Chef of the Year judges offer wealth of experience
By Canadian Pizza
By Canadian Pizza
Oct. 22, 2014, Simcoe, Ont. – Marina Rondinelli, Tony Sabherwal, Dean
Litster and Francesco Battaglia will serve as judges at the Canadian
Pizza Chef of the Year competition to be held Oct. 27 at the Canadian
Pizza Show at Mississauga's International Centre.
Oct. 22, 2014, Simcoe, Ont. – Marina Rondinelli, Tony Sabherwal, Dean Litster and Francesco Battaglia will serve as judges at the Canadian Pizza Chef of the Year competition to be held Oct. 27 at the Canadian Pizza Show at Mississauga's International Centre.
A self-taught chef with a business marketing
degree and an award-winning pizza maker, Marina Rondinelli used her skills to
grow her pizzeria/bar, Rondo's Pizza Plus, in Bright's Grove, Ont., into a
successful business of 26 years before her retirement two years ago.
Her love of using unconventional ingredients
like Whiskey, Beer and Wine in her pizzas has won her accolades. In 2011 and
2012 she was runner-up to the Canadian Pizza Chef of the Year.
Her 2011 entry of "Pulled Pork with
Forty Creek Whiskey" ranked first among the Canadians at the International
Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas. That same recipe was chosen as one of three
finalists for Inspired Chef of the Year, sponsored by SIR Corp.
Rondinelli’s 2012 entry at the Pizza Expo in
Vegas, a pie with Sweet Italian Sausage in Pelee Island Baco Noir with Roasted
& Hot Peppers topped with Goat cheese, was named third best pizza in the
finals of the International Pizza Challenge.
Named one of Sarnia’s Ten Influential Women
in Business, she has been an innovator in her success with supplier sponsorship
for community fundraising efforts.
From humble beginnings as a first-generation
immigrant, Tony Sabherwal has become a successful franchisor of Magic Oven, a
mini-chain of seven award-winning restaurants in Toronto. His passion for
freshness and quality is demonstrated by his restaurants’ commitment to local
and artisanal producers and a genuine and sincere service philosophy.
An entrepreneur who is on the cutting edge of
technology and social media, Sabherwal was among the first in the city to offer
online ordering, social media presence and a mobile ordering app. His key
strengths include menu engineering, recipe development, and innovative
He and his wife Abby and two daughters also are
involved in giving back to their communities and supporting not-for-profit
Francesco Battaglia is pastry-chef and owner
of Francesca Bakery in Scarborough, Ont.
Since 1997, Battaglia has been part of the
family bakery business, which was founded by his father, Angelo, in 1994.
Apart from learning the craft from his
father, he has attended culinary school at George Brown College.
In 2005 Francesco went to Palermo to work
with Master Pastry Chef Salvatore Cappello to learn his modern pastry skills.
He still attends courses to specialize in other areas of the trade such as
gelato and chocolate.
Dean Litster, of Windsor, Ont., is corporate
chef at Armando’s Pizza, which has 10 locations in the Windsor area.
Litster, who has been making pizzas since he
held his first pizzeria job at the age of 15, credits Armando’s with giving him
“constant support, mentoring and opportunities.”
“I spend my days developing recipes, weighing
out dough ingredients, kneading dough balls, stretching pizza dough and cooking
pizzas,” he says. “Every day I pass on my tips, tricks and passion for pizza to
the next generation of pizza makers. It really is a lot of fun to do what you
love every day!”
In 2014, Litster competed as part of the
Armando’s team in the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas, where the
team placed in the top 5.
There is still time to register for the Canadian Pizza Show, which in addition to the chef competition features a trade show and seminars to help pizza operators grow and profit in the business.