Italy Faces Shortage -- Of Pizza Makers

Italy needs pizza-makersEven though so many jobs are outsourced or performed by immigrant labor, you might think that Italy would be the one place in the world were you could count on your pizza being made by an Italian. But according to a new report by FIPE, an Italian business federation, there's a shortage of pizza-makers in the country, and foreigners like Egyptians are filling the void.

The current pizza-maker deficit in the country is pegged at 6,000, reports Britain's Telegraph newspaper. The figure is jarring for reasons well beyond pizza's place in Italian culture; the country's unemployment rate is currently 12 percent. (The figure is even higher for Italian youth -- 35 percent.)

And the reason that out-of-work Italians aren't signing up for the job? Because they simply don't want to get their hands deep enough in the dough to maintain the 25,000 pizzerias, some say. "The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating, it is a manual labour job," Rome pizzaria owner Alessandro Rossi told The Telegraph. Italians "want a nice comfortable office job where they can work six hours a day, five days a week, in air-conditioning. They're not prepared to work 10, 12 hours a day," Rossi said.

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An average of 100 people per year from Egypt are receiving formal pizza training in Italy, according to the Italian School for Pizza Makers. Newly turned-out pizza-makers also reportedly hail from Bangladesh, the Philippines and the Ukraine. Although teachers in pizza-making are from Naples, where pizza reputedly originated, ABC News reports that there aren't enough trainers to go around in a country that consumes an estimated 3 billion pies a year. FIPE says that 1 out of every 5 pizzeria managers in the country has hired workers who hasn't completed any formal training in pizza-making.

Of course a move toward non-Italian pizza-makers is hardly unique to Italy. Roberto Caporuscio, U.S. president of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, told NBC News that "most of the immigrants" now preparing pies in American restaurants are from Latin America.

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