Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Wolf Leads the Pack at U.S. Pizza Team's West Coast Trials (With Video)

The People's Choice Award went to Leah Scurto of Pizza My Heart.



 

Michael “The Wolf” Athanasopoulos, owner of the Lamb and the Wolf in Sacramento, California, earned top honors at this year’s West Coast Pizza Trials for the U.S. Pizza Team. Thanks to a pizza featuring three types of sausage and a unique tomato marmalade, Athanasopoulos went home as a champion and the newest USPT member. He also earned a chance to compete in the World Pizza Championship in Italy next spring and won a Food Network Golden Ticket to compete in the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Ala. this fall.

Limited ingredients and cooking methods kept all the competitors thinking outside the box on preparation and execution. The Wolf out-baked the competition with his sausage and pepper pie. Starting with a spicy tomato marmalade base, the pie was topped with green and red peppers sautéed in lemon olive oil. Three types of sausage—a mild, spicy and red wine/rosemary blend—rounded out the flavors. The pizza was finished with the marmalade and cooked in a wood-fired oven at 650°.

Second place went to USPT veteran Michael LaMarca, owner of Master Pizza in Cleveland, Ohio, with his Detroit Rock City pizza. This Detroit-style pizza had a pillowy crust with the distinct crusty caramelization of the cheese around the edges. It was topped with a 50/50 blend of mozzarella and provolone cheese and a housemade red sauce featuring “tomato velvet,” the fleshy skin of the tomato showcasing all the texture, flavor and eye appeal. The Detroit Rock City was finished off with a dusting of Pecorino Romano cheese after the bake.

Bringing in third place was Vincent Rotolo of Evel Pie in Las Vegas, with his Mushroom and portobellos, roasted maitake, shiitake, chanterelle, bunashimeji, baby king oyster and blue foot mushrooms, plus cheese blends consisting of aged Parmesan, a 50/50 mozz blend, shaved truffle caciocavallo, smoked scamorza, fresh smoked mozz and Grand Cru Pecorino with black truffles. The pie also included several different onion types, including Vidalia onions, pearl onions, chopped and caramelized red onions, and deep-fried shallots.

The "Bacon Babe" Jodi Taffel

The West Coast Trials also offered an Iron Chef event voted on by the public. This event let each of the competitors bring their best pie to the table while incorporating a secret ingredient, Black Cherries, and was sponsored by Amarena Toschi Cherries. The People’s Choice Award and second Golden Ticket went to Leah Scurto of Pizza My Heart in the San Francisco Bay area. She created a “Lemon Pie Pizza” using a cream sauce, sliced lemons and Toschi black cherries.

Hosted by Dominic’s Italian Restaurant in Oceanside, California, the event featured celebrity judge Jodi Taffel, the Bacon Babe of the Food Network.

The World Food Championship will be held November 8-14 in Orange Beach, Ala. The Golden Tickets are courtesy of Food Network Judge Jodi Taffel, also known as “The Bacon Babe.” Both winners also received engraved butcher knives sponsored by Gunter Wilhelm.

The 2017 West Coast Pizza Trials are sponsored by Regal Wine Company, Gunter Wilhelm, Young’s Market Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Mission Brewery, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Garage Brewing, Red Oven Artisanal Pizza and Pasta, Wine Warehouse, Jacmar Foodservice Distribution and Dominic’s Italian Restaurant.

The U.S. Pizza Team is sponsored by American Baking Systems, Paradise Tomato Kitchen, Gordon Food Service, Grain Craft, California Milk Advisory Board, La Nova, SoFo Foods, Bag Solutions, Fontanini, Marsal & Sons, Lillsun, Lloyd Pans, Pivetti, Presto, and Univex.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

USPT: Galbani Professionale U.S. Champ David Conti at the World Pizza Championship

David Conti of Red Planet Pizza & BBQ won the Galbani Professionale Cup, and trip to the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy.

The Chef's Corner: Brittany Saxton, 600 Downtown, Bellefontaine, OH.

PMQ's Brian Hernandez talks with Saxton about her journey from pizzeria employee to owner.

The Good Life: Fredi the Pizzaman Lives Out His Pizza Dreams

Providing support for children with autism has also helped Fredi Bello build outsized brand awareness for his five-table pizza restaurant.

Pizza Roots & Routes: Southwest

Pizza TV's Brian Hernandez explores the Southwest region.

The Pizza Kitchen: The Mad Hatter

Pizza TV's Brian Hernandez demonstrates how to make this multi-layered pie full of flavor with a recipe provided by Brittany Saxton of 600 Downtown in Bellafontaine, Ohio.

The Pizza Kitchen: Smokehouse Pizza

(Sponsored Content) Brian Hernandez demonstrates two new topping products from Bonici, courtesy of our friends at Tyson.

Pizza Roots & Routes: Old Forge

Pizza TV's Heather Cray follows the pizza trail to Old Forge, Pennsylvania to dive into this unique and cheesy pie's story.

The Pizza Kitchen: Old Forge Style Pizza

Brian Hernandez demonstrates this Scranton-area tradition from the self-proclaimed "Pizza Capital of the World."

Learn to Throw Dough: Beginner Tricks

Learn to Throw Dough, step by step with Chris Green.

The Pizza Kitchen: The Spicy Italian

Brian Hernandez demonstrates how to make Anthony Spina's "The Spicy Italian."
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags