mike shapiro

  • mike shapiro

    Chef

    I began attending the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago with my brother who is a professional chef. We made it an annual trip for several years. This evolved into attending the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Each year, I took a chance and put my business card in the Fire Within Scholarship Bowl

  • I retired in 2017 after a 30 year career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    As my career began to wind down, I enrolled in culinary school. I enjoy cooking and thought about getting into the business to keep busy in my retirement. Soon after retiring, I began attending the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago with my brother who is a professional chef. We made it an annual trip for several years. This evolved into attending the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Each year, I took a chance and put my business card in the Fire Within Scholarship Bowl. In 2018, I was selected to attend the Wood Fired University. It was during this that I became inspired and fell in love with the entire concept of pizza catering.

    We had an unexpected setback in 2017 and lost our home to a California Wildfire. The stress that came from the fire and its consequences changed my original plans but I got creative and pushed forward on my dream of owning an oven despite our personal losses. It is a bit ironic that I bought into “fire” having lost everything to fire.

    I have yet to advertise. Word of mouth has been so good for Sgt. Pepper’s. It’s a really good feeling to know people are enjoying our food and are referring others.

    My business would not be possible without the support of Fire Within, my buddy John, who I met at WFU and who also bought an oven and trailer. John and I spend many hours commiserating and encouraging each other. I also had great support from my brother.

    Much to my surprise, clients who I catered for have graciously volunteered to help with my next event because they enjoyed their experience so much!

    My advice to succeed is be creative and take chances. Also, use good ingredients, put out a good product and have a menu that includes salads, appertizers and desserts.

    fire within

    pizza entrepreneurs

    Our hall of fame features amazing pizza entrepreneurs who are industry leaders.

    wood fired university

    Wood Fired University provides our community with the training needed to run your mobile wood fired pizza business. We do not consider our program a success until you understand how to cook the perfect pizza and run a business that makes you proud.

    Across our program, you will be trained by a successful wood fired chef. You receive the first-hand direction from someone who has been in your shoes. Our instructors provide you an in-depth understanding of everything from making your first pie to the long-term care of your oven.

    learn more about the wood fired university
  • July 26th-29th | Denver

    Wood Fired University is a great blend of “hands on” training and business foundations. Now featuring instruction from Thomas Garnick, California Cheese Grand Pizza Champion!

    In 3 days you’ll learn everything you need to launch your successful business.

    register today for July wood fired university