The aroma of freshly made pastries filled the second floor of the Elks Tower Wednesday morning as locals gathered to enjoy a coffee break and watch a pizza-making contest.
More than 150 people turned out for the third annual Ettore’s Coffee Break, which is put on by Ettore’s Bakery and Restaurant, and benefits the Youth Development Network.
Before the pizza-making competition, Ettore Ravazzolo, owner of Ettore’s, gave his own pizza-making demonstration.
The celebrity pizza-making contest was divided into two teams, one male and one female. All four contestants in each group were called onto the stage to see who could make a pizza the fastest by kneading the dough, spreading the sauce, topping with cheese and pepperoni.
The female contestants were City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, need title Michelle Odell, need title Alisa Okelo-Odongo and this year’s winner, Lucy Eidam Crocker, who owns and operates the Midtown public relations firm LucyCo Communications.
The male contestants were title Philip Arndt, title Garry Maisel, title Rick Nelson and winner of the male team Leroy Tripette, who works external affairs for Intel Corporation in Folsom.
The contest judges were Chevo Ramirez, regional vice president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, and Elyssa Lee, co-owner of Sactown Magazine and the celebrity pizza-making winner for 2010.
“I’ve had this idea to do a fundraiser through the company,” said Ravazzolo of beginning this yearly event. Ettore’s Coffee Break was created in 2009 with the help of organizer Sharon Gerber.
“Last year, we had some celebrities, and this year we had some more celebrities. But it’s just locals,” he said. “It was a lot of fun…. Every year it grows more and more.”
Tripette said he was asked by Gerber to be part of the pizza-making contest.
“She gave me a call and told me I was doing it,” he said. “It was a lot of fun, a little scary, and I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing.”
Crocker, who was also approached by Gerber, said it was “awesome.”
“I trained at Hot Italian,” she said. “I was throwing it, and it was all in the technique.”
Youth Development Network (YDN) is a “mediator for groups working with young people,” said YDN trainer Andy Paul YDN is a resource to help support groups and organizations provide services for the youth, Paul added.
YDN has been around since 2000 and is centrally located in Sacramento. But, Paul said, the group isn’t limited to Sacramento and provides services to other counties in the region.
“We do a lot of training as well as networking, bringing some of these people together so they can learn from each other,” he said.
Adrian Ruiz, executive director of YDN, said during a closing speech that “this is the most successful YDN fundraiser to date.”
“Events like this brings more allies to our cause,” he added.
“We want to get more people involved,” Ravazzolo said at the end of the event, “but at the same time we want to have fun.”