Carnival O’ Pizza 2012 Wrap Up!

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by robhomeslice on December 4, 2012

The 7th Annual Carnival O’ Pizza has come and gone, and as usual we packed just about as much fun as we could possibly have into 7 hours.  There were contests, games, dancers, marching bands, artists, countless activities, and of course…. PIZZA!!  While just about everyone who came through the midway had the pleasure of enjoying a slice or two, there were a handful of folks who got just a little bit more full than the rest.

eating contest

Contestants begin their quest to win free pizza for a year.

The Extreme Pizza Eating contest proved to be just as heated and disgusting as usual, and in a twist of fate, we actually had our very first tie!

Yes, history was made as Chris “Chompy” Floyd and Randy Harrison consumed exactly the same amount (almost 2 large pizzas) in 30 minutes, resulting in both guys receiving the sweet reward of free pizza for a year!  This is Randy’s second consecutive victory, and an incredible 5th title for Chompy!!

Co Champ Chris Floyd celebrates

Co Champ Chris ” Chompy” Floyd celebrates

In a slightly less slobbery spectacle, pizza makers from local pizzerias squared off against our kitchen crew in challenges to throw not only the largest pizzas, but to make pizzas as quickly as possible.  Taking the cake (ahem… pie) in this year’s size competition was Sergio from Austin’s Little Deli throwing a pie that was an incredible 38.5 inches in diameter, way to go Sergio!!  In the blinding speed competition, Rockland from Austin’s Mellow Mushroom took down his competitors throwing 3 pies in an incredible 58 seconds!

tossing contest

The Dough Contest heats up as Colby from Mellow Mushroom and Wilver from Home Slice square off.

As the evening cooled down, the competition heated up as the masters of endurance in our Hands on an Eggplant Sub (HOES) contest powered through the day.  People came and went, bands played, dough was thrown, massive amounts of pizza was consumed, and the constant throughout the entire day was a small group of die-hards holding onto a 3-foot eggplant sub for dear life.  In a shorter contest than years past, Chad Garyet took home the title as the last person standing after just over 16 hours.  Chad is the proud recipient of a year’s worth of free pies, and has quickly become Home Slice’s most eligible dinner mate.

HOES in full battle

HOES in full battle

The finale of the day was our grand prize raffle drawing.  Among countless prizes raffled throughout the day, one lucky person became the most eligible dinner mate (sorry, Chad forgot you have a girlfriend) at Home Slice.  Pacifico Gouge became the only person on earth who can make a reservation at Home Slice this year.  Unfortunately, kids, we can’t share his digits with you, but if you see him out and about, you may want to buy him a drink or something.

reservations winner

Pacifico Gouge receives the grand prize, being crowned the sole person who can make reservations at Home Slice.

While we crowned many champions at the Carnival, the real winners of the day were the kids supported by our awesome charity, Austin Bat Cave.  We are so proud to say that the Carnival O’ Pizza raised 19,000 dollars to help this incredible organization.  The efforts put forth by the ABC team to help kids are mind-blowing, and we are truly honored to play a small role in the wonderful things that they do.

fun now bat cave

Austin Bat Cave is a non-profit organization that provides creative writing opportunities for youngsters in Austin.

Of course, the Carnival would never be possible without our sponsors:

StagLogo   dublinbottlingworks-1  uship-logo-colorGCO-000-CMYK-bl-rd   mcjlogo   RABC

And most importantly, none of this happens without all of you, and your incredible dedication to Home Slice and your community.  We are sincerely humbled and grateful beyond words to serve you.  Until next year, keep your parm shakers high and your wine glasses full!!!!

-RB

Photos c/o Amanda Elmore of Girlskill.

Pizza Man to Pizza Man: Phil talks with John Pennington of Southside Flying Pizza

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Tara Bouley on November 17, 2010

Our kitchen manager, Phil, talked with John Pennington of Southside Flying Pizza about the art of making pizzas. In the interview, John said he was to be out of town for the Carnival. As luck would have it, he will be in town and will be defending this title for largest pie thrown in the dough tossing contests along with guys, and maybe gals, from Mellow Mushroom, Saccone’s, Brooklyn Pie Company, Hoboken Pies and Home Slice Pizza. The competition starts at 3:45 this Saturday, November 20th, at the Carnival O’ Pizza.

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I met with Southside Flying Pizza’s John Pennington, 2009’s CARNIVAL O’ PIZZA’S LARGEST PIZZA winner. We sat at a small table in his shop, his crew making beautiful pizzas, his dining room buzzing with happy customers and neighborhood peeps. John checked in with his crew before sitting down with me. It was clear he was their leader, and a leader worth following.

P: Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me, John.

J: No problem. Happy to do it.

P: So, you are the champion. Are you excited to come back and defend your title?

J: I’m going to be in New York during the carnival this year. It’s really disappointing; but I’m going to be in the City w/ my family, you know?

P: Wow, that’s a huge bummer. We were really looking forward to you coming back and kicking ass.

J: Me too. I love that you guys do that carnival. It’s excellent.

P: So, who are you sending in your place?

J: None of these guys are competition worthy. They’re too scared.

P: Pizza guy to pizza guy, what do you look for in dough?

J: I like it tight and smooth. No lumps. No knots. With still a little bit of a chill on it.

P: What kind of ovens do you like?

J: Wood and open flame ovens. I like the open space. I never worked a coal oven; but I bet I’d like it. I don’t really like deck ovens.

P: Wow. I LOVE deck ovens. What’s your problem with them?

J: They lose heat so fast. They’re inconsistent, too. The hot spots are never the same.

P: What are you looking for in a pizza?

J: Simple: cheese, garlic, pecorino romano.

P: That sounds delicious. What pizza gets ordered, and you can’t believe someone would order that?

J: The Supreme. Anything with everything. There’s just too much stuff on the pizza and nothing cooks right.

P: One of the things I love most about the gig is that little kids are TRANSFIXED by pizza makers. Why do you think that is and can you think of any other job that has they same kind of draw?

J: It’s art. It’s just art, that’s all there is to it. It’s like skate boarding. All these guys doing the same thing, in their own way. It’s awesome to see how someone is fluent in dough.

P: What’s the thing you wish you’d known when it comes to bringing people up?

J: That it’s so different, person to person. Everyone comes to it differently; everyone has their own learning curve. It can be kind of frustrating.

P: Sure. What’s the excellent thing about bringing people up that no one told you?

J: The benefit of seeing someone succeed. There’s nothing like it.

P: Working in a pizza shop is a constant challenge. Every day is another variable, another change up. What was the most challenging variable so far?

J: Our mixer went down for a week. So, for a week I had to drive out to the lake and make dough at a friend’s shop, and drive it back here. In the summer. Then the AC in my car broke.

P: That’s awful. Still, we keep with it. Why do you think that is?

J: I’m twelve years in, at this point, and for the last eight I knew I was going to run a pizza shop. There’s such a pride of excellence in what we do, and that makes all the difference. Those guys who use bad ingredients, and don’t care about what they do, or who they’re serving, I don’t understand how they keep doing it. It’s all about using quality ingredients, working with a quality crew, and feeding quality people.

We closed our conversation there. John went back on his line, in front of his open-flamed oven, washed his hands, and went back to work. It was totally inspiring to see a professional at work.

Thanks to the fine peeps at Southside Flying Pizza, and their leader, 2009 champion, John Pennington.