By Laura Aiken and Brandi Cowen
Pizza Expo and CRFA highlights
By Laura Aiken and Brandi Cowen
Canadian Pizza magazine returned once again as a regular exhibitor to the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, which ran from March 1 to 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Hilton.
Canadian Pizza magazine returned once again as a regular exhibitor to
the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, which ran from March 1 to 3
at the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Hilton.
This year’s show was a resounding success, with jammed aisles, many
friendly Canadian and American faces, cool products and interesting
seminars. Pizza Expo staffer Linda Keith shared with Canadian Pizza via
e-mail that this year’s show broke every record standing, with more
than 6,400 buyers and the largest exhibit floor and number of booths in
the show’s history.
Here are the highlights from our travels!
Oliveri captures second in Vegas
Pasqualino Oliveri, Canadian Pizza magazine’s Chef of the Year,
clinched the silver spot in the Traditional Finals of the International
Pizza Challenge held on the show floor. His final score was 63.5 and he
earned a $2,000 prize. For the full story on Oliveri, see page 14.
In a sibling sweep, Carmelo Oliveri, his brother, chef’s assistant and
fellow competitor, earned the world pizza champion title in the
Traditional category with a score of 66.3. He also won the blind box
bake-off, bringing his prize money for the show up to $15,000.
Marina Rondinelli, our Chef of the Year runner-up, also won a trip to
Las Vegas and a chance to compete. Rondinelli, of Rondo’s and Pizza
Plus in Bright’s Grove, Ont., competed in the Non-traditional category
with the same Blazing BBQ pulled pork recipe that earned her second
place in our contest. Rondinelli finished an impressive 28th overall
with a score of 73.
Other Canadians competing in the culinary challenge included regular
contender Cory Medd of Two Guys and a Pizza Place in Lethbridge, Alta.,
and Alexandra Brunet of Alimentation Cinq Sens Inc. of Montreal.
Canadian Pizza magazine would like to thank Saputo Foodservice, our
2011 Chef of the Year sponsor, for its support in showcasing Canada’s
At the Thunderbird booth, we learned about the company’s new dough
divider/rounder, the TDR-1380. This machine makes dough ball sizes
ranging from 1 oz. to 32 oz. and a rate of up to 1,600 balls per hour
IceGreen, a Canadian company that makes reusable takeout bags, was
showcasing its fully customizable goods. The idea is for customers to
purchase a fully branded thermal take-out bag from your store for reuse
when they pick up their pies. These bags keep the pizza hot while
keeping your brand front and centre (www.icegreen.ca).
We sampled some tasty gluten-free pizza crust at Kinnikinnick’s booth.
These fellow Canadians are based in Edmonton, Alta., and offer a
gluten-free crust in a regular or thin crust that is also dairy- and
Gluten-free had a strong presence from both sides of the border in the
show aisles. Canbrands Gluten Free Specialty Foods, of Gromley, Ont.,
was also on site with its gluten-free goodies that made for tasty
Rounding out the Canadian exhibitors were Sutus Inc., a communications technology solutions provider based in Burnaby, B.C.
|Pizza Prints Edible Images|
We learned that Pizza Prints Edible Images decorations have been picked
up by at least one Canadian chain, Mamma’s Pizza in Ontario. Pizzas can
be decorated for holidays such as Halloween, birthdays or with sports
and cartoon images (www.pizzaprints.com).
Dino Ciccone, well-known Canadian pizza chef, stopped by our booth to
share an update on his new television show in development, Pizza Rider,
as well as a new website www.worldpizzamap.com. With a pilot completed,
stay tuned for the launch date of the show (www.pizzarider.com).
Through World Pizza Map, Ciccone is working on building the world’s
most comprehensive online pizza directory. Visit the site for
Belelact, the dairy division of the American company Alliance
Enterprises, has developed unique new technology for the food industry
that removes up to 90 per cent of the cholesterol from dairy products.
The technology is patented, tested and works without chemicals, plant
sterols or preservatives. Company literature says the proteins, calcium
and vitamins are left intact and the product keeps its original taste
and texture (www.benelact.com).
Canadian Pizza also made it to seminars on online marketing, community
marketing and viral marketing. Stay tuned in coming editions for
articles sharing the great tips we learned.
Canadian Pizza magazine was also an exhibitor at the Canadian
Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) show at Toronto’s Direct
Energy Centre, March 6 to 8.
As we walked the show floor, chatting with other exhibitors and scoping
out the latest products, everyone we met commented on the high quality
of exhibitors and attendees at this year’s show. Here’s a quick rundown
of what’s on our radar after a fun and informative three days.
|The versatile B’nOlive was new to CRFA.|
The folks at Matt & Steve’s Tasty Beverage Co. are at it again. The
makers of the Extreme Bean have stuffed their popular product inside a
jumbo olive to create the B’nOlive. The tasty treat delivers a big
crunch, smooth olive flavour and a hint of heat, and can be served on
an antipasto plate, or as a garnish on a plate or in a drink. The
B’nOlive is sold in a 325-millilitre jar containing approximately 12 to
15 olives (www.mattandsteve.com).
Green was a big trend at this year’s show. Eco Products Canada has a
new line of Evolution World hot and cold food containers. The
containers feature 24 per cent post-consumer fibre, which saves
resources, keeps waste out of landfills and allows operators to make
more eco-conscious choices without compromising performance. The
containers are available in four sizes: eight, 12, 16 and 32 ounces.
They can be customized with a printed logo. A range of lids are also
At the Wonderland Food & Equipment Inc. booth, we also learned
about a new biodegradable paper straw (www.popcornandnachos.com).
During the show, Greentail Environmental Inc. stopped by our booth and
introduced us to the GohBIO system, which can digest up to 1,500 pounds
of food waste – including meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables,
bread, dairy products, rice, pasta, grains, coffee and eggshells – and
convert it into water in a 24-hour period. The micro-organisms in the
GohBIO system produce enzymes that can break down carbohydrates,
proteins and fats into “bio-water.” According to the company’s website,
“Digestion of the organic waste begins immediately. The on-board
[programmable logic controller] system controls the mix rotation and
speed, mix temperature and water injection, and indicates the
acceptable waste input weight levels.” Water is automatically added to
the mix as needed. At the end of the process, food waste becomes free
flowing water similar in appearance to strong tea. This water has been
approved for discharge down standard floor drains by a number of
municipal governments, including the city of Vancouver and various
local governments across the United States (www.greentail.ca).
|Chowing down on cheeseburger pizza at the French’s booth.|
At French’s Foodservice booth, we munched on cheeseburger pizza. A
ketchup sauce gave this ground beef, lettuce, tomato, pickle and
mustard topped pie its authentic backyard cheeseburger flavour, which
is sure to be a kid favourite. French’s French Fried Onions sprinkled
on top give the pizza some extra crunch. French’s fried onions are
available to foodservice operators in a six-pack of 24-ounce resealable
The folks at French’s also introduced us to their new Frank’s RedHot
Sweet Chili sauce. Available to foodservice operators in four
half-gallon bottles, the sauce blends sweet, tangy and spicy flavours
Toronto-based Reuven International filled us in on the latest trends
they’re following with their range of poultry products, which includes
raw chicken breasts and wings, and a variety of pre-cooked products.
Low-sodium offerings continue to be big business for the 100 per cent
Canadian-owned and -operated company. The vast majority of Reuven’s
products are halal, and the company is now shifting focus to expanding
its range of kosher products (www.reuven.com). Moral of the story:
halal is big and getting bigger.
During a stop by its booth, Lamb Weston tempted our taste buds with
delicious ideas for appetizers, such as potato chips fried in house and
a tangy deep-fried dill pickle that they were having trouble keeping
stocked at the show. Perhaps we’re poised for a period of pickle
popularity? Lamb Weston also gave us the skinny on its different types
of sweet potato fries, which are all the rage right now among diners
hungry for healthier options (www.lambweston.ca).