Our two Chefs of the Year, Dean Litster, of Armando's Pizza in Windsor, Ont., and Giuseppe Cortinovis, of Ignite Pizzeria in Vancouver, wowed judges with their skill and creativity.
They took their signature pizzas – The Dean Martin and The Queen – to Pizza Expo in Las Vegas where the ace pizza makers did us proud. Dean took fourth place in the Pan division while Giuseppe placed second in the International section of the Traditional division!
Judges and attendees tasted many more great pizzas that day. Here we share a few from our talented runners-up.
- Giorgio Taverniti, Frank's Pizza House, Toronto Giorgio Taverniti, Frank's Pizza House, Toronto
- Giovanni Campisi, Casa Mia Ristorante, Niagara Falls, Ont. Giovanni Campisi, Casa Mia Ristorante, Niagara Falls, Ont.
- Marco Caveglia, Tuscan Wolf Pizzeria, Whitby, Ont. Marco Caveglia, Tuscan Wolf Pizzeria, Whitby, Ont.
- Maurizio Mascioli, Maurizio's Inc., Parry Sound, Ont. Maurizio Mascioli, Maurizio's Inc., Parry Sound, Ont.
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Giorgio Taverniti, Second Place, Traditional
Frank’s Pizza House, Toronto
The pizza: Pizza Capricciosa
Giorgio Taverniti, who has been owner of Frank's Pizza House in Toronto since 1992, earned second place with his Pizza Capricciosa. Capricciosa means "picky person," Giorgio told us. Our five picky judges approved of his pie, which featured San Marzano tomato sauce, mozzarella, bacon and diced, seasoned bruschetta tomatoes.
He used a 20-year-old starter dough and a traditional pizza flour with a 10 per cent semolina flour mix. "When stretching our dough we only use semolina flour," Giorgio said.
"When rising our pizza dough it’s a 48-hour process for the ideal, full-flavour pizza crust," he said, adding that he made the dough Saturday morning for the Monday morning competition.
He described his pizza style as New York style, noting that he starts the cooking process on a black pizza tray and finishes the pizza on the stone.
Maurizio Mascioli, Second Place, Open
Maurizio's Inc., Parry Sound, Ont.
The pizza: Hockey Night in Canada
Maurizio Mascioli's pizza was inspired by "hockey night culinary choices when visiting the local bar to watch the game. Nachos, pizza and beer."
"We designed a pizza that encompassed our signature thin crust with a nachos platter topping," Maurizio said. "A very difficult feat to achieve since all those heavy toppings rest on a delicate one-millimetre-thick hand-stretched pizza dough."
The result, Maurizio correctly predicted in his description, was an explosion of flavour. A big hit with Maurizio's customers in cottage country, the chef and owner plans to bring it back to the menu for a second season this summer.
The sports-themed pie featured a blend of cheddar and mozzarella, nacho chips, pepperoni, bacon, salsa, green onions, sour cream, roasted red peppers and rubbed basil.
Giovanni Campisi, Third Place, Traditional
Casa Mia Ristorante, Niagara Falls, Ont.
The pizza: Calabrese Pizza
Giovanni Campisi's pizza represented a marriage of North and South Italy. The chef, who tied for sixth place in 2017, is originally from Sicily in the southern part of Italy. He has been a pizzaiolo for 15 years and, representing Canada at his last competition in Bucarest, took home two gold medals and and one bronze.
This Calabrese was cooked at 320 C. It is made with salami, gorgonzola cheese and DOP tomatoes that have been blended with garlic, olive oil and herbs.
"It has a thin crust with a slight pleasant crunch," Giovanni said. The dough is made with 00 flour from Italy and rests for 72 hours to mature and develop.
Marco Caveglia, Third Place, Open
Tuscan Wolf Pizzeria, Whitby, Ontario
The pizza: Desiderio
A new and enthusiastic competitor on the Chef of the Year stage, Marco Caveglia, of Tuscan Wolf Pizzeria in Whitby, Ont., made a tasty pizza he called Desiderio, which in English means desire!
It featured cream, homemade truffle paste, mozzarella, mild Italian sausage, mushrooms, mascarpone, sliced truffle, truffle oil, salt and pepper.
Congratulations to all of our talented chefs on your skill and creativity under pressure!
Do you love making and sharing pizza? Register now to attend the Canadian Pizza Summit and Chef of the Year Competitions. Sign up to compete and/or attend the Summit to network, shop and pick up on trends from top pizza makers!