If you were in Las Vegas, then you know that International Pizza Expo® was the THE place to be. You could feel the energy and pizza enthusiasm from the moment you walked into the Las Vegas Convention Center.
There was something for everyone at International Pizza Expo® 2012, whether you’re a veteran or just opening your first store. When the show closed on Thursday afternoon, nearly 7,000 buyers had visited more than 930 exhibits and attended more than 80 educational sessions. Rounding out the experience were numerous culinary competitions, contests, demonstrations and other special events.
The Traditional Division of the International Pizza Challenge™ had the following regional winners and wild cards that advanced to the finals:
Real Varela, Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta, Los Angeles, CA – Southwest Region
Tim Silva, Nima’s Pizza My Heart, Los Gatos, CA – Northwest Region
Mark Briand, Bondi’s Pizza, London, Ontario – Mid-America Region
Frank Baird, Franco’s Pizza Plus, Chardon, OH – Wild Card
Giovanni Gagliardi, Pizzeria La Leggenda, San Felice, Italy – International Region
Marlene Smith, Pizza Palace Plus, Emporium, PA – Northeast Region
Keith Coffman, Lost River Pizza Co., Bowling Green, KY, – Southeast Region
The Non-Traditional Division of the International Pizza Challenge™ had the following regional winners and wild cards that advanced to the finals:
Joleen Pisner, AJ Barile’s Chicago Pizza, Yucaipa, CA – Southwest Region
John Cammack, Lefty’s Grill, Nevada City, CA – Northwest Region
Rick Mines, Nima’s Pizza & More, Gassville, AR – Southeast Region
John Gutekanst, Avalanche Pizza, Athens, OH – Mid-America Region
Andrew Scudera, Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza, Staten Island, NY –
Tsutomu Inayoshi, Japanese Home Delivered Pizza, Aichi, Japan –
Alexandre Brunet, Pizza Stromboli, Montreal, Quebec – Wild Card
Tim Silva, won the Traditional Division and $7,500, Andrew Scudera, won Non-Traditional Division and $7,500, Shawn Randazzo, Cloverleaf Pizza, St. Clair, MI, won the American-Pan Division, and Umberto Fornito won the Italian-Style Division and $4,000.
Following the International Pizza Challenge finals, the winners in each division squared off in the Pizza Maker of the Year competition. Contestants were presented with a table of ingredients from which to choose. There were no restrictions for toppings, but all contestants had to use the secret ingredient – Cattlemen’s® Carolina Tangy Gold™ Barbeque Sauce. Shawn Randazzo walked away with the title of World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year and an additional $5,000. We also introduced a new competition this year called the Best of the Best, where four past World Champions squared off to see who would be named the Master Pizza Maker of the Year. The inaugural winner was Tony Gemignani, of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, California, who walked away with $2,500.
The Winners in the World Pizza Games® were as follows:
Freestyle Acrobatics –– Kazuya Akaogi, Red Japan Co., Japan,
Masters Division Freestyle Acrobatics –– Jay Schuurman, Pizza Rock, Sacramento, CA
Fastest Dough Stretch –– Ingrosso Simone, Pizzeria Del Mille, Italy
Fastest Box Folding –– Jimmy Xang, Pizza Guys, Rancho Cordova, CA
Largest Dough Stretch –– Mario Sigmorile, Pizzeria Del Centro, Italy
Longest Spin –– Kazuya Akaogi, Red Japan Co., Japan
Start making plans now to attend International Pizza Expo® 2013, which will again be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 19 – 21.