"I graduated from Pizza University" seems like something that would be printed on a novelty T-shirt, right beside shirts with slogans like "Rosé All Day" and "Don't Wanna Taco 'Bout It." But no, it's a real thing, thanks to an Italian chef and entrepreneur.
According to Washingtonian, Francesco Marra has decided to teach chefs how to up their pizza game, giving them the skills of Italian pizzaiolos. In addition to being a chef himself, Marra is also the co-founder and CEO of Marra Forni, a company that sells brick pizza ovens — but there's apparently quite a learning curve when it comes to using his equipment to make the perfect pie. (He also runs a "dining and catering spot" inside the Italian embassy.)
He launched Pizza University with an introductory course in June. Over the course of three days, participants learned how to make authentic Neapolitan pizza from master pizzaiolos who have all been certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana ("The True Neapolitan Pizza Association").
During that short but intense course, the eager students made between 200 and 300 pizzas EACH, in addition to taking a test based on the University's textbook and a practical exam. (And a pizza-making textbook might be the only textbook that I wouldn't sell back after the semester ended).
"At Pizza University, we offer intensive pizza courses designed to guide restaurant owners, caterers, and other aspiring pizzaioli to cultivate the absolute best pizza making practices," the University promises. "Students learn the theoretical as well as gain hands-on experience making the perfect dough, the secrets of the sauce, stretching techniques for forming the perfect crust and all about ingredients."
The University's curriculum is currently being taught in Marra Forni's own test kitchen, but Marra hopes that it will someday have its own dedicated facility. He also hopes to offer courses that range from one day to two weeks, in addition to more specific training for different styles of pizza. And, at the end of it, all successful "graduates" earn a Pizza University certificate and what the website describes as "cool chef swag."
Please let that include a T-shirt.