On Saturday afternoon all of our finalists and several managers gathered at our Lake City location for the final round of our March Madness competition. Tension mounted as traffic on I-5 delayed the start of the tossing. Some competitors isolated themselves and some fretted over dough.
When it came time to compete, all were ready to step up and go. Paul Williams of Crossroads went first and got his pie in the oven in 39 seconds – his third consecutive sub-forty second pizza. Alex Henderson of the Commissary and Cameron Jackson from Stone Way followed next with 41 and 40 seconds respectively. Mike Young, the Shift Leader at Lake City, was last and showed that he had clearly been practicing the night before.
Mike tossed and must have laid down his dough in 8 seconds (the fastest cooks take between 15-20 seconds, typically). He picked it up, re-stretched it, and still made it in the oven in a blistering 32 seconds. When the pies came out and were sized it came down to Cameron and Mike – former co-workers at Sand Point, Miller and Lake City.
Cameron had a nearly perfect pie – just a little bit of a red ring and a flat portion of the crust. Mike’s pie was just about the same. However, his 8-second advantage held up for a 6-point victory.
Mr. Young, the youngest and least tenured competitor (though he’s on his 8th year with Pagliacci), showed that he made a better pie faster than anyone else in Pagliacci. The home crowd cheered him afterwards as he toured the store with his victory peel. It might not have been Greg Gumbel and “One Shining Moment” but it was very Mike Young.
A big “Congratulations!” goes out to Mike. And to all the cooks who didn’t make it this year – or those burgeoning cooks hoping to step up their game – there is always next year.
Mike Young from Lake City Way took this year’s trophy peel in our March Madness Cook Competition.
Cameron Jackson from Stone Way goes in for a layout and secured a second place finish in our cook bracket.