen while they created all kinds of traditional Italian dishes. They encouraged his love for food and tolerated his perfectionist manner as well as the messes that came with all his experimentation.

Since then he’s gone on to be trained by Head Master Graziano Bertuzzo and 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani. Chef Leo Spizzirri holds the distinction of being 1 of only 100 worldwide Master Instructors from Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli in Venice, Italy. A Chicago-native, he’s had a hand in local pizza operations like Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza, Francesca’s Restaurant Group, as well as Labriola Baking Company and Bakery Cafe.

Chef Leo has spent a lifetime supporting the pizza and baking industry with his expertise in dough rheology and high speed manufacturing. His responsibilities in commercial artisan bread and frozen pizza have led him to stand in the forefront of dough and pizza innovations where he has supported major national brands across the United States and Canada.

While his expertise has given Spizzirri the chance to travel the world, make regular appearances on television programs like Dr. Oz, and make pizzas for celebrities like Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, Mr.T, Ludacris, Kevin James, and boxing legend Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, ultimately he’s passionate about teaching people how to source better ingredients in order to eat cleaner, better-for-you food. “I grew up learning to eat the way my parents and grandparents ate in Italy.  We have all heard about the Mediterranean diet and it’s no wonder that people in Italy live as long as they do. This is the way I learned to cook and this is the way that I strive to feed others” says Spizzirri.

Spizzirri is the founder of Spizzirri Media LLC which is known for brands like “Ask Chef Leo”, “The Pizza Garage with Leo Spizzirri”, and a pizzeria consulting company where he helps build new pizza concepts around the United States for both independent and commercial restaurant groups.

His outer tattoo wearing, punk rock loving persona is unmatched by his technical knowledge when it comes to the kitchen. The pizzas that he makes, the dishes that he prepares, all share his one secret ingredient that has been passed down to him for generations: the love that he puts into everything that he makes.

Class Curriculum

8:30AM – Arrival at Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center – Light Breakfast
9:00AM – Introduction by Pizza University Founder and CEO Francesco Marra
9:30AM – Start Theory, Dough Chemistry
10:00AM – Dough Mixing (Pizza Napoletana)
11:00AM – Dough Stretching
12:00PM – Pizza Baking and Working Lunch
1:00PM – Dough Mixing (Neo-Neapolitan)
2:30PM – Understanding and Selecting Equipment
3:00PM – Partner Presentation
3:30PM – Q&A

8:30AM – Meet at Marra Forni Elkridge Facility – Marra Forni Factory Tour
9:30AM – Drive Back to Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center
10:00AM – Recap
10:30AM – Partner Presentation

12:00PM – Pizza Baking and Working Lunch
1:00PM – Theory and Dough Chemistry
2:00PM – Pizza Baking and Dough Evaluation
3:00PM – Dough Mixing ((NY-Style)
4:00PM – Q&A

9:00AM – Arrival at Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center – Light Breakfast
9:30AM – Recap
10:00AM – Dough Theory and Dough Chemistry
12:00PM – Pizza Baking and Working Lunch
1:00PM – Partner Presentation
1:30PM – Dough Stretching
2:00PM – Exam and Q&A
2:45PM – Interviews
3:15PM – Graduation and Certificate Presentation, Photos

You Will Receive

Pizza University Certificate

Chef Jacket and Apron

Networking Opportunities

Post-Class Support

Testimonials From Our Students

Play Video

Laura Hayes

“I’ve met a lot of talented people who will go on to do great things.”

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Omar Saleh

“Everyone in my class came with a passion for pizza and is leaving with an even greater passion!”

Previous Students In Action

Frequently Asked Questions

Pizza University & Culinary Arts is located at 10310-A Southard Drive, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI)

Distance from Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center: 22 Miles

Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA)

Distance from Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center: 30 Miles

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Distance from Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center: 40 Miles

Please check our Terms & Conditions, including our cancelation and refund policy.

We will provide our students with a chef jacket, an apron, a binder with course-related material, and blank sheets of paper and a pen to take notes.

Feel free to wear something comfortable. Closed-toe shoes are recommended.

Please email info@pizzauniversity.org to receive hotel information.

Sorry, this event is expired and no longer available.
Lowell Taylor
Lowell Taylor
Jennifer Mannelli
Jennifer Mannelli
Emily Lucio
Emily Lucio
This was so much fun. Highly recommend for a group
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
I just finished Pizza University's 3-Day Intensive class “Bridging the World of Pizza from Italy to New York” taught by Maestro Leo Spizzirri, and it was truly something! The facility itself is top-notch, featuring a variety of high-end pizza ovens from Marra Forni, excellent kitchen space, an excellent support staff and all the pizza making materials you could ask for. Most of the students in my class were professional chefs and restaurant owners, but there were also a number of home cooks looking to up their pizza game. We also had a series of presentations and samplings from purveyors of pizza ingredients including manufacturers and importers of flours, tomato products, cheeses, and vinegars. It was something to sample half a dozen mozzarellas, several different ricottas, and a taste flight of more than a dozen Italian imported vinegars! But for me the real highlight was Master Pizzaiolo Chef Leo himself. He says if you were to cut him he'd bleed tomato sauce and mozzarella, and I believe it. He has a huge wealth of experience making pizza, and he really is great at explaining it -- he really wants you as his student to understand the fine details of the art of pizza making. We spent much of the three days just learning about how different flours, dough recipes and ingredients, oven temperatures, and dough mixing and handling techniques all come together to form a unique finished product. This course was pretty intense, but I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is seriously interested in pizza!
Cayton Flippen
Cayton Flippen
Great experience and learned so much from Chef Leo to open the pizza shop the best way I know how! The learning of dough has been great!
David Elo
David Elo
Great class, had tons of fun learning and refining my skills.
Lexington Vazquez
Lexington Vazquez
So much in 3days but the way things are planned it's not overwhelming. Good team to help you and super informative for anyone who wants to learn about pizza or be in the business. Staff is also amazing super helpful, very informative. Looking to be back soon!
Jamie Twing
Jamie Twing
What an incredible experience!!!! We just got back from such a fun and educational day battling coworkers during Pizza Wars! Great to see how far our skills improved over time. Chef Dave and the team were absolutely incredible. My entire team was sooo thankful and appreciative for the opportunity! Would love to visit again! Absolutely recommend!
ray N
ray N
Great experience with a knowledgeable chef and staff at Marra Forni.
Grace Gilbertson
Grace Gilbertson
What a fabulous educational experience! All 3 days were packed with information any pizza maker can use to start their journey or hone their existing crust.