Canadian Pizza Magazine

Pizza Summit West highlights

Colleen Cross   

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Summit West, part of Bakery Showcase Vancouver in May, was a buzzing hive of activity

In a popular demo, Andy Finlayson of 70 Pizzeria/The Rebellious Tomato treats Vancouver Community College instructors Mark Burton, Nav Sidhu and Leanne Bentley to his special brand of Sicilian pan pizza. PHOTOs: CANADIAN PIZZA

Giuseppe Cortinovis has been named Canadian Pizza magazine’s Chef of the Year for the second time!

A veteran competitor, Cortinovis has consistently been a top finisher. Cortinovis, who runs his own business, Pizza Lab, and also works for Nightingale restaurant, impressed the judges with his “Nostalgia” pizza that he describes as “a unique and personal revisitation of a classic favourite of my childhood (the “Prosciutto e Rucola”). The dough was made using a combination of a Biga and autolysis. The winning pizza features a layer of aged parmesan cream and tomato confit before baking, and on exiting the oven it is topped with stracciatella cheese and arugula pesto made with sunflower seeds.

Cortinovis wins a trip to Las Vegas Pizza Expo and will be featured on the cover of Canadian Pizza magazine. Pizza showman Aaron Gehrman earned second place and $300 with “The Club Med” his version of “vacation in a pizza” The owner of Emilio Finatti Pizzeria, with four locations in Langley, Port Coquitlam, White Rock and Port Moody, Gehrman made a pizza with Emilio’s 27 house sauce: a Mediterranean-inspired blend of herbs, spices, dates and tomatoes baked with our house cheese blend, edam and mozzarella, slow-braised New Zealand lamb shoulder, finished with a housemade cucumber mint slaw. The dough is a Canadian grain blend of winter wheat cold fermented for 48 hours with a 13 per cent protein content.

“The Best Part of French Onion Soup” by Chef Steven Che of Wild Flour Pizza Co. in Burnaby took third prize ($200). It was inspired by a visit to a Paris café The dough features unbleached Canadian Hard Red Spring Wheat and Dark Rye; along with slow and long fermentation, to produce a crust that is flavourful, tender and structural. Topping included onions caramelized for three hours, white sauce, mozzarella, emmental, grueyere and crispy dry-aged beef fat.


The well-travelled chef placed second last year at our first Summit West held at Snow Cap Enterprises with his tasty “Butter Paneer Pizza” – a pizza he made for attendees during a lively demonstration the previous day at the Summit and Bakery Showcase.

Also on the Sunday, Andy Finlayson, owner of the health-inspired 70 Pizzeria/The Rebellious Tomato in North Vancouver and third-place finisher in 2022, demonstrated his unique, attractive and “gone-in-60-seconds” Sicilian-style square pizza.

First-time competitor Jamie Lutyk, owner of Lutyk’s Pizza and Treats in Lumby, B.C., presented a pizza that featured a lively cajun-marinated sirloin steak, bourbon barbecue sauce, sautéed red onion, bell peppers and gorgonzola.

We were fortunate to have award-winning pizza chef Diana Cline – no stranger to competition – as our lively host. During the competition, Cline shared some of her own experiences competing in Las Vegas and Italy. The previous day, the creative chef and partner in Diana’s Cucina and Lounge in Winnipeg, demonstrated how she makes her famous beer pizza crust and played with some unique international flavours on pizza.

Showgoers ate well, as did our stellar judging panel: 

    • Francisco Migoya, celebrated chef and author of Modernist Pizza, Modernist Bread and other award-winning books
    • Peter Jacobs, Certified Master Baker, The Baker’s Workshop in Newmarket, Ont.
    • Marzia Molatore, known as Mamma Marzia, cookbook author and instructor, of Langley, B.C.
    • Hassi Sadri, chef and director of the Napoli Culinary Institute in Sacramento, Calif., and respected judge in international competitions

Thank you, judges! And a special thank-you goes out to EM Bakery Equipment of Burnaby, B.C., for providing a beautiful Esmach Bakestone oven for the use of the competition and demonstrations.

Expert judges Peter Jacobs, Francisco Migoya, Marzia Molatore and Hassi Sadri had their plates full evaluating different styles of pizza during the Chef of the Year competition.

Watch for more coverage of this action-packed event, including the first Women in Pizza: Canada Edition featuring host Stephanie Swane of Modernist Pizza, Diana Cline of Diana’s Cucina and Lounge in Winnipeg, and Suzanne Fielden of Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company in Vancouver, and the History and Culture of Pizza by renowned chef and author Francisco Migoya of Modernist Pizza Lab at, on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and in our next issue.

Chef Francisco Migoya, co-author of Modernist Pizza, presented a fascinating glimpse into pizza culture and the history of pizza styles.

The Baking Association of Canada’s Bakery Showcase Vancouver featuring the Canadian Pizza Summit and Chef of the Year Competition has been a wonderful and rare opportunity for pizzerias and bakeries of all sizes to connect and learn from experts in the art, science and business of baking.

More than 1,600 attendees and nearly 200 exhibitor booths filled the aisles of the show, the first to be hosted in Vancouver since 2017. Together we learned so much about what consumers are looking for in their local bakery and pizzeria, how small businesses are showing leadership in sustainability and where the baking business is heading.

Thank you to our sponsoring partners, AB Mauri, Ardent Mills, Bakemark, Caldic, Dawn Foods, EM Bakery Equipment, FCC, Fritsch Multivac, Lallemand and Puratos for supporting this key industry learning and networking event.

And thank you to all presenters, baker attendees and exhibitors for bringing your energy and ideas to the West Coast!

Watch for coverage in Canadian Pizza and at Meanwhile, visit our Facebook photo album and tag yourself and someone you connected with during Showcase!

Toronto Bakery Showcase is set for May 5-6, 2024.

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