A Q&A with Nicholas Franchi, Managing Partner at Upper Crust Pizza in Akron, Ohio
How long you been making pizza?
Approximately 11 years.
When I was a teenager, I was looking for a job and the first opportunity given to me was pizza. I fell in love with it, especially making dough.
What is your favorite type of pizza style to make and why?
Pan pizza, specifically Detroit style. I love the process. I love the structure of the dough and I love the freedom to create an awesome pie!
How did you learn your craft?
My mentor Issam Halawi taught me most of what I know about pizza. I worked for Issam for many years and he taught me the ins and outs of the pizza industry. He brought me to Vegas and gave me the opportunity to compete. He is an awesome leader, mentor, partner and friend. The pizza industry would not be the same without him.
What’s your biggest challenge with pizza dough and how did you solve it?
My biggest challenge was creating a system for our Detroit-style pizza dough that can be produced at the store level. The dough that we created at the Pizza Expo was a challenge to mass produce while keeping it fresh and consistent.
What direction is pizza headed in your view?
In my opinion I think pizza is becoming more and more diversified in its culture. There are a lot of pizza makers with various cultural and culinary backgrounds, and when they get creative and have fun with their craft awesome things are created. This is going to create opportunities for a lot of new concepts and add a lot of value to the pizza industry I feel.