Nine on the Line: Fiamme Pizza’s Scott Volpe

Fiamme Pizza founder, owner, and pizzaiolo Scott Volpe cooks a mighty fine traditional Neapolitan pizza. Even if he’s blindfolded and tossing the dough behind his back, the result will still leave you wanting more.

Volpe’s world-class pizza acrobatics earned him the title of the U.S. Pizza Team Acrobatics Champion, so he’ll compete at the 2017 World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy. He’s in Las Vegas this week competing as well, so wish him luck.

Scott Volpe at Fiamme Pizza (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Scott Volpe at Fiamme Pizza (Credit: Jackie Tran)

1) What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

After weeks of working in the prep kitchen in a new pizzeria I ate a pizza that was given to me because of a mistake. It was a Neapolitan pizza with pesto and goat cheese, it was a light flavor and a new style that I had never experienced before. And after doing all the preparation that went into it and then tasting the outcome it changed how I felt about cooking.

2) What are you eating these days?

I usually eat an omelette with a lot of veggies for breakfast. And then I test out new dough recipes from time to time and often eat a simple sandwich for lunch. Dinner can be almost anything but more often than not I eat Mexican food.

3) What was the first dish you remember cooking?

From what I can remember, probably basic American dishes such as scrambled eggs with my mom or pancakes with my nana.

4) What concept, ingredient, or food trend are you experimenting with these days?

Finding which fermentation methods and hydration levels work best together, and trying different blends of flour. Also thinking and waiting for the season to make a Neapolitan style pizza with only local ingredients, no Italian or imported products, and sourcing the food from nearby farms and mills.

5) Who would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

For sure, Steve Martorano, I would love to pick his brain and listen to some of his stories and ideas behind his cooking and restaurant concepts.

6) What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

That would be New York, the food culture and industry are on a very high level and it’s awesome to indulge in it all. Not to mention there is so much good pizza to eat everywhere.

Pizza Bianca, Pizza Margherita, and Insalata Arugula from Fiamme Pizza Napoletana (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pizza Bianca, Pizza Margherita, and Insalata Arugula from Fiamme Pizza Napoletana (Credit: Jackie Tran)

7) Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

I would say Sonoran hot dogs… so fulfilling and an amazing clash of flavors.

8) Which three Tucson restaurants do you frequent the most, aside from your own?

  1. El Sinaloense hot dog cart on Alvernon has been a favorite spot to get a hot dog on the go.
  2. El Charro always fulfills the craving for Mexican food.
  3. Barrio Bread keeps me wanting more and has very creative techniques.

9) With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

It would probably be some red chili tamales from my nana and some pasta from my dad. And some Moretti la Rossa to wash it down with. It would be nice to somehow get a margherita pizza from Pizzeria Brandi, also, but unfortunately that’s on the other side of the world.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.