Chefs, judges and visitors alike got hot under the collar as the ovens were fired up, dough rolled out and toppings distributed at the National Pizza Awards yesterday. The real heat however, was felt by all of the contestants, on what set out to be an exciting, yet nerve wracking battle to claim the National Pizza Awards. The event took place at the Metalworks, Islington. A fantastic venue, open air in parts, which really lends itself to the competition, especially considering the fact the pizza ovens were blasting for a large portion of the day. As sponsors of the event, we were given the arduous task of sitting on the technical judge’s panel. A challenge to say the least for our sale team, Matt Dawes and Jamie Parker. Both donned their elasticated waist trousers and headed to the event early on Tuesday morning. What is the National Pizza Awards? Launched by Casual Dining Magazine in 2016, the event seeks to find the best pizza from chefs in the quick service, casual dining, pub, bar and hotel industries. There are three trophies awarded, The Technical Pizza, The Pizza Chef of the Year & The National Pizza of the Year. The winners receive a £1000 prize, but most importantly, industry recognition and acclaim for their restaurant.
How are the pizzas judged?
There are two rounds that each chef must compete in; The technical challenge, during which the contestants are given a few prescribed ingredients with the addition of two ingredients of their choosing. The Signature Pizza round; the contestants must put forward their signature pizza, what they consider to be the best of the best. During each round they are judged on;
- How well the base/pizza is made
- The Flavour profile
- How well the pizza is cooked
- Aesthetic and presentation
- Texture, quality and consistency
- Choice and use of ingredients
And the winner is…During the competition, Matt and Jamie got the chance to have a chat with the contestants and discover why they entered the awards and what it would mean to win. It was clear that the competition meant a lot each and every contestant. This was evident, purely based on the nerves in the room ahead of the cook offs. They were all serious and passionate about their craft. Some contestants had competed the year before and enjoyed the industry recognition and acclaim it had brought them.
And so, without further ado, here are the winners;
- The Technical Pizza winner was Glenn Evans from Las Iguanas
- The Pizza Chef of the year was Alessio Alcini of the Fountain and Ink
- The National Pizza of the year was ‘Di Bosco’ by Nicola Rexha of Pappa Roma Restaurant