There is so much to tell you but I won't bore you with information that we learned at 2014 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. We got so much information it was overwhelming! I'd like to take few pages out from the whole experience at Pizza Expo, more specially the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) ceremony.
We found out that AVPN would recognize new members during a ceremony scheduled for that Thursday. We had, however, already booked our flights out of Las Vegas that Thursday morning and we couldn't change it due to our next flight the following evening from San Francisco to Puerto Rico for our family vacation.
AVPN was very kind and hosted a small ceremony at their booth and introduced us to the “AVPN family” - officials and pizzaiolos. Mozzeria became the 483rd member of this distinguished organization - and first Deaf-owned pizzeria in the world with AVPN certification!
During introductions at the ceremony, it hit me that I never knew how or what Peppe Miele, President of VPN Americas Chapter, first thought when he met me...
Peppe had first met us during the 2010 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas when I inquired about AVPN certification. We kept meeting at Pizza Expo every year and my interest in pursuing AVPN certification grew.
When I informed him we had just opened Mozzeria, he started following our progress. The following year after Mozzeria's opening when I stopped by AVPN booth to exchange "hellos”, he congratulated us on the opening of Mozzeria. He suggested we consider applying for AVPN certification. Whenever we are in Los Angeles, we would visit his restaurant or stop by his office which also happens to be the AVPN pizza training school.
When we submitted our application for AVPN certification, he was excited and he wanted to make sure that we followed AVPN regulations on pizza making method and techniques. You can read our previous post on AVPN certification. http://mozzeria.com/blog/page:2?url=blog
Once Mozzeria got AVPN certification, Peppe beamed with pride, and wanted everyone to know that Mozzeria is the first Deaf-owned pizzeria to have AVPN certification. He was really impressed with our determination, passion and effort. He told us that we had set an example by showing everyone that we didn't allow ourselves to be limited.
I never knew how that meant to him as much as it was to us. It does feel good; really knowing that he values our dedication to making "verace" Neapolitan pizzas. At the end of the introduction, we thanked Peppe for allowing our dream to actually happen, and that we couldn't have done without his support over the years.
AVPN hosted a private social gathering the following evening and Peppe, along with Antonio, the founder of AVPN in Italy, presented us a lovely AVPN scroll with the seal on it. They told everyone at the party that we may be Deaf, but we showed the world that we can DO it. Everyone applauded, and even learned how to sign "Pizza" in Italian. As we left the party, we knew we were part of the AVPN family.
You can view the tour at Pizza Expo below. Don't worry if you don't understand American Sign Language, the video is captioned in English. Play Video.
If you are curious about the AVPN, there are more details at