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A little over a year ago, a state-of-the-art pizza and culinary academy opened in the industrial section of Lisle, Illinois. I heard about it from my aunt, who raved about a cooking class her Italian club had a few months after the opening. With the purchase of our new home, our liquidity was a bit lean, so it had to wait. Besides, our pre-home purchase wine experiences and Home Chef dinners were special treats rather than regular affairs. Here we are six months later, and the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy (NAPCA) cooking classes, and more importantly the pizza classes, were first up on our list.
Types of Cooking Classes Held at NAPCA
Being certified as only the second Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli in America, NAPCA specializes in and is particularly known for pizza classes. Pizza classes run the range of variety. Classes may be a few hours or a few days long, depending on the speciality. There are pizza on the grill classes–that’s the one my husband and I took–gluten free pizza making, perfect home oven pizza, Pizza Napoletana classes and more.
Maybe you prefer something less hands on but still pizza focused. The Pizza and Prosecco class is held monthly on a Friday night. The chefs cook up pizza while you and any guests enjoy dim lighting, funky beats, and some Italian prosecco.
Pizza classes aren’t the only cooking classes at NAPCA. They truly do it all. There are Breville® espresso at home master classes, paella classes, upcoming holiday focused cooking and baking classes, macaron classes and more. The North America Pizza and Culinary Academy truly lives up to its name by providing pizza focused as well as incredibly diverse cooking classes.
Experts on Pizza Classes
You may be asking, who are these wizards of pizza classes? The North American Pizza and Culinary Academy is a collaboration between lifelong pizza lovers Anthony Iannone and Leo Spizzirri. Anthony has spent decades working as a chef across the globe in Mexico, Australia, and the U.S. to name a few, while Leo traces his love of the pie to his pizziaolo certification in Italy. Combined, these two have half a century worth of kitchen and business experience and it shows in the beautiful craftsmanship and well executed classes of NAPCA.
Recapping our Pizza on the Grill Class
When we arrived at NAPCA, it was easy to spot because of the miniature Italian flag, flying high above the building. Tucked in the industrial corridor of Lisle, the flag is such an easy beacon to locate the building. Like much of DuPage county, there is plentiful and free parking attached to the building.
When we walked into NAPCA, we were greeted by a gorgeous entrance room full of excellent lighting, clean tables, and a group of about eight people, huddled over exceptionally fancy Breville® espresso makers.
Our class was held in the back of building, where all the mega pizza grills are located. There were three wood burning giant grills, a traveling pizza oven (they do parties at your home!), three multi-rack and temperature ovens that operated on gas and electric, a new oven they were testing for the distributor, and a standard backyard grill. These are all solely dedicated to pizzas! Yep, their obsessed, and with good reason.
There were only four people in our class, which made it easy to interact with each other. We could also pepper chef Anthony with all of our pizza questions. The other couple in our class drove down from Milwaukee, just for this pizza class! They had heard amazing things about the professionalism, quality of facilities, and quality of pizza that NAPCA puts out. Together we made, worked, and stretched the dough. We learned about the differences one can expect when cooking pizza on the grill versus in an oven. Then, we cranked out pizzas and began to dig in.
Not Just Pizza Class, It was Lunch!
There was cheese pizza, lox pizza, veggie pizza, salad pizza, mushroom pizza, sausage pizza….we made them all. We made nine pizzas as a class, plus a few extra goodies. Because the dough needed to proof and rest, we got to take home two of our own doughs to make pizza at home.
We got to take home the equivalent of four whole pizzas after class. This was after eating about two pizzas each while we were grilling. For $55/person, we certainly got our money’s worth. We had lunch and dinner for the next three days!
Fast Facts About Cooking Classes at NAPCA
Coming home from class, my husband raved about the class. He said it was much more fun than he expected and he’d do it again. This is quite the statement considering I took him inside during prime golf weather. We both highly recommend visiting North American Pizza and Cooking Academy for a special event, date night, or Friday night Pizza and Prosecco party. Here are some takeaways from our time with Chef Anthony at NAPCA:
- Classes vary in subject matter, price, and length. Some may be full day classes and some only a few hours.
- Classes are typically for adults, unless specifically marked as a family class.
- Wine, beer, and sodas are available for purchase the day of your cooking class.
- NAPCA offers private corporate or special events at their studio (that’s what we’re doing next!)
- Looking to cater a party? They’ll bring a pizza grill and Pizzaiolo to your home and set up a pizza shop right in your driveway.
- If you have long hair, plan to wear it back and to wear closed toe shoes.
- While pizza class is their specialty, all of the cooking classes at NAPCA are high quality and delicious.
- Any equipment or kitchen tools you’d like to purchase on the day of your cooking class are available at 10% off.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy. Their December calendar has not been fully released, but should you be looking for a great holiday gift or birthday gift in the future, I highly recommend considering cooking classes at this jewel of DuPage County.
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