My cooking career began when my husband, Bob, transplanted our family from Connecticut to Germantown, Tennessee in the summer of 1994. When we moved here, one of the first things I did was search for the best pizza in Germantown. Pizza was a BIG part of our weekly family dinner. Unable to find anything that resembled the awesome New Haven, CT style pizza, I began experimenting with recipes in the hope of developing the best New Haven style pizza possible. Since the only variable for pizza is water, I began importing my water from CT for my pizza. Voila…..I had success!!
Around this time I joined a neighborhood group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”. One day, one of my friends from that group told me she was headed to CT to visit family. I asked her to bring me back some CT water. She laughed and thought I was crazy, but she did bring me back the water. As a thank you I created an amazing pizza for her, which I delivered hot out of the oven. My friend was amazed at how great this pizza was, and asked me if I would teach the ladies in our organization how to make great tasting pizzas. That started “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” cooking classes in my home. When my kitchen became too small for those interested in taking my cooking classes, I began teaching at a local cooking school, “Gift Horse”. Unfortunately, years later that school closed.
In August of 2002, I started teaching cooking classes at Viking Cooking School in Memphis. It didn’t take long before I was known as the “Pizza Queen” for my amazing pies. While teaching at Viking I applied for a cooking competition on Food Network’s show called “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”, hosted by Guy Fieri. My recipe: Crawfish & Andouille Sausage Pizza. I was fortunate enough to be one out of 10,000 home cooks chosen to participate on the show. Never did I think I would actually win! And I won big, $25,000 and $5,000 Food Network Products sold at Kohl’s. That was a life changing event.
I began doing cooking segments on CBS’s affiliate WREG, continued teaching at Viking, and became a Research & Development Consulting Chef for ACH Food Companies.
My pizza and dinner party donations have raised over $40,000 for local charities. I now look forward to my next chapter, in home pizza parties.
Recipe developer for “Cooking for a Living”, ACH Cookbook utilizing ACH Food Products
Winner of Food Networks “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”
Winner of Pizza Therapy Worldwide Pizza Recipe Contest
Frequent guest chef on CBS affiliate morning show, WREG Channel 3
Raised over $40,000 for charity by donation of dinner parties
Creator of www.foodsinthefastlane.me cooking blog & www.gailspizzaparties.com