Meet the Maker: Nicole Russell

When I first met Nicole, it felt like I’d known her for years. She’s so incredibly warm and smiley, not exactly the persona you expect from a world class pizza maker. It actually makes sense because Nicole didn’t come from a typical pizza making background. Her family didn’t own pizzerias and she didn’t go to culinary school. Nicole found pizza when she needed it most, during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012.

Nicole saw volunteers helping to rebuild her badly hit home of Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY and wanted to give them something to say “thanks.” She decided the best thing she could do to help was to make pizza. Not having any pizza making experience prior, she turned to YouTube and pizza making websites for help. The result is Last Dragon Pizza, a takeout and frozen pizza business based in Rockaway, NY. The name comes from a movie Nicole and her sister loved as kids and the pizzas are mostly named for the movie’s characters and quotes.

Nicole’s unique flavor combinations are the feature at this week’s Meet The Makers session, a series of pizza making lessons from professionals across the U.S. sponsored by Breville. For the past month, we’ve been hosting an online class with a different pizza maker beaming in from a different city. It’s been sort of a virtual tour and the lessons we’ve learned have been incredible. This Friday at 3pm ET, Nicole will share her story and how her pizza has evolved over the past five years. The class will be recorded, so you’ll be able to view the video even if you can’t make it to your computer this Friday. Tickets are available here.

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