I was honored to be chosen to judge the inaugural Real California Pizza Contest, hosted by the California Milk Advisory Board in Napa, California just a couple weeks ago! I judged alongside Glenn Cybulski and Barbara Alexander. Glenn andI have known each other for years but this was my first time meeting Barbara and SHE IS A HOOT! The competition was open to any culinary professional or student. We had 8 professionals and 2 students in the competition. Each competitor crafted a pizza recipe, which we evaluated a couple weeks back. That knocked the entries down to a set of finalists, who were flown to Napa to make their creations for the judges.
Competitors first presented about their passion for cooking and for pizza, which was included as part of their final score. Then we ate! Here are some photos of the pizzas from the contest.
The Carnitas Street Taco Pizza: This one was delicious and had some great textural contrast. I think contrast is my current jam in terms of pizza texture.
St Patty’s Pizza: Warm and rich and creamy, all this pie needed was a pint of Guinness.
Gluten Free Cowincidence Pizza: Funny title because this pizza had pork and chicken but not beef. Even so, this one had a nice cohesive concept with BBQ flavors and hot honey to finish. It may have been gluten free, but this crust captured more air than any other pizza at the competition.
The Harvest: Such a pretty pie with flavor to match! I loved the cubed squash on this.
The Napa Grandma: Look at this beauty! Pickled grapes, shallots, micro arugula, cabernet vinegar, and burrata made this one a show-stopper.
Sei Cheese: Get it? It has 6 cheeses. I also love the wine glass prints on the info sheet, but we didn’t award extra points for that.
Taco Pizza: Here’s another excellent taco pizza. GREAT presentation and excellent bake. This was a 96 hour fermented dough. Ballsy!
Micro Greens: I don’t remember the official name of this pizza but I do remember it struck me how popular the lattice pattern is in competition and how pretty the micro greens are… until you slice the pizza. Still, a truly excellent pie!