Italy Faces a Shortage of Pizza Makers

A growing slice of Italy's pizza makers are not actually Italian.

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Dario Pignatelli / Reuters

Cooks make pizzas in the Ai Marmi restaurant in the Rome neighborhood of Trastevere May 11, 2007.

A growing slice of Italy’s pizza makers are not actually Italian.

Despite a long recession and high unemployment, Italians may be less inclined to take pizza-making jobs because of the long hours and modest pay, according to the Telegraph.

According to a recent report by FIPE, an Italian business federation, the country needs roughly 6,000 “pizzaioli” in order to accommodate the booming pizza sector, NBC News reported.

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Although Italians may be reluctant to get their hands dirty in the pizza-making business, it looks like immigrants are now filling the country’s gap and producing an increasing share of the three billion pizzas consumed by Italians each year, the Telegraph reported.

Egyptians seem to have a knack for creating the perfect pie and are running many of the pizza restaurants and takeaways in cities like Rome, Milan and Turin, the Telegraph noted. There are an estimated 25,000 pizzerias in Italy, according to the FIPE report, with about 100 Egyptians training as piazzioli each year.

ABC News noted that each pizza maker is trained by a Neapolitan – a native of Naples, where pizza allegedly originated – and there seems to be more workers than there are trainers.

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One Italian pizza-maker told ABC News that he knows many of his country people aren’t making pizzas, but he doesn’t think they’re shunning the job. “It’s not that Italians don’t want to be pizza makers,” Franceso De Marco argued. “You can get an immigrant worker to work for much less and longer hours so the pizzeria owner opts for that even if they may not be good at making pizzas.”

However, David Mandolin, the head of the Italian School for Pizza Makers, told the Telegraph that immigrants can make a pretty good pizza: “To make a good pizza, it needs to be crunchy but also digestible. Not everyone can do that, but the Egyptians can.”

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