At this year’s Canadian Pizza Show, former champs Dave Housman, Carlo Raillo and Rocco Agostino will compete for the new Champion of Champions Challenge crown for the ultimate in bragging rights! Here at Canadian Pizzawe have seen more than a decade of pizza greatness wear the Chef of the Year laurels.
We pause to catch up with Carlo, Dave, Rocco and other past winners.
Carlo Raillo, our most recent winner for 2014 and 2015, is head pizza maker at Buco Pizzeria and Vino in St. Albert, Alta., just northwest of Edmonton. Before going to Italy to help with his parents’ pizzeria in Italy in August, as he and his young family do every year, Carlo helped Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group open up the pizzeria, which specializes in Neapolitan pizza.
After a stint at Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria’s head office helping to open 10 more locations, Dave Housman, our 2010 winner, has returned to his roots as a franchisee for the company in Edmonton. “I have also got two more locations that I own and operate, Dave says. “In the last year I left head office and have gone back to helping run my three locations.”
Rocco Agostino, our 2013 champ, has helped parlay Pizzeria Libretto into a second location and spawned a sister restaurant, Enoteca Sociale. Rocco, one of four partners in the restaurant group splits his time between the pizzerias and developed the menu at Pearson airport trattoria Corso.
Cory Medd of Two Guys and a Pizza Place in Lethbridge, Alta., two-time champ famous for his sandwich-inspired pie, The Roadhouse, expanded his pizzeria to a larger location with a dining room in 2013. Last March, Cory did a bit of a star turn with his appearance on You Gotta Eat Here!.
Pasqualino Oliveri lives in Ottawa, where he has opened up a café called Cafe Lino in downtown Ottawa. “We do breakfast, lunch and pizza!” Pasqualino says. He also acts as a consultant through Authentic Italian Food Catering and Consulting.
Readers have been able to keep up with Tom Stankiewicz through his back-page column in Canadian Pizza. The column is full of “in-the-trenches” wisdom and tips for hard-working operators. Tom has run Bondi’s Pizza in London since 2000 and is president of the Canadian Pizza Team. This summer Tom took a European trip – a foodie’s dream – to be refreshed and inspired by international cuisine.
Liliane Sibonney followed up her 2007 Chef of the Year win with by winning the Italian Chef Wars in Las Vegas. Liliane has operated Kensingtons in Toronto for 10 years. She and her family moved to Paris, France, five years ago and have since divided their time between the two cities. “I have been working as a restaurant consultant helping to train chefs and inspire new menus, and launching new restaurants and catering companies alike,” she says.
Diana Cline, who writes our Pizza Chef column, opened Diana’s Cucina & Lounge in Winnipeg in 2014, where she continues to push the pizza envelope. In addition to her double Chef of the Year crowns, our first Chef of the Year competed in the World Pizza Championships in Italy multiple times, as well as at Expo in Las Vegas from 2005 to 2009. She judged at Expo several times and at both competitions. “I really enjoyed competing in pizza games around the world. I made some amazing pizziolo friends who share my passion for the art of pizza, and the awards that I won helped to set me and my business apart from the low-priced pizza chains,” she says.
Dave, Carlo and Rocco will compete in the Champion of Champions Challenge at 2 p.m. Don’t miss the chance to see two of the best in action!
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