October 09, 2009
Written by: Vince McConeghy
When I first heard news that Drew Cerza was tapped to become the national pitchman for Pizza Hut’s Wing Street, I was mildly curious, and, of course, slightly envious that a local food service guy was getting a national pay day. I’ve heard the rumblings from many of my food service colleagues after Labor Day passes.
“Look at that Cerza,” they say. “Imagine how much scarol he’s pocketing at that Chicken Wing festival.”
Our city does a great (and grating) job of celebrating and deflating every citizen that steps from our snow banks and into the national spotlight. So, the particular strain of food service envy directed towards Cerza for the Pizza Hut gig is understandable.
But when you consider that our County Executive appointed Cerza as the Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, a position that is essentially the Ambassadorship to the City, and that our fair metropolis is stitched together by a legion of independent food service operators who serve and protect our culinary heritage–the Buffalo Chicken Wing- you start to realize that there is something wrong with this.
Just set your Google Alerts to Buffalo and see how many queries bring you results of Buffalo-style this and that. It’s the Sixth Sense of flavor, heretofore unidentified but known to all who live here – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umani and Buffalo-style.
That’s why Cerza cannot be trusted in his current position as chief of the CVB while also employed as a Pizza Hut huckster.
It’s a hot splash of grease out of the deep fryer that scalds our civic wrists and forearms.
Perhaps Cerza should switch positions with Dick Jauron. Let’s let the Ivy League coach talk nice to the cocktail crowd about grandiose economic development schemes, and let a food service guy take a crack at winning us some football games.
Anyone who can sell the masses tickets to get into a stadium for the privilege of spending more money to buy chicken wings from a pitcher’s mound must have talent to make things happen.