CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) – Athletes have the Olympics, actors have the Oscars, but you may not realize pizza makers have their own elite competition. 23-year-old Bradley Johnson just returned to Chattanooga from Italy where he proved he can dominate the dough.
“It just kind of becomes second nature,” Bradley Johnson said.
Chattanooga’s Bradley Johnson is on the U.S. Pizza Team, something he never even knew existed a few years ago, but then he got a job at Mellow Mushroom downtown as a way to make money while attending UTC. Then, his dad challenged him.
“He said ‘I bet you could never do that,’ so I had to show him up,” Johnson said.
He started with spinning a wet towel and then, rubber practice dough.
“It became a hobby. Instead of just sitting and watching TV, throw dough and watch TV now,” Johnson said.
After practicing two to three hours a day, he made the U.S. Pizza Team in 2011 by spinning real dough.
“I like competing. It’s like an extra drive. I just like that whole mentality of it,” he said.
He’s made it to World Pizza Championship the last two years in a row.
He just returned from Parma, Italy where several hundred pizza professionals from more than thirty countries competed. He placed ninth in freestyle, and seventh in dough stretch.
“A dough ball that would normally make a 14 inch pie, I’m putting out to about 30-35 inches,” he said.
A world-class talent that most of his customers don’t even know he has.
“If nobody asks, I tend not to say anything about it,” Johnson said.
Now, the accounting student says his ultimate goal is open his own pizzeria.
“I really got into it and now, for some reason I just can’t put them down,” Johnson said.
Johnson is the only current competitor from Tennessee. He’s working on putting together a pizza spinning class to teach all of the local Mellow Mushroom employees his tricks.