Creeper - Any chance you could go into details on the class experience? I, for one, would like to hear about the week from someone who has done it first hand.
Sure thing. It's a very concentrated and practical program. Each day consists of many hours in the lab (roughly 9 - 5, though there's usually a lecture or side-trip in there) followed by a stage in a local pizzeria from around 7-11. There are six students per class, one primary instructor, an assistant or two, and various folks from the associazione who stop by on occasion. Lab work consists of making dough, sauce, prepping ingredients, manning the oven. And making lots and lots of pizzas. Dough technique is the focus, as it should be. Within an hour of day one, you've made your first dough. Within a few hours, you're stretching dough and firing pizzas. Feedback is immediate and incredibly useful. You're learning from a master pizzaiolo, who is also giving individual and group feedback. The hands-on approach is extremely valuable.
At night, you're on your own. Each student is assigned to a restaurant, and it's essentially up to the restaurant to determine how involved you'll be. I ended up at a great restaurant and did a decent amount of hands-on work, including making smaller pizzas, doing prep, and doing whatever needed doing, whether it was bringing fresh beers to a table or making change.
While I've learned a ton here and elsewhere, there's really no comparison, or perhaps substitute, to something like the VPN class. Aside from working in a Neapolitan pizzeria.