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Prima Strada Team Visits VPN America, Learns From the Best

You may have noticed some photos of our team in California in recent Facebook and Twitter posts – beaches, sunsets, countless pizzas, and exam papers. That’s because while PPS Cook was closed for repairs, Chefs Andrew and Alex and Ops Manager Andrew flew to Southern California to attend a VPN Americas training course.

Verace Pizza Napoletana” translates to “Real Neapolitan Pizza.” You may recognize the acronym from the signs we hang (with great pride) outside both of our PPS restaurants.

At Prima Strada, we’re always looking to improve our skills and, in turn, our pizza.

With Cook closed for some TLC, A3 were more than happy to head south for sunny weather and training from “the source” –  Peppe, Jose (#3 ranked Pizziaolo in the world) and Donato.

Here’s a play-by-play of their trip with a few photos.


After dropping their bags in their Marina del Rey condo, they explored Venice Beach. After tacos and beer, they headed back to the condo for some rest.

On Wednesday morning they made their way to the AVPN headquarters where Peppe, Jose and Donato awaited. It was class time!


Day 1 was spent making dough, stretching fresh mozzarella and the “Neapolitan Slap” – a technique used to stretch the dough before topping the pizza.

For lunch, they hit up Settebello, a fellow VPN pizzeria, for snacks and Negronis.

They headed back to class to make hundreds of macaroni pizzas (pizzas with macaroni on top as the dried pasta was used to emulate the weight of real toppings).


Day 2 was all about fried pizza. As Peppe will attest, the Neapolitans love their fried food. We know it’s not good for you but honestly, who doesn’t love a bit of fried dough? They made (and ate) several delicious fried dough variations including calzone and dough topped with Nutella and icing sugar. They skipped lunch but discovered Scopa (another Italian restaurant) later in the day.

Day 3 – the Exam! They passed with flying colours. Celebrating their achievement with drinks on a rooftop lounge, they reflected on their experience with Tahitian beers and enjoyed their last Californian sunset.



Says Andrew Johnson: “The trip was a success! A great balance of skill development, relaxation and fun.”

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Cook Street 250.590.8595

Fort Street 250.590.8599


Media Jenn Pott

As a neighbourhood restaurant, we understand the importance of giving back. For inquiries, visit this page

We would like to acknowledge Pizzeria Prima Strada is grateful to operate in the beautiful traditional unceded Coast Salish territories of the Lekwungen, Esquimalt and Cowichan people.

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