Chef of the Year Giovanni Campisi named at first Canadian Pizza Summit in 3 years
By Canadian PizzaFeatures News Business and Operations Trends
Toronto – Canadian Pizza Summit East returned triumphantly to the live event stage as a showcase for 20 talented, creative Canadian pizza chefs.
Our Chef of the Year is Giovanni Campisi, pizza chef at Red Door Cucina in Dundas, Ont. Campisi’s Octopus Pinza (Il profumo del mare) featured octopus carpaccio, micro rocket, buffalo burrata, cherry tomatoes, grated lemon peel with oil and lemon salt and garlic.
The fluffy, colourful pizza was made using a biga with hydration of 80 per cent leavened for 36 hours.
Second-place honours went to Salar Madadi, owner of Maipai in Hamilton, Ont. Madadi tickled the taste buds of judges with his playful Pumpkin Spice Not a Latte. The Detroit-style pizza featured slow-roasted pumpkin puree seasoned with sage brown butter an maple syrup, crumbled goat cheese and smoked pineapple.
Jeremy Paone, co-owner of The Lock Wood Fired Oven Pizza in Port Colborne, Ont., placed third with Nonna’s Favourite featuring his nonna’s homemade meatballs, sauteed onions, cup and char pepperoni, goat cheese, arugula and hot honey.
In a well-attended demo, Ardent Mills executive chef Kirk Borchardt showed operators ideas and tips for making great gluten-free pizza.
Five dedicated judges had their hands full evaluating 20 creative signature pizzas. Diana Cline is a two-time Canadian Pizza magazine chef of the year champion, three-time winner of “Canada’s Best Pizza Chef” at international pizza competitions and a judge for international pizza culinary competitions in Las Vegas, Italy and France. Diana has grown her business in countless ways over the years, and she is known for her creative menus, event nights and for her award-winning Moosehead Beer pizza crust. She is partner with Diana’s Cucina & Lounge in Winnipeg and a consultant to other pizzeria owner/operators. Follow Diana on Instagram @dianas_cucina_and_lounge
Tom Stankiewicz has owned and operated Bondi’s Pizza in London, Ont., for 23 years – since 1999. Tom was our 2009 Chef of the Year with his Pizza Calabria featuring Italian sausage, Canadian goat cheese, grilled portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers. For several years, Tom was involved with the Canadian Pizza Team. In recent years, he tackled diverse topics related to pizza and pizzeria management in his Pizza on Fire column in Canadian Pizza. Follow Tom on Instagram @pizzajudgecanada
Giorgio Taverniti owns Frank’s Pizza House in Toronto, which has been in his family since 1990. Frank’s has received numerous awards including Best Panzerotti in Toronto by BlogTO and Best Pizza Delivery Toronto by BlogTO. A graduate of George Brown College’s culinary management and Italian culinary programs, Giorgio helped found a popular pizza-making workshop at the college. He is a fixture on the Toronto pizza scene and well loved for his drives to support the community. Follow Giorgio on Instagram @torontopizzeria
Judging duties were split between Frank Mazzuca (morning) and Rocco Agostino (afternoon). Frank Mazzuca is the principal of Mazzuca Design, Photography & Ideas established in 1995. His award-winning graphic design firm focuses on design with direction, photography with purpose and ideas that inspire, including a focus on package design and product innovation. He is passionate about pizza making and created a Pizza Lookbook with a focus on Neapolitan pizza in 2010. Google Frank Mazzuca FamilyStyle and view any of his over 500 videos on his Food Channel on YouTube alongside his Instagram account where something is always cooking. Follow Frank on Instagram @familystyle
Rocco Agostino is executive chef and partner for Pizzeria Libretto and partner of Enoteca Sociale. Agostino studied at the Stratford Chef’s School, then studied abroad in Rome. His first experience leading a kitchen was at Ferro Bar Café and from there he went on to open the Silver Spoon. Rocco, alongside Max Rimaldi, opened Pizzeria Libretto in 2008, and as a partner in Libretto Restaurant Group, which includes Enoteca Sociale. Follow Rocco on Twitter, @ChefRoccoTO
Chefs baked their pizzas in one of four Moretti Forni ovens supplied by Faema Canada: the CEKY gas-fired oven, the Moretti Forni gas deck, the S Series electric deck and the Neapolis.
The Great Pizza Box Fold-Off returned with an enthusiastic group rallied by Marco Caveglia, owner of Tuscan Wolf Pizzeria Inc. in Whitby, Ont. Caveglia brought members of his team to the Summit, including Jayden Collins, who won the box fold-off easily by folding 10 boxes in 46 seconds. Collins started at Tuscan Wolf in 2019 as a dishwasher, then became a pizza maker and, as boss Caveglia says, “a solid part of the business. The standing record is 36.33 seconds set by Virgil Risi of Maria’s Original Pizza in Brantford, at the Virtual Pizza Summit in 2020.
Out on the show floor, Ardents Mills had its specialty artisan flours featured, Lactalis Foodservice Canada shared information about its dairy products and Reiser helped operators explore options for new equipment and automation. Annex Bookstore had good reads for pizza chefs and operators, including Pizza Czar by Anthony Falco and Tony Gemignani’s Pizza Bible and a selection of books for baking professionals. We welcomed for the first time Pizza Cloud, who supply phone solutions and internet backup for pizzerias. Jean-Charles Madour of Lallemand educated about yeast and brought samples of the company’s InstaFerm yeast, which is ideal for yeast-leavened products containing 3-25 per cent sugar (sweet dough) and rich doughs.
If attendees didn’t get their fill of great pizza by sampling the competition pizzas, they had a chance to enjoy more goodness as Faema Canada held an exciting margherita pizza eating contest. Joe Gonzalez of St. Catharines emerged the winner by finishing his margherita, made by Faema’s chefs and the competition’s oven managers Pasquale Ponticello and Gianluca Ruggieri.
Pizzeria Libretto’s Rocco Agostino brought some of his lucky team members as part of a teambuilding day. Libretto staff competed to win a day out: a visit to their cheese supplier, an afternoon at the Pizza Summit and dinner. What a great idea to motivate your team!
Thank you to Host and Platinum Sponsor Faema Canada, Gold Sponsor Ardent Mills, Silver Sponsor Lactalis Canada and Bronze Sponsor Reiser for supporting this who’s who of pizza innovation in Canada!
Enjoy our PIZZA SUMMIT FACEBOOK GALLERY and this INSPIRING VIDEO made by and courtesy of Frank Mazzuca, FamilyStyle. Our outstanding competitors, please tag yourselves and share memories of this epic day in pizza with friends and family!
More to come in the pages of Canadian Pizza!
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