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Going for that pie in the sky


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For some, winning the World Champion Pizza Thrower title seven times would be the pinnacle of an unlikely career. For Castro Valley resident Tony Gemignani, it was merely the beginning.

“When I started this crazy pizza journey, a lot of people would ask, ‘Why are you doing that?’ “ Gemignani says. “They didn’t understand the passion. I wanted to show everyone how big this could be.”

Turns out Gemignani was right. This summer, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records in two categories: spinning the biggest pizza (36.5 inches) for two minutes straight and number of times (37) rolling a pizza dough across his shoulders in 30 seconds. These feats will be shown on the Food Network’s Pizza Champions Challenge, airing in October. On the same episode, Gemignani also won an award for Best Pizza in the United States.

You can sample Gemignani’s pies at his Castro Valley eatery, Pyzano’s Pizzeria. Or, if downtown Walnut Creek is closer to home, stop by his new restaurant, Spin. The location serves lunch and dinner, but also fills a niche lacking in Diabloland: late-night noshing. Spin serves slices while a DJ spins tunes Wednesday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

So what could possibly be next? Aside from appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly and Rachael Ray’s new talk show, Gemignani has a new cookbook out called—what else?—Pizza, in which he divulges his secrets to pizza making and dough tossing. And there’s another restaurant in the works. When Deluxe Diner opens its doors in November in Castro Valley, Gemignani hopes he can bring his expertise with grade-A ingredients to diner fare such as burgers and blue-plate specials. And maybe, for the first time in 15 years, he can finally enjoy a meal that doesn’t involve pizza.

To see Gemignani in action, check out www.worldpizzachampions.com. For his award-winning pizza recipe, go to www.diablomag.com.

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