Author Topic: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli  (Read 1418 times)

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Offline pizzaheaven

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A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« on: May 06, 2012, 04:42:33 AM »
I'm sorry if this is on the site already and I couldn't find it, but I think it would be great to have a part of the forum where people who have worked in wood burning oven pizza making can let restaurant owners know they are seeking a job and vice versa.  The latest renaissance of wood burning oven pizza in the US has gone on long enough that there has developed a skilled group of people in the US (American and Italian) with professional experience.  From time to time they change jobs and move to different parts of the country.  I'm aware of this issue because we are soon opening a restaurant in Southern California with a Stefano Ferrara wood burning oven, a Sottoriva double diving arm mixer, a roll in retarder proofer, and a dedicated dough room.  It's a great set up for someone who wants to make great pizza.  We are still interviewing people to run the pizza station of our restaurant, and so it's really driven home to me that it's unfortunate that there is no one gathering place that I know of where skilled pizza makers and restaurateurs who seek them can come together.   Can we create such a place here and do a service to great pizza makers, great restauranteurs, and to the future customers that will enjoy their pizza?  Feel free to email me at perry@trattorianeapolis.com with any thoughts about this.


Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 03:22:28 PM »
I think this site is more dedicated to the art of home pizza. I think something like PMQ would be better suited to connecting owners with job seekers.

Offline pizzaheaven

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 05:13:26 PM »
I think the parts of the forum dedicated to home pizza making are great, but there are other areas which are designated for professionals--that's why I posted my original comment in "Shop Talk."  I think one great thing about this forum is that some of the major contributors to the home pizza making areas have crossed over into become professionals.  Look at Jeff Varasano, one of the early major home pizza making contributors to this forum who now is the owner of Varasano's Pizzeria in Atlanta.  Look at Peter Taylor, also a significant contributor to the home pizza making areas of this forum and a great guy who I consider a friend, who is now opening his second pizzeria in the Atlanta area.  These guys who started out as contributors to the non-professional parts of the forum are now professionals.  I would hate to lose their insights just because they may have topics to discuss that apply more to professionals than to home pizza makers.  Why not let the forum continue to grow and evolve?  There will always be a major very important part of it dedicated to home pizza makers.  I don't think that has to take anything away from a professional segment.  In fact, the forum could charge professionals  for posting ads for pizza makers and help fund the forum.  That would only help the forum as a whole.  I think this is an important topic for the forum.  The growth of wood burning pizza in the US continues to explode.  Some site in the internet will become the de facto source for pizza makers and restaurant owners to come together.  Why not bring that energy here and benefit from it, while still promoting growing and robust non-professional parts of the forum?

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 06:23:52 PM »
I think the parts of the forum dedicated to home pizza making are great, but there are other areas which are designated for professionals--that's why I posted my original comment in "Shop Talk."  I think one great thing about this forum is that some of the major contributors to the home pizza making areas have crossed over into become professionals.  Look at Jeff Varasano, one of the early major home pizza making contributors to this forum who now is the owner of Varasano's Pizzeria in Atlanta.  Look at Peter Taylor, also a significant contributor to the home pizza making areas of this forum and a great guy who I consider a friend, who is now opening his second pizzeria in the Atlanta area.  These guys who started out as contributors to the non-professional parts of the forum are now professionals.  I would hate to lose their insights just because they may have topics to discuss that apply more to professionals than to home pizza makers.  Why not let the forum continue to grow and evolve?  There will always be a major very important part of it dedicated to home pizza makers.  I don't think that has to take anything away from a professional segment.  In fact, the forum could charge professionals  for posting ads for pizza makers and help fund the forum.  That would only help the forum as a whole.  I think this is an important topic for the forum.  The growth of wood burning pizza in the US continues to explode.  Some site in the internet will become the de facto source for pizza makers and restaurant owners to come together.  Why not bring that energy here and benefit from it, while still promoting growing and robust non-professional parts of the forum?
I think Steve(owner of forum) has kept it more of an enthusiast type forum than a professional one because of some of the reasons you stated. The two you mentioned joined here not wanting to open a pizzeria(maybe they had the dream to do it in the further, but don't we all) but to further enhance their skills. After a few years they opened their restaurants. Peter Taylor opened his second restaurant in Florida. And if you've noticed after they opened their restaurant they become almost none existent here with their posts, so you wouldn't really being missing anything after someone went to open their own place. Not that that's a bad thing; just shows they are really busy.

There are a lot of members who donate money to the forum to help keep it running. It's funny to because there is so much info on this site if they were to put everything together it would be worth more than any book out there and it's FREE!! This is already the de facto pizza forum if you ask me. We have awesome MOD's who do a lot more than people know to keep the forum running clean and smoothly. We have awesome members who are more like friends. If you start charging people to do things everything changes and usually not for the better. That's when people will start taking advantage of the forum and it will go down hill. There are a lot of people who join here(16,835 to date) but a great majority of them have never posted once and the others usually post couple times get an answer for something they were looking for and never come back which is lame. The reality is that there are probably 200-300 active members(most likely less) and out of that there are probably 50 that are constantly contributing(those are the ones with no lives :-D j/k). Peter would be able to give a better number on the active members thing though.

I'm not saying having the Shop Talk section is bad, it's probably one of the less trafficked sections of the forum though. I actually like what you were saying about he job thing though, it would help a lot of people out who want to get some experience working in a pizzeria. But if your looking for someone to run a pizza station right off the bat it's going to be hard. Going from 8-10 pizzas in the hour or so people are doing it at home either in a home oven or WFO outside/inside from potentially a couple 100 is going to be impossible. It's something that has to be worked up to, it's not an overnight thing.

I hope you don't take this as an attack, just giving my 2 cents.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 09:55:17 AM by BrickStoneOven »

Offline pizzaheaven

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 10:51:16 PM »
Don't worry.  I don't take your comments as an attack at all.  Healthy discussion is what this forum is about.  I'd say that you're right that the forum was started as a place for non-professionals, but that in and of itself doesn't mean it can't expand and grow to include professionals.  I think about the tremendous amount of interaction between non-professional contributors to the forum and Marco, who has done professional work.  Whether you agree with Marco's comments or not, it's definitely true that a lot of people on the forum wanted to hear what he has to say.  I would be shocked if people on the forum had no interest in knowing what Jeff Varasano or Peter Taylor had to say now that they are professionals.  Think about the really interesting interactions you could have between non-professionals and professionals and among professionals.  I don't understand shutting all that off just because of where the form started.  I'm glad you say you like what I'm saying about jobs.  I agree with you that it's really hard to make the leap from home pizza maker to professional, and besides most home pizza makers have no desire to make that leap.  To me, thought, there's nothing that would "take advantage" of this forum if serious minded artisanal professional pizza makers want to share tips, advice and resources with each other--and at the same time those non-professionals who want to do so can follow and even join in the conversation.  How great it that?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 10:58:41 PM »
Why not just use this "Shop Talk" section for such threads and, if the volume of posts warrants, we can create a sub-forum? In the past, Steve has expressed his desire to minimize the number of sub-forums.

Offline pizzaheaven

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 11:08:11 PM »
That could work to use Shop Talk.  I'd just like everyone's thoughts on how best to achieve the specific goal that started this thread:  to create a way for professional pizza makers (and nonprofessionals who feel they are ready to make the leap to being professionals) to connect with restaurant owners who are looking for them.  I'm wondering if this would get lost if it's just another thread under Shop Talk.  Maybe not.  I'd also say that if there is some other place outside pizzamaking.com where this goal is already being met, then please let me know.  I've checked out other places.  I'm still investigating it, but I don't think the Pizza Today/Pizza Expo people do this.  There are sites on dough management, but that has nothing to do with employment.  There's a site like I'm describing in Italy, but it's all in Italian, and almost exclusively deals with (naturally) people who own restaurants or who are looking for work in Italy or at least Europe.  It just seems like some really interesting results could flow from becoming the place where great artisanal wood burning oven professional pizza makers and the dedicated, quality minded restauranteurs who want to employ them can come together--both for the professional and for the non-professional members of the forum. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: A Jobsite for Professional Pizzaioli
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 09:06:04 AM »
There are a lot of people who join here(16,835 to date) but a great majority of them have never posted once and the others usually post couple times get an answer for something they were looking for and never come back which is lame. The reality is that there are probably 200-300 active members(most likely less) and out of that there are probably 50 that are constantly contributing(those are the ones with no lives :-Dj/k). Peter would be able to give a better number on the active members thing though.

David (BrickStoneOven) has correctly assessed the situation.

The forum does have a lot of members but, as David noted, most of them do not actively participate on the forum. In fact, several years ago, when the forum was much smaller and the membership numbers were much more manageable, I studied the membership rolls and concluded that close to 85-90% of the members either never entered a single post or no more than one post. The membership rules have changed since that time, but the same pattern of non-participation persists. Under current rules, one is required to register to gain access to the benefits and features of the forum. Most members who do so do it because they want access to recipes (they are especially fond of clones of chain pizzas), to seek help, to use the forum's search features, and/or to communicate with other members via the Private Message (PM) backbone. They cannot do any of these things without registering.

New members are also required to enter introductory posts as part of the registration process. This allows members to introduce themselves to the rest of the members but that procedure also helps the forum by keeping spammers, spambots and other undesirables off of the forum. There is sometimes a flurry of activity that comes out of introductory posts, but only a small percent of them escape the introductory posts to go on to become active members. They almost never become Supporting Members. As an aside, I might mention that a hot area among new members is ovens--everything from wood-fired ovens, to commercial deck ovens, to LBEs, to MBEs, to 2Stone units and to grills. Mobile ovens are also a hot topic. However, I think is safe to say that most of the members, and other visitors to the forum, have standard unmodified home ovens. What they usually want to know is how best to use their home (or apartment) ovens to make basic pizzas at low cost. Because these members are non-participants, they constitute a large, silent majority that most people are unaware exist.

The heart and soul of the forum is represented by a fairly small group of members. They are responsible for the bulk of the posts on the forum and are the main source of help to those who ask for help. They also constitute the source of most of the Supporting Members on the forum. I would place the size of that core group at around 50 members, although the composition of that group will and does change over time. There are also perhaps a couple hundred members more who regularly read the posts on the forum but do not post as actively as they once did. Most of the members in the forgoing group are home pizza makers and pizza hobbyists, and they are in the artisan mold, as the popularity of the Neapolitan style of pizza and wood-fired ovens owned by our members attests. Some of these members will no doubt graduate from amateur to professional status, just as has happened in the past, but that number will be small. There are also members of the forum who are already professionals, and some are able to actively participate even when they have their own businesses to manage, but the number of such professionals is small. Most professional members who come to the forum are looking for free advice and, to the extent they get it, they move on and return only when they need more help. Since our forum is oriented more to pizza making rather than the business side, I often send those members over to the PMQ Think Tank.

As far as the idea of a jobs bank of some sort is concerned, I am personally in favor of anything that helps one of our members find a job or an opportunity to fullfill a dream of becoming a professional. Several years ago, Steve entertained the idea of a separate forum for professionals but we were so busy building this forum that a decision was made not to go with a professionals forum. As an alternative, we decided to go with the Shop Talk board to address concerns of the few professionals that were likely to visit our forum, given that the PMQ Think Tank and the Pizza Today bulletin board was where most professionals went. As the owner of the forum, it is Steve's call as to whether a jobs bank of some sort should be entertained in the light of the forum demographics discussed above and, if so, how it should be managed. pizzaheaven might want to approach Steve directly with his proposition by sending Steve a PM.

Peter