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Founder

ALEXANDRA (Azie) MORTATI

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

 

Favorite Part of a Slice of Pizza:

The story behind it
_____________

In 2019, Azie launched Women in Pizza alongside her friend and colleague, Casey Derk, initiating a grassroots social movement that transitioned into a non-profit dedicated to honoring the strength, resilience, and impactful stories of exceptional women in the pizza industry. During her onboarding at Orlando Foods, where she is the Director of Marketing, she became aware of the Women in Pizza Power Hours held at the Pizza Expo and promptly questioned why such recognition was limited to just one hour annually.

Recognizing Orlando Foods’ aspiration to provide a platform celebrating women in the industry, she a movement that not only amplified women’s voices but also created opportunities and opened doors for them. In a world where gender equality remains an ongoing endeavor, she sought to establish a beacon of inspiration, embodying the essence of transformative change.

In her role as Director of Marketing at Orlando Foods, Azie has united her two greatest passions: storytelling and the world of food. Her life is a never-ending quest for stories, whether diving into the pages of books, getting lost in the magic of films, exploring new horizons through travel, or savoring the artistry of food. She finds her greatest joy in the company of friends and family, where new stories are born with every shared moment.

Social Media Coordinator

ALLY FIGLIUOLO

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

 

Favorite Part of a Slice of Pizza:

The first bite
_____________

In her role at Orlando Foods, Ally has been responsible for facilitating creative social media content strategies, audience engagement and account analytics for our imported brands to the US. In today’s digital age, Ally is committed to leveraging social media to achieve brand goals, loyalty, and growth for Orlando Food Sales.
As the Social Media Coordinator for Women in Pizza, I strive to foster a vibrant online community where women in pizza can connect, learn, and grow together. From highlighting the achievements of female pizzaiolas, promoting monthly live IG interviews and sharing resources about our non –
profit organization, my goal is to continue to spread awareness about our mission to empower and support women in the pizza world.

Digital Marketing Associate

DINA BISHAI

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

 

Favorite Part of a Slice of Pizza:

The air bubbles
_____________

Dina joined Orlando Foods in the summer of 2023 as the Digital Marketing Associate and soon became interested in the Women In Pizza Movement. Having experience working in the nonprofit industry, specifically animal rescue, Dina was excited to get involved and began working on all things Digital for WIP. During college, she worked for an Italian bakery where her love for Italian culture and cuisine (Neapolitan pizza!) really grew.
She is passionate about fundraising, planning events, and finding ways to engage and inspire others through the power of marketing. In her free time, you can find her enjoying a coffee at a café, traveling, or exploring the newest food experience nearby.

Graphic Designer

JULIA SIMS

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

WOMEN IN PIZZA
Glen Rock, NJ

 

Favorite Part of a Slice of Pizza:

The crust
_____________

Julia joined Orlando Foods in 2022 as a Graphic Designer after graduating summa cum laude from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication Design. Whether it’s designing marketing materials, editing photos, or creating custom graphics, she enjoys getting to spend every day doing what she loves with an amazing team.

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her cats, thrifting, and crocheting.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

ANNA CRUCITT

MERCURIO'S
Pittsburgh, PA

MERCURIO’S
Pittsburgh, PA

ANNA CRUCITT grew up working at a gelateria founded in 1999 by her parents Rick and Linda Mercurio. In 2005, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelors degree in Marketing and Italian.

Her love for Italian food and working in the service industry led her to open Mercurio’s Artisan Gelato and Neapolitan Pizza with her siblings in Pittsburgh in 2012. Anna was trained to make Neapolitan pizza by her brothers, Michael and Joe Mercurio, who are both Master Trainers of Neapolitan Pizza.

To her, the most fascinating part of making pizza is science behind the dough and its ongoing evolution. In the spring of 2019, she became a Women In Pizza Ambassador. As she has grown in her pizza experience, Anna was recognized with a 2nd place award for her gluten free pizza at the Caputo Cup in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys making pizza and gelato at home with her husband and three little girls.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

AUDREY KELLY

AUDREY JANE'S PIZZA GARAGE
Boulder, CO

AUDREY JANE’S PIZZA GARAGE
Boulder, CO

Audrey Kelly is the owner/pizzaiola of Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage in Boulder, CO.  After receiving her degree in journalism, she traveled through Italy for an internship and returned to San Francisco with a new found love and respect for the craft of pizza.

While in San Francisco, she worked at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.  There she worked under her mentor, Tony Gemignani, who laid the ground work for her journey into the world of pizza.  After returning to her hometown of Boulder, Audrey opened her own pizzeria with her brother, Peter.

Since opening in October of 2015, the Pizza Garage has been featured in numerous publications and even on the Food Network.  Audrey is also a member of the World Pizza Champions and an Ambassador for Women in Pizza.

Blogger/Founder/Master Pizzaiola

CLARA CAVALLI CHIAPPARDI

LOVE LIFE AND PIZZA
Dallas, TX

LOVE LIFE AND PIZZA
Dallas, TX

You might know me from Fairfield, CT’s beloved BRICK + WOOD or as the original owner of Cavalli Pizza in Dallas, TX. I enjoy making people happy through my food, and bringing people together over a meal, sharing good times and creating memories.

I am a mother, wife, food lover, chef, creative thinker, recipe creator, and entrepreneur. My kitchen expertise focuses on the area of Pizzaiola, Chef and Baker with a specialty in Gluten Free. I am an Ambassador for Women in Pizza. I have over 15 years of experience as a successful restaurant owner, during which I was awarded Best Pizza, Best Italian Restaurant, Best Restaurant and more, in Connecticut and Texas. I believe in hard work and passion. I always make sure I am providing the highest level of quality and service. My belief is if you truly love what you are doing you will be successful. My motto is “Love Life (and Pizza).”

As a first generation Italian-American, I am thankful for all the sacrifices my parents made for myself and our family. Their guidance, love, discipline, and teachings have made me the person I am today. I love my heritage and am proud to be Italian. The love of cooking and gardening… taking from the earth and making delicious meals is what I enjoy the most. Italians pride themselves in using what nature provides to create amazing healthy dishes. They call it peasant cooking I call it Perfection! There is no better meal to provide your family than one that was made from scratch using only the freshest ingredients.

The traditions that were taught to me, I am now teaching my children so that they continue on for generations to come.

Love Life and Pizza… An Italian Lifestyle Blog is where I will teach you all those traditions and how to live LA DOLCE VITA (the sweet life) as Italians do! So, follow me on this journey where we will learn, laugh and have fun together…through food and culture.

Owner/Head Pizzaiola

GIORGIA CAPORUSCIO

DON ANTONIO NEW YORK
New York, NY

Don Antonio New York
New York, NY

In 1990 in Terracina, Italy, Giorgia Caporuscio was born into a Neapolitan pizza-making family, following in the legendary footsteps of her father. Primed for pizza greatness, Giorgia moved to Naples where she entered into a lengthy and comprehensive training internship with some of the best and renowned Pizza-Makers.

Among her many accolades, Giorgia made pizza history when she was awarded first place in the “Classic Pizza Category” at the 12th Annual International Pizza Competition in Naples, Italy- the youngest of only two women to ever win first place in this category. Giorgia Caporuscio has proven that exceptional pizza artistry is not only in the skill, ingredients and passion; it’s also in the DNA.

  • Graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2019 in Restaurant & Culinary Management
    • Ambassador of “Women in Pizza”, movement that empowers women in the pizza industry
    • Ooni-Portable Pizza Ovens-Brand Ambassador

Giorgia has been mentioned in:

  • Zagat 30 under 30; Atlanta 2014
    • Guest/Host with Scott Wiener at 92Y for: Conversation about Pizza!
    • Fox5 – Pizza Class, AM New York, Mulino Caputo ‘Una Pizza per l’estate’, Repubblica.it, Pizza Today Magazine, Iitaly.org, Eater, LucianoPignataro Blog, Italy Magazine, Sole 24ore, NY Post, CBC Passion for Pizza, Pizza Therapy Las Vegas Pizza Expo, Edible Manhattan.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

LAURA MEYER

PIZZERIA DA LAURA
Berkeley, CA

PIZZERIA DA LAURA
Berkeley, CA

Born and raised in Hayward, California, Laura Meyer’s first job was working at Pyzano’s Pizza, her local pizzeria. At just 17 years old, the pizzeria was where Laura met her mentor, Tony Gemignani, and her career as a pizzaiola began. After high school, Laura went to earn her Bachelor’s Degree, when she discovered her passion for culture and food while studying abroad in Italy. Upon graduating, Laura moved to San Francisco to take the helm at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana as kitchen manager alongside Tony himself. With Tony, Laura honed her skills in fermentation and perfecting more than 10 regional styles of pizza.

In 2013, Laura took her competitive spirit back to Italy where she won first place in her first competition in Parma, Italy, becoming the first woman and first American to win the Pizza in Teglia category. The following year, she won Best Non-Traditional Pizza at Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. In 2019, she won first place at the Caputo Cup in Naples, Italy for Best American-Style Pizza, once again becoming the first—this time winning in a newly created category in one of Italy’s oldest pizza competitions. Throughout her tenure at Tony’s, Laura’s rising success earned her recognition as SF Chronicle’s Rising Star Chef, an Eater Young Gun, and one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30, and was named Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016.

Amid the pandemic, Laura dipped her toes into the waters of entrepreneurship, opening Focaccia da Laura, a focaccia pop-up. Given the success and prospects of Focaccia da Laura, Laura made the decision to depart Tony’s wing after nearly 20 years to open Pizzeria da Laura in Berkeley, California.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

LEAH SCURTO

PIZZALEAH
Windsor, CA

PIZZALEAH
Windsor, CA

Leah Scurto started making pizza in 1997 while she was attending college in Santa Cruz Ca. She has competed in pizza culinary competitions across the United States and Italy. Leah has won a number of competitions including 3 national championships.

She currently owns and operates PizzaLeah in Windsor, Ca. Since opening in March 2020, Pizzaleah has been included multiple times on the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of the 25 Top Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In 2022 Leah was featured on Hulu’s original show, Best In Dough.

Leah loves sharing her passion for pizza and is dedicated to being a small business owner that works with and promotes other small businesses.

Founder/Master Pizzaiola

MIRIAM WEISKIND

THE ZA REPORT
Portland, OR

THE ZA REPORT
Portland, OR

Miriam Weiskind is the founder, and head pizzaiola of The Za Report, is one of the founding pizza popups hailing from NYC and is currently taking up residency in Portland, Oregon.

Miriam temporarily moved westward to bring her passion and art in pizza making to Portland. For the past 4 years, Miriam has been doing restaurant takeovers and pop-ups throughout NYC.

In 2020 Miriam traded the corporate life as a creative director to study the art of making pizza, with a goal to create something truly magical for the pizza community.

Prior to embarking on a career as a pizza maker, Miriam spent about a decade in New York’s Pizza Community helping build the brand behind Scott’s Pizza Tours educating thousands of pizza lovers behind the history and science behind pizza.

Inspired by her mother, who passed away from COVID in 2021, Miriam decided to give back and do good within her community. Baking over 5,000 pizzas during the pandemic in a 350’ Brooklyn apartment, the pizzas were given out for free to help New Yorkers who didn’t have a job or were needing a reason to smile.

Miriam’s “paying pies forward” became a global phenomenon—written up by the New York Times, Forbes, Thrillist, Food & Wine, covered by VICE, featured on Hulu’s Best in Dough, appearing on Good Morning America, and The Today Show.

Most recently Miriam competed on The Food Network’s Chopped and was written up in the New York Times by Pete Wells as “one of the best pizzas to eat in NYC”—both her Neapolitan and Sicilian styles.

For her Neopolitan-ish pizza, Miriam spends 4 days preparing her dough whereas her Sicilian take 7 days to make each pie. They truly are a work of love and art.

When not making and baking pizza, Miriam spends time training ultra trail running and is a proud mom to her pup Frankie Jo Buttons.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

NICOLE BEAN

PIZZARO"S PIZZA NAPOLETANA
Houston, TX

PIZZARO”S PIZZA NAPOLETANA
Houston, TX

Nicole was born and raised in Houston, Texas and currently owns and operates two pizzeria locations with her family in Houston. She has 7 years experience in Napoletana pizza making (trained by her father who was certified with Pepe Miele in 2010). After 3 years in the industry, she went to The International School of Pizza with Tony Gemignani in San Francisco to study American style pizzas. Since certification with the school, Nicole now serves both Detroit and New York style pizzas.

“My focus is to create and maintain authenticity of each medium of pizza as they are specific to their region.”

In 2018, Nicole was awarded the rising star award in the International Pizza Expo Caputo Cup.  Nicole plans to continue learning and perfecting her craft in pizza and bread making with anticipation of additional locations and restaurant concepts.

Owner/Master Pizzaiola

NICOLE RUSSELL

LAST DRAGON PIZZA
Rockaway Beach, NY

LAST DRAGON PIZZA
Rockaway Beach, NY

Last Dragon Pizza  –Pizza with a kick! is a Limited Service, word-of-mouth, online pizza business, owned and operated by Pizzamaker, Nicole Russell. Inspired by the 80’s cult classic film, “The Last Dragon,” Last Dragon Pizza serves spicy NY Style influenced whole pizza pies and dishes named after memorable scenes of the film.

Often a NYC bucket list for pizza enthusiasts nationwide, Last Dragon Pizza is dedicated to providing its customers the adventure of having a fun, memorable pizza experience. The only way to “FIND THE PIZZA MASTER,” is to visit its website, join the mailing list and place the order online.  Last Dragon Pizza’s weekly pickup location is divulged only after the order is placed. Then, and only then, do you get,  “THE GLOW,” — the ultimate theme of the film.

Nicole Russell started making pizza during Hurricane Sandy. She refined her self-taught pizza skills serving pizza to the construction workers on her block after the storm just to say, “Thank you.” The construction workers soon became customers, and eventually, repeat customers; spreading the word to others in the neighborhood. As the demand for Nicole’s pizza increased, in 2014, Nicole came up with the Last Dragon Pizza concept to officially start selling her pizza from home in The Rockaways. In 2016, Nicole researched and developed Last Dragon Pizza’s frozen pizza product, Little Dragons, and currently ships personal frozen pizza nationwide.

Before Hurricane Sandy, Nicole was a Freelance Multimedia Producer by day and a nightlife promoter for a landmark restaurant in the Meatpacking District by night. She earned a Multi-Media Design Certificate from NYU School of Professional Studies.  Nicole also has a background in Corporate Sales.

When her life seemingly slowed down due to the circumstances surrounding the storm and family life, pizza making pulled Nicole through very difficult times. Once she realized there was a real opportunity to create a new path for herself, Nicole used her knowledge of sales and coupled it with her graphic/web designing skills to produce an e-commerce website and develop a social media marketing strategy for Last Dragon Pizza.

After years of figuring out her unique business model — creating a database of repeat customers and building a solid social media following — in 2017, Nicole used her proof-of-concept evidence to enter and win the top prize in the Queens Economic Development’s 2017 StartUP! Business Plan Grant Competition. Continuing with her winning streak, two months later, Nicole won second place in the NYC Small Business Services Business Pitch Grant Competition and was a finalist in the 1010 WINS Business Pitch Grant Competition.  Nicole used her winnings to formally incorporate Last Dragon Pizza, complete food safety certifications and invest in pizza making equipment to become one of a few woman-owned mobile pizzeria; expanding her stationery business model to a pop-up business model.

Featured in TimeOut NY, The Daily News, The NY Post, and popular pizza enthusiast blog sites such as Scott Pizzas Tours, both Nicole and her business, Last Dragon Pizza, continues to gain popularity and notoriety in a male dominated industry.  In 2019, Nicole was a featured Chef on Season 2 Episode 2 of Amazon Prime’s “Instachef,” produced by Thrillist. Most recently, Last Dragon Pizza was named, “…unofficially the best in show,” by NPR for its infamous, top-selling 7TH Heaven – Tandoori Chicken Masala pizza slice at the New York Pizza Festival.

Nicole is committed to her pizza life and the success of her business. Currently, Last Dragon Pizza is the only black-owned pizza business certified by Minority Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) and NYC Department of Education in NY. Personally, Nicole is determined to become a certified Master Pizzaiola. She will start competing internationally in 2020; with the hopes of when asked, “WHO’S THE MASTER,” just like in the climactic scene in the film, “The Last Dragon,” she can confidently answer, “I AM!”

Owner

SHEALYN BRAND CONIGLIO

CONIGLIO'S OLD FASHIONED
Morristown, NJ

CONIGLIO’S OLD FASHIONED
Morristown, NJ

Owner/Operator of Coniglio’s Old Fashioned in Morristown, NJ. Pizza influencer on Hulu’s Best in Dough; Collector of all things pizza.

Married to 10-time world pizza champ Nino Coniglio; Mama to Penny, Host of Supremely Dressed at the International Pizza Expo & lover of all things cheesy!

Founder/Master Pizzaiola

STEPHANIE SWANE

MODERNIST CUISINE
Seattle, WA

MODERNIST CUISINE
Seattle, WA

Stephanie Swane is the publisher and editorial director of Modernist Cuisine’s in-house publishing department The Cooking Lab since 2014. She develops and leads new publishing projects and partnership opportunities. She brings over 25 years of experience working on book publishing, global sales & distribution, brand management, foreign rights, production, and licensing to the team.

In 2017, the award-winning Modernist Bread was published. In 2019, the translations of Modernist Bread in French, German, and Spanish, were published. In 2021, pizzaiolis around the world embraced, Modernist Pizza with translations of Modernist Pizza in Italian, French, German and Spanish published in June 2022. In 2023, Food & Drink The Photography of Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold was published featuring photos shot over the last decade.

For the last decade, she has traversed the globe to help the team research bread, pastries and pizza from every imaginable angle. Stephanie has met with experts in baking, milling, agriculture, production, history, fermentation, equipment and ingredient manufacturers, and beyond. She regularly attends industry workshops and conferences that cover all aspects of baking, from commercial production to cereal science.

Prior to joining Modernist Cuisine, Stephanie worked with publishers that include becker&mayer!, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Putnam, Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing, and Golden Books. She has worked with diverse groups of global brands, retailers, wholesalers, and licensors ranging from CBS/Paramount, Disney/Lucasfilm, Fox Entertainment, Hasbro, NBC/Universal, and Warner Bros. to Amazon Publishing, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Indigo, Target, and Williams-Sonoma. She holds an M.A. in media studies from The New School in NYC and a B.A. in art and a B.A in art history from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stephanie was honored to recently contribute an essay to The Washington Women’s Cookbook: Good Eats and Votes for Women in 2020 featuring a collection of recipes, essays, profiles, interviews, and art from Pacific Northwest women https://www.wawomenscookbook.com/.

Stephanie is a committee member for the 2022 & 2023 KCLS Foundation Literary Gala and a board member for the KCLS Foundation – https://www.kclsfoundation.org/.

From 2021 to 2023, Stephanie was part of the IACP Cookbook Awards Executive Committee in a variety of roles from Super Judge, Judge and lastly IACP Cookbook Awards Chair.

Stephanie is the host of over 50 hour long episodes of Women in Pizza IG Lives highlighting the amazing and inspiring pizzaiolas from around the globe and the moderator for Women in Pizza panels in US, Canada and UK.

When not working on the next Modernist Cuisine project, Stephanie can be found in her Seattle garden and greenhouse. True to her Dakota farming roots, she enjoys growing exotic and native vegetables and fruits, including varieties of grains and tomatoes. She loves all things fermentation—from beer brewing to pickling.

Stephanie is also an active member of AACI, ACF, AIB, BBGA, Bakers Against Racism, Cherry Bombe Squad, IACP, Maine Grain Alliance, Northwest Editors Guild, Northwest Science Writers Association, Parabere Forum, Women in Hospitality, PNBA, and Women in Pizza.