How to Become an International Pizza Consultant
Do you love pizza so much you'd devote your whole life to it? If your answer is yes, we've got a job for you: International pizza consultant, a pizza pro who helps aspiring pizza shop owners design dream kitchens, select the best tools and equipment, learn natural fermentation techniques, train staff and develop new menus. Sound too good to be true?
Meet Anthony Falco, one of—or perhaps the only—international pizza consultants in the U.S. After working for 10 years as a pizza czar at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, Falco broke off on his own in 2016 to launch his consulting business—and since then, he’s traveled to nine countries and a dozen states helping restauranteurs build shops.
“I love being challenged, constantly,” Falco says. “Anyone who’s started a restaurant knows that it is incredibly difficult but also super fun. I’m a really creative person, so all that chaos that needs to be willed into a system with order really gets me going. It’s a dream job.”
On a typical day in his home office, Falco might be “writing recipes, working with architects to design kitchens, and making phone calls with either the principals on a project or chefs I’m training,” he says. When he’s traveling, which he does fairly often, “a typical day starts early in the morning. I usually only have about a week on site, so they’re 10- to 14-hour days in the kitchen, with maybe one day off. We’ll be making dough and testing pizza recipes. It involves eating lots and lots of pizza. I have to pace myself to not get burned out.”
While it won’t be easy to follow in his footsteps, Falco warns, he was happy to share his top tips for becoming a pizza expert—which could, in theory, lead to a consulting job. Here’s what you need to do to go after your dream pizza consulting career.
1. Do what you love.
As soon as Falco shared this tidbit, he quickly added, “this is kind of cliché, I know, but it’s so true.” He clarifies by saying if you don’t love pizza—and travel, design, and customer relations, to boot—you won’t have the passion to become an international pizza consultant. “If you are challenged and interested in the work you do, you are more likely to throw all of yourself into it,” Falco explains. “I didn’t start off making great pizza—I spent 10 years just straight doing it because I loved pizza. It was magic as I learned. I was trying to get better and reading about it when I wasn't doing it. I thought about it in the shower. I talked to other people about how they were doing it and how I could be doing it better. To spend that much time focusing on something, you have to love it and stay in love with it.”
2. Work hard.
This isn’t another clichéd sentiment so much as a fact: there are few, if any, other international pizza consultants—and Falco didn’t carve his place into this new field by being lazy. For example, Falco knew that he wanted to help others design their dream pizza kitchens, and to do that, he’d have to know Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop—so he taught himself, over dozens of painful hours at the computer. “I learned mostly by doing and failing,” he admits, “or doing and having it hurt so badly that I had to try and make it easier the second time around.” In those moments, when you are building your budding international pizza consultant career, you may want to throw up your hands and quit. But, “Stuff is hard, and if you want to stand out you have to be willing to work harder than the next person,” Falco warns. “Getting there first and leaving last. There are no shortcuts.
3. Build a reputation.
We told you the international pizza consultant community is small, and that means that almost everyone knows everyone—and they all talk to each other. “It’s very important to be known as reliable, competent, and respectful to people above and below you,” Falco points out. “It’s a small world and your reputation is important. People reached out to me when I was no longer with Roberta’s [Pizza] because I had a reputation of working hard, getting the job done right, and basically just having my sh—t together.”
4. Promote yourself.
When you’re a business—and as an international pizza consultant, you most certainly are a one-person business—you must get comfortable with the idea of marketing your business and yourself. “You don’t want be self-aggrandizing,” Falco says, “but if you are working hard, you deserve to receive proper credit for your work.” It’s that credit—that record of good work—that will attract others to work with you. “When I was younger, I learned that certain people will try and take credit for your work—to test you—and if they can get away with it, then it will never end,” Falco advises. “It’s great to be a part of a team and give credit where it is due, but there are people out there that will try and keep you in the shadows under the guise of being a team player.” Don’t let them, he says.
5. Get Global Entry.
“Let’s say you followed steps one to four and are now an international pizza consultant,” Falco says. “You are going to be spending so much time in airports. Your mental health is going to be at stake. So you need to get Global Entry.” In case you are not familiar with it, Global Entry is a U.S. customs program that allows you expedited clearance when you arrive back in the states. (And bonus: it also comes with TSA pre-check.) “It’s not just the time you save,” Falco says. “Not having to take out your laptop or your shoes off is so awesome. And you can watch all the non-pro-travelers waiting in huge lines—and trust me, there’s nothing like a little schadenfreude to boost your jetlagged spirit.” You can learn more about Global Entry and apply here.