Report from Atlantic City, Part Two
Last week I was waiting for the final, amended results for the Caputo Cup Pizza Competition and, at last here, here they are:
Caputo Cup 2017 Pizza Championship
Traditional Pizzas (NY Style, no more than two toppings)
1st – Derek Sanchez of Mia Marco’s Pizza (Selma, TX)
2nd (tie) – Allen Raymond of That’s Some Pizza (Bainbridge Island, WA)
2nd (tie) – Michael Ricca of Ricca Brothers Brick Oven Pizzeria & Bar (Hammonton, NJ)
3rd – Mario Mazzuca of Marcella’s (Mullica Hill, NJ)
Non-Traditional Winners (Anything goes)
1st – Will Grant of That’s A Some Pizza (Bainbridge Island, WA)
2nd – Shawn Scoyni of Downtown Cafe, (Glen Cove, NY)
3rd – Jason LaFerrera of Pizzeria LaFerrera (Brooklyn, NY)
STG/ Napoletana Winners (Wood-fired, classic Naples-style)
1st – Gianni Gallucci of Zero Ottantuno (Chicago)
2nd – Mirko D’Agata of Pizzeria No 900 (Montreal)
3rd – Salvatore Carollo of Spuntino Pizza (Philadelphia)
1st – Ryan Banda of Flour & Barley (Las Vegas, NV)
2nd – Chris Affrunti of King Umberto (Elmont, NY)
3rd (tie) – R.C. Gallegos of RC’s NYC Pizza and Pasta (Kingwood, TX)
3rd (tie) – Vincent Rotolo (Las Vegas, NV)
Caputo Cup Rising Star: Scott Volpe of Fiamma Pizza (Tucson, AZ)
For more about the Pizza and Pasta Northeast Expo, including winners of the Barilla Northeast Pasta Competition, click here.
As for the rest of the Expo, I had a great time, first as a judge in the non-traditional category (so much pizza — over 30 entries — with so many variations and creative toppings, yet the winner, by Will Grant, was one of the simplest, with a restrained amount of toppings, including a light gorgonzola dressing, a mozzarella/provolone cheese blend, a touch of pine nuts, red onions, and mushrooms, with a little feta sprinkled on after it came out of the oven. But, most importantly, it had a superb naturally leavened crust — I think the crust was the real difference maker and what won him the title; I’ll see if we can get him to write about it here in a future post).
I also had the rare opportunity of interviewing Joe Beddia on the stage for an hour — see our earlier Pizza Quest interview with Joe by clicking here
On the second day I moderated an excellent presentation on “The Future of Pasta,” with chefs Hari Cameron (aMuse, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as well as his new grandpa MAC, a fast casual concept); Antimo DiMeo, chef at Arde’ Ostria, in Wayne, PA, and Lorenzo Boni, the Executive Chef for Barilla America. Some of the main takeaways for me from this panel were the increased interest in heritage and ancient grain wheat (such as khorasan/kamut, spelt, and emmer); growing support for sustainable wheat farming methods; the message that eating pasta need not need be fattening; the increased use of non-wheat grains and gluten-free sauces; and the growing trend toward casual, fun dining venues, which take their cues from high end, fine dining restaurants and then filter down into less intimidating, more casual settings.
The nice thing about the Atlantic City Expo is that it gave equal space to the pasta segment of the industry, so it brought in a very diverse crowd of restaurant owners, ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers, sales and marketing experts, and, of course, a full array of pizza and pasta superstars like Tony Gemignani, Jonathan Goldsmith, Paulie Gee, John Arena, and many others.
For me, personally, a major highlight of the Expo was seeing “Roman-style” pizzaiolo Massimilano Saieva at work. He made countless variations of his pizza al taglio pies — long, focaccia-like pan pizzas with gorgeous toppings and crisp yet lighter than air crust made with a wet dough (85% hydration) and a 90 hour fermentation. Clearly, this will be one of the big, upcoming trends in pizza and, as Massimiliano trains others in this method, made so popular in Rome by Gabrielle Bonci, I predict you will see more and more restaurants and pizzerias built around this style. To see a video of Massimiliano at work, click here.
I didn’t get to talk with Massimiliano, because he was so focused on making pizzas for the two days of the Expo, but I plan to track him down and see if he will let me interview him here on our pages. It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that the future of pizza will include a whole new generation of pan pizzas, and I’ll be tracking it all right here, so stay tuned….
Pizza Quest Info
Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.
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