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Pizza reviews in NYC.

Would You Hire This Man?

Would you hire this man? What if I told you that the guy in the video above is Paul Giannone, the owner of and head pizzaiolo at Brooklyn's Paulie Gee's?

Mr. Giannone's story is well-known in the pizza world. Tired of his IT job, which paid well but was uninspiring, Giannone, at 56, decided to follow his passion and his dream: to open a world-class pizzeria that could hold its own among the nation's most highly regarded pizza joints. Before he could do that, though, he tried getting a job at an area pizzeria to learn the ropes. Here is the response he ultimately received:

From: "REDACTED"
To: Paul Giannone
Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2008 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: General Manager Position Follow Up

Dear Mr. Giannone,
With all due respect, your resume doesn't show any restaurant experience, not to mention pizza restaurant experience and the objective you refer to on your resume is to leverage your IT experience, which isn't appropriate for our business.

The position we're looking to fill requires experience in the restaurant industry at the General Manager level, supervising 30-50 employees in a high volume environment. Without a doubt you have a passion for pizza. However, without the restaurant management experience, I regret I can't consider you for the position advertised.

Respectfully,
[NAME REDACTED]

A rejected Giannone went on to open Paulie Gee's in March 2010, racking up rave reviews from the start. Not only for the pizza (which is excellent and inventively topped with thoughtful combinations of fine ingredients) but for the service and atmosphere as well.

In a recent email exchange we got a hold of, Giannone follows up with the hiring manager, emailing him with a gentle rebuke: "Read from bottom up.[*] Without your reluctance I may never have gotten the opportunity to spread my wings."

* Don't read from the bottom up here. I've taken the liberty of assembling the email exchange in chronological order. —AK

The Entire Thread

IMG_8598

[Photograph: Paul Giannone]

Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 07:28:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Paul Giannone
Subject: General Manager Position
To: REDACTED

Recruiting,

Today I came across your job ad on Monster for a pizzeria general manager and I quickly became quite intrigued. I am a career IT management professional or as I like to tell people I masquarade as a computer geek. Although I earn a good living at it, it is really not my passion. Rather than continue doing what I don't like just to earn a living, I decided it it is time for a change. Having a great appreciation for authentic Napoletana pizza, I recently made a decision to pursue a career change to the pizza business. In order to learn more about making the best quality pizza possible, I built a Pompeii oven on my property and started learning about the process through a lot of trial and a little bit of error. Unfortunately I was limited in the size I could make the oven, but I can still bake a decent sized pie in there. Here is a link to pictures of my progress and results so far:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauliegee/sets/72157603296443911/

I still have some cosmetic finishing touches to complete once the weather improves, but it is a fully working oven.

My commitment to high quality is exhibited by my use of Polly-O Gold curd in making my own fresh mozzarella and by using the highest quality flour from Naples, Molino Caputo typo "00" for my pizza dough. I am very serious about making this career change and even have signed up to attend this week's Pizza and Food Services show at the Javits Center to further enhance my knowledge. I have a great deal of management experience garnered through my years as an software deveIopment manager at AT&T. I headed up a team of twenty-five developers and systems analysts with four project leaders reporting to me. I would very much like the opportunity to speak with you in person to further demonstrate how my management experience combined with my passion for creating the ultimate Pizzeria Napoletana experience could greatly benefit your coming expansion. Please contact me at [PHONE NUMBER REDACTED] to further discuss my qualifications.

Thanks,
Paul Giannone

The Delboy

A Delboy pizza from Paulie Gee's. [Photograph: Nick Solares]

From: Paul Giannone
To: REDACTED@aol.com
Sent: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 10:34 am
Subject: General Manager Position Follow Up

Mr. [REDACTED],
I am writing this note as a follow up to the email below I recently sent to you. I called the number found on your website and spoke briefly with [NAME REDACTED] this morning. He indicated that you were handling the general manager position hiring and encouraged me to contact you again. I am sure that you have been inundated with applicants. I hope that you can find the time to meet with me briefly to give me the opportunity to demonstrate further how serious I am about being a successful candidate for one of your GM positions. I hope that my eagerness is appreciated and you do not view me as a pest at this point. After reading this again, if you feel that I am not worth at least speaking with briefly, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know. Of course I hope that is not the case. If you'd like, I can forward you my resume, however it is very technical in nature. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,
Paul Giannone

[REDACTED]@aol.com wrote:
please email me your resume again.

Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 10:59:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Paul Giannone
Subject: Re: General Manager Position Follow Up

To: REDACTED@aol.com

Here it is. Please refer to my initial email dated March 6th (below) for an explanation of the absence of food service positions.

Thanks,
Paul Giannone

From: Paul Giannone
To: REDACTED@aol.com
Sent: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 7:45 am
Subject: General Manager Position Follow Up

Does persisitance count for anything?

Thanks,
Paul Giannone

Thumbnail image for 20110418-paulie-gee-monte-christo.jpg

The Monte Cristo brunch pizza at Paulie Gee's? Absolutely craveworthy. [Photograph: Adam Kuban]

From: "REDACTED"
To: Paul Giannone
Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2008 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: General Manager Position Follow Up

Dear Mr. Giannone,
With all do respect, your resume doesn't show any restaurant experience, not to mention pizza restaurant experience and the objective you refer to on your resume is to leverage your IT experience, which isn't appropriate for our business.

The position we're looking to fill requires experience in the restaurant industry at the General Manager level, supervising 30-50 employees in a high volume environment. Without a doubt you have a passion for pizza. However, without the restaurant management experience, I regret I can't consider you for the position advertised.

Respectfully,
[NAME REDACTED]

From: Paul Giannone
To: REDACTED
Subject: Sometimes passion trumps experience

...Without your reluctance I may never have gotten the opportunity to spread my wings.

Thanks,
PG

http://newyork.timeout.com/restaurants-bars/1118813/best-new-pizza-paulie-gee's

http://vitality.yahoo.com/video-second-act-paul-giannone-21996533

http://nonabrooklyn.com/pie-in-the-sky-paulie-gees-pizza-pilgrimage-brings-him-back-to-brooklyn/#more-2058

You can catch me on this new Food Network show this Monday: http://www.foodnetwork.com/crave/pizza-the-edible-frisbee-of-glee/index.html

From: [REDACTED]
To: Paul Giannone

Congratulations. You're obviously correct, sometimes passion does surpass experience.

Best of luck and continued success.

'I'm happy the pizzeria in question blew off Giannone'

Paulie Gee

[Photograph: Nick Solares]

This is a really informative and eye-opening exchange. Inspirational, too. And I don't say that lightly. When I really stop to think about Paulie Gee's pizza journey, I mist up a little. (Er, wait, maybe that's just something in my eye... ;) Paulie truly is an inspiration to pizza geeks everywhere and moreover to folks who are aspiring to live out their dream. He took the leap late in life and through careful planning has made it work.

I'm happy the pizzeria in question blew off Giannone. Though I don't doubt he would have eventually moved from that job to his own place, all of us NYC pizza-eaters got their maws on his pies that much earlier.

Plus, who knows how taking that job would have affected his path. Imagining the different outcomes at this inflection point is like a sci-fi–writing exercise. Alternate universes where Paulie Gee's never gets built. Or a butterfly kills a dinosaur and a monkey ends up manning his pizza oven.

I can understand the hiring manager's reluctance. A resume often can be a poor representation of a person's life, skills, enthusiasm, and true qualifications for a job. I'm sure had this person met Paulie, s/he would have thought twice about dismissing him.

Anyway, this place's loss was truly our gain.

Paulie Gee's

60 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222 (Franklin/West; map)
347-987-3747; pauliegee.com

About the author: Adam Kuban is the founder of Slice, where he has been blogging about pizza since 2003. You can follow him as @akuban on Twitter.

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