Local Toppers Pizza employee hopes to be the fastest pizza maker in the country

Nick Kotecki heads to a national pizza making competition this June

More stories from Andrea Montgomery

A Perfect Pitch
May 4, 2016

Photo by Amanda Thao

National pizza making contestant Nick Kotecki prepares for the “Skin Sprints” competition this June by making pizzas as quickly as he can at the local Toppers Pizza.

When Nick Kotecki started making pizzas at toppers he had no idea 11 years later he would be competing to be the fastest national Toppers Pizza maker.

On June 14 Kotecki will be competing in the national Skin Sprints competition in Orlando, Florida. It’s Kotecki’s third pizza competition and he has been in fourth place the past two years. This year he said he has a chance of winning.

Toppers’ annual competition requires all 74 restaurants’ participants to go to regional qualifying matches and the winner of each region moves on to finals, he said. Kotecki won the regional competition in Wausau, Wisconsin this year against the 11 Toppers restaurants in Wisconsin. In the past he has won regional competitions in the Wisconsin Dells and Minneapolis.

The competition requires each participant to make six pizzas as fast as possible. They need to hand toss the pizza skin until flat then cover them with sauce. The amount of sauce is crucial, since it can’t get too close to the edge, he said.

Cheese and toppings are not used on the pizzas during the competition to reduce waste, Kotecki said.

Speed is important, Kotecki said, because you have to be able to make the pizzas in under two minutes to even qualify.
Kotecki will be up against ten other pizza makers from all over the country during a convention for the company.

Kotecki said he got involved with competing because he became friends with the franchise owners of the Eau Claire and Menomonie locations.

“The owners are awesome and I just didn’t want to stop working for them,” Kotecki said. “I started out at the west location, moved to the Eastridge location then to Menomonie then came back to Eastridge, I just prefer it there.”

His favorite part of working at Toppers is how busy it gets because it pushes his limits on how many pizzas he can make, he said. He especially likes promotional events such as big football games and April 20.

“I like when it’s busy and there is crazy stuff going on,” Kotecki said. “It pushes the limit of how many pizzas you can make at once. I love the rush.”

Kotecki said he can complete his six pizzas in one minute and forty five seconds. After many years of working through the rushes, he’s determined to make it into at least the top three at the national competition.

“Some people practice for the competitions, I never have before,” he said. “Work is practice but this year I’m going to practice since it’s my third time and I’m ready to win and be the fastest from all the stores.”