International Pizza Challenge 2013 crown best pizza making winners

If 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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