pizza

Help wanted: 6,000 pizza makers needed in Italy

April 29, 2013 at 11:35 AM ET

Alessandro Colluccino, of Italy, performs with his dough during an acrobatic pizza event in this file photo from. Italy is facing a crisis: a shortage...
Marco Vasini / AP
Alessandro Colluccino, of Italy, performs with his dough during an acrobatic pizza event in Italy from April 17 to 22 in this file photo. Italy is facing a crisis: a shortage of pizzauoli, aka pizza chefs.

There's a crisis in Italy: It's too hot in the pizzeria and the Italians have gotten out, leaving a shortage of 6,000 'pizzaiuoli,' according to the Italian business group FIPE.

Despite the worst unemployment rate in two decades, these crucial roles in the land that invented the tomato and cheese pies are going unfilled, according to the report, by the Italian Federation of Confcommercio Companies for Italy.

"The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating. It is a manual labor job,” Alessandro Rossi, owner of a pizzeria in Rome, told The Telegraph newspaper.

The Italian pizza-maker shortage comes as no surprise to Roberto Caporuscio. He is the U.S. President of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, the Italian governing body for Neapolitan pizza making. He also teaches certified Neapolitan pizza making at his Don Antonio by Staritain restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

Much of the pizza making in Italy is now done by immigrants, said Caporuscio, who still travels to Italy for work and to see family. “A lot are from Egypt,” he said of Italy’s pizza makers.

But the land of immigrants should not start thinking the situation is any different in the United States. Immigrants cook much of the pizza in the America’s pizza restaurants, and they're not usually Italians, Caporuscio said.

“Most of the immigrants (in U.S. pizza kitchens) are from Latin America,” he told NBC News.

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