On Monday, August 26, we were proud to host the U.S. Pizza Team for the 7th U.S. Pizza Cup. During the event, pizza makers from across the United States vied for a chance to compete in the European Pizza Championship in London.
Prior to the competition, U. S. Pizza Team director Brian Hernandez stated; “The level of competition goes up every year, and I can’t wait to see who we will take to London to represent the United States.” Droves of the best pizzaioli from all over the country competed in the Pizza Classica category. Working with high-heat Marra Forni ovens, these pizza chefs were challenged to make the best pizza possible in 12 minutes – using the ingredients and sauces of their choice. The only stipulations were that they had to keep their pie between 12” and 14” round and bake them in the oven stone.
Our team of expert judges included our Culinary Director/Chef/Pizzaiolo Felice Colucci, Award-Winning Author/Chef/Brand Ambassador Amy Riolo, Chef/Author/Educator Rudy Waldner, and Chef/Brand Ambassador/Teacher Gregorio Fierro. The official Pizza Evaluation Sheets contained two main sections – the “Pizza Bake” section and the “Pizza Taste” Session. Contestants were scored on Crust, Cheese, and Toppings, General Visual Appeal, Taste of Crust, Taste of Cheese & Toppings, and General Flavor Selection for a maximum of 100 points.
The fifteen contestants prepared pizzas that were as different and unique as the regions they hailed from. Judges were also given sheets which detailed the contestant’s names, the name of their pizzerias, and the oven temperature they planned to use. Temperatures for the most New York-style pizzas ranged from 600-800 F degrees. Contestants prepared everything from New-Orleans inspired pizzas topped with crayfish and spices to fruit-topped pizzas, and others topped with house-made salumi.
As each contestant presented their pie to the jury, the judges asked questions about the moisture % of the dough, the maturation process, ingredients, and inspiration for the particular pizza. The judges carefully examined the crust and dough to ensure that the pizza was made properly. Then it was smelled and tasted to ensure that the flavors blended well on each pie. The judges unanimously agreed that attention to technique and ingredients far-outweighed the use of “new” flavor combinations on pizza.
The winners of the 2019 Northeast U.S. Pizza Cup, 1st place – Patrick Maggi of Maggi’s Pizza in Damascus, MD who prepared a Maryland Margherita pizza with tomatoes he harvested in his backyard. The judges truly felt that the pizza utilized the proper technique and did a great job of fusing quality local ingredients with authentic techniques. 2nd place went to Tore Trupiano of Mangia e Bevi in San Diego for his excellent dough. The 3rd place winner was Craig Allenbaugh of Sauced Wood Fired Pizza in Fair View Park, Ohio for the skills he demonstrated as well as the flavors of his pizza. 1st place winner Patrick Maggi was awarded a trip to represent the United States at the European Pizza and Pasta Show in November in London, England. Learn more about all of the U.S. Pizza Team’s competitions here.