What does your PIZZA TOPPING say about you?

Move over Myers Briggs, Belbin, Hogan and all those other personality profilers! Bizarre though it might seem, what you choose to put on top of your pizza – and what you choose to leave out – can reveal quite a lot about your approach to life and work.

World Pizza Champion Domenico Crolla has created countless numbers of pizzas for discerning customers at his award winning Glasgow restaurant, Bella Napoli http://www.crolla.com – including the famous ‘Pizza Royale’ – the most expensive pizza in the world, featuring a feast of luxury toppings from caviare to lobster tails, and of course the famous gold leaf.

His menu has always featured a selection of over fifty toppings for his customers to choose from, rather than give them a pre-determined list of combinations, offering his customers the opportunity of creating their own personalised pizza –a ‘taste profile’, as it were.

“Sometimes a friend will come in for a pizza and ask me to make them something to my own liking,” he says. “This I can’t do, because there are so many tastes and dislikes that the customer has to tell me what they prefer. I for example enjoy the classic simplicity of the Margherita pizza – the traditional cheese and tomato. Others like the challenge of combining familiar or new ingredients.”

He finds that customers nowadays are more discerning than they were say, 15 years ago.

“Over the years the selection of toppings I offer has altered. I can’t remember the last time, for example, that I was asked for a Hawaiian – it’s pretty dated now.”

He also cites the low cost travel era and the proliferation of TV chefs as having an impact on changing tastes, willingness to experiment with different flavours, and greater knowledge about the quality of ingredients.

There are, though, certain patterns relating to choice.

“Is the person who likes rocket leaves or a swirl of balsamic syrup more sophisticated than the person that likes a Hawaiian?” he questions (but remains diplomatically quiet on his answer). “Or is the lady who shops at a discount supermarket more likely to ask for a Meat Feast than the one who shops at an up-market deli?”

In researching this blog post (thank you to Yara’s Facebook friends!) we’ve had some interesting responses to the question “what’s your favourite pizza topping?”

“Anchovies and olives,” was one reply. Whilst not always an obvious or popular choice, these can be the very things most people DON’T want on their pizza – they represent strong flavours.

It could be that this person likes ‘strong flavours’ in other areas of his or her life, such as strong personalities or outstanding experiences.

In the workplace, they might also be someone who sees the potential and value in things – or people – that others choose to leave aside.

One respondent was quite emphatic: “black olives, sweetcorn, herbs, peppers, spicy meat, maybe jalapenos – NEVER ever pineapple. Big no-no!”  What’s interesting here is that whilst they enjoy a broad range of tastes, from the relatively bland sweetcorn to the flaming hot jalapenos, they are very clear indeed about what they DON’T like.  This is something that could translate into life habits, both at home and work. One wonders what the response would be if some pineapple WAS to make its way by mistake onto that pizza!

Another person said simply “Parma Ham”. This no-nonsense reply may be indicative of someone who has a no-nonsense approach in other areas of life, including their business dealings. They’re likely to be quality conscious, though – this isn’t any old ham – and to be very clear about their likes and dislikes.

My friend and proof reader, Liz Broomfield at Libro Editing  said  “I like ham, mushrooms, pineapple, spinach, sweetcorn and asparagus on mine, on a low fat pizza.”  True to her character, this pizza choice is fuss-free, good for you and does lots of different things!

Domenico suggests that the person who asks for the spiciest meat with chillies and jalapenos could match the profile of the Indian Restaurant customer who demands the hottest curry on the menu: someone who’s insecure and unsure about what to eat, or who feels they have to prove a point. Again, as a personality trait, this can come out in the workplace in terms of a strong competitive streak.

Some people offered more unusual options: “A wonderful smooth tomato sauce laden with basil, mozzarella, mushrooms and pineapple, and sometimes, if I’m in the mood, banana.”   Screech of brakes! Excuse me … did you say banana?!  Here is someone who everyone THINKS they know and might make the mistake of underestimating them or deeming them fairly ordinary or run of the mill, who can – and will – suddenly provide a surprise when least expected!

There are a few other factors to bear in mind when you’re next scanning your fellow diners’ choices at your favourite pizza restaurant: do you order the pizza you would like most, or the one you think you ought to have? For example, you might be hankering after a ‘meatfeast with everything’, but order a ‘skinny minnie with low fat cheese’.

This potentially points to two character traits, depending on the motivation behind that choice: are you someone who wants to create the impression of being a light and delicate eater, rather than a complete trougher, and therefore possibly over anxious about what others think of you?

Alternatively, you might be someone with foresight who looks at the consequences of your choice, and recognise that the heavier option you really want might not be the best for you health-wise. You’re prepared to deprive yourself in the here and now to gain the benefit of that choice later on.

Habits come into this too: do you always choose the same thing, or do you vary your options? Even if you have clear views of what you like or don’t like (particularly if this extends to a life approach) it can sometimes be beneficial to choose something different, just to vary your experience and try something new. Who knows? You might like it!

So! Are we all going to think twice next time we tuck into our favourite thin-crust? Maybe … maybe not.

Whilst we’ve taken a light-hearted approach this week (obviously, DON’T bypass those valuable personality profilers in favour of your favourite pizza topping!) our observations are based on the more serious premise that actually EVERYTHING says something about you. This raises two key factors: what are you saying about yourself in the wider choices you make, and what conclusions are you drawing about others on the basis of theirs?

Meanwhile, November will see Domenico attending the Italian Cuisine and Wine world Summit in Hong Kong, demonstrating the divine art of the pizza to a population more familiar with rice and noodles.  What new taste (and personality) combinations will arise? Watch this space!

 

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One Response to “What does your PIZZA TOPPING say about you?”

  1. Liz at Libro Says:

    I really enjoyed this post, which is very entertaining, but also very true (and not only because you mention me in it!). I hope lots of people get the chance to see this. I wonder if you’ve got the pizza companies worried!

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