Pizza tossers throw out inhibitions, stretch their skills

Jake Slaveck

Pizza dough flew through the air in the parking lot of Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta in Redmond last Saturday afternoon during the restaurant’s first Pizza Olympics.

The event featured pizza-themed contests for employees and customers.

Frank Curtiss, co-owner of the restaurant, said that he designed the Pizza Olympics to be fun for customers and allow his employees to stretch their pizza dough-throwing skills.

“I’m trying to get my people to be a bit more showy when they’re doing the dough throwing,” said Curtiss.

There was a contest to see who could throw pizza dough the highest and who could make the largest crust.

Fifteen-year-old Jake Slaveck smiled bright as he threw a large, unbaked pizza crust into the air. His mother, Jody Slaveck, said she hoped pizza-making didn’t become a hobby for Jake.

“This will be the end of my kitchen,” she said.

Jake lives in Redmond and said he eats at Frankie’s “all of the time.” He clipped a preview of the Pizza Olympics out of the newspaper and posted it on his bulletin board for a week.

He skipped breakfast and lunch to get ready for the pizza-eating contest, but he came in second place to one of the employees at Frankie’s.

He also tried to prepare for some of the other contests.

“I was telling my mom I needed to practice for the taste testing with different kinds of cheese,” he said. But his mom didn’t buy any cheese for him to use for practice.

Besides Jake, one other customer, Corina Pang, participated in the Pizza Olympics.

Pang works at Pizza Schmitza, and she competed in the contest to see who could make the largest pizza crust.

Curtiss said he had hoped more customers would have participated in the Olympics, but Curtiss said the event was worthwhile because his employees had fun.

“I’d give it mixed success,” he said. “There wasn’t very much customer turnout, but it was definitely fun (for the employees).”

Curtiss said that he doesn’t know if there will be another Pizza Olympics next year.

Kaitlin Strohschein is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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