May 30, 2013 |

International Pizza Challenge 2013 crown best making winners

By Bill Oakley


2013 March: International Pizza ChallengeIf you were in Las Vegas, then you know that International Pizza Expo® was THE place to be. You could feel the energy and pizza enthusiasm from the moment you walked into the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Traditional Division of the International Pizza Challenge™ had the following regional winners and wild cards that advanced to the finals:

  • Michael Stevens, Pallo Mesa Pizza, Arroyo, CA – Southwest Region
  • Thiago Vasconcelos, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco, CA – Northwest Region
  • Javier Valdez, Joe’s New York Pizza, Henderson, NV – Mid-America Region
  • Leah Scurto, Pizza My Heart, Las Gatos, CA – Wild Card
  • Danilo Lupo, Pizzeria Defina, Toronto, ON – International Region
  • Bruno DiFabio, Renapoli, Old Greenwich, CT – Northeast Region
  • Jane Mines, Nima’s Pizza & More, Inc., Gassville, AR – Southeast Region
  • Rick Nixon, Itza Ristorante & Pizzeria, Nelson, B.C. – Canada

The Non-Traditional Division of the International Pizza Challenge™ had the following regional winners and wild cards that advanced to the finals:

  • Joleen Piser, AJ Barile’s Chicago Pizza, Yucaipa, CA – Southwest Region
  • Tim Hoffman, Barros Pizza, Phoenix, AZ – Northwest Region
  • Melissa Rickman, Wholly Stromboli, Fort Lupton, CO – Mid-America Region
  • Lars Smith, Pizza My Heart, Los Gatos, CA – Wild Card
  • Doug Ferriman, Crazy Dough’s Pizza, Boston, MA – Northeast Region
  • Floriana Pastore, Italy – International Region
  • Michael LaMarca, Master Pizza, Mayfield Heights, OH – Southeast Region
  • Rocco Agostino, Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto, Ontario – Canada

Thiago Vasconcelos won the Traditional Division and $7,500, Floriana Pastore won Non-Traditional Division and $7,500, Jeff Smokevitch, Brown Dog Pizza, Telluride, Colorado, won the American-Pan Division, and Michele D’Amelio, Pizzeria Testa, Liono (AV), Italy, won the Italian-Style Division and $4,000.

Following the finals of the International Pizza Challenge, 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 — Kalamata Olives. Floriana Pastore, our first female champion, walked away with the title of World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year and an additional $5,000. And special applause for Theo Kalogeracos, winner of the Best of the Best competition among past world champions took home $2,500 and the title of Master Pizza Maker of the Year.

Start making plans now to attend International Pizza Expo® 2014, which will again be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 24 – 27.

Sincerely,

Bill Oakley

Executive Vice President

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