Pizza Without Borders - Competition Heats Up in the Eastern Bloc

As more pizza competitions and associations pop up in Russia, Bulgaria and Poland, the quality of pizza and prestige of the pizzaiolo continues to rise.



 

Pizza Competitions for Everyone

Kazan, Russia

“Pizza competitions should be free and open to everyone,” says Arkadiy Gritsevskiy, president of the Russian Freestyle Pizza Federation and multi-restaurant owner. Gritsevskiy organized the first pizza competition at the Kazan HoReCa show this year based on this altruistic philosophy. Sponsors and government subsidies enabled his federation to waive competition fees and bring in international judges (including myself) to the Kazan HoReCa show. Guests from abroad received top-notch hospitality day and night, including luxury car transport and personal translators. The competition, a first for the federation, was small but successful, with top honors in both Freestyle Acrobatics and Classica going to Fedor Titenko from La Famiglia restaurant in Kazan. 

Click Here to see Missy Green's video take on Kazan pizza making.

 

PMQ Russia Engages the Industry

Moscow, Russia 

Vladimir Davydov, publisher of PMQ’s independent magazine partner in Russia, teamed up with the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli Russia to produce the Russian Pizza Championships again this year at the 20th annual PIR Expo. The competition was modeled after the World Pizza Championships (WPC) in Parma and included seven categories: Classica, Pizza Pala, Pizza Teglia, Pizza a Due, Freestyle Acrobatics and Fastest Pizza Maker.

Maria Beknazarova, who works at Scrocchiarella in Moscow, claimed first place in Classica, which qualified her to compete with the Russian Pizza Team at next spring’s WPC event in Italy. 

Davydov’s magazine is also holding bimonthly conferences to educate the pizza market. The conferences feature speakers from the country’s manufacturers and distributors along with tastings and demonstrations of vendors’ products. In November, they ramped up the excitement by adding pizza eating contests, including a fastest eating category and a challenge involving spicy pizzas dressed with Tabasco sauce.

 

The Bulgarian Association of Pizzaioli  

Sofia, Bulgaria 

The International Pizza Championships, organized by the Bulgarian Association of Pizzaioli, took place at Interfood & Drink, the biggest hospitality show in Bulgaria. The competition welcomed judges from five countries: Russia, Poland, the United States, Greece and Italy. Radostin Kiryazov and Anatolii Kolev, the association’s organizers and founders, are culinary teachers at Metro Academy in Sofia.

The Expo was also the launching point for Kiryazov’s new recipe book, Pane Pizza e Passione. Kiryazov says he has made it his mission to bring pizza to the next level in Bulgaria. “There are a lot of Italians in Bulgaria due to the fashion industry and low taxes,” says Kiryazov. “But it’s not until the last seven or eight years that the quality of pizza has improved, as well as access to classes and information.”

First-place winners in the Bulgarian contest came from Italy (Giordano Valentini) and London (Osama Sraidi), while several from Poland also took home prizes. Marcin Kozłowski, Polish pizza judge and a distributor of Italian food in Poland, brought over the competitors from Poland and says he plans to form a pizza association there, too.   

PMQ's Missy Green takes a closer look at Bulgarian pizza in this video.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Cauliflower and Prosciutto Pizza

Polly-O crafts a flavorful treat with this pie featuring roasted cauliflower, prosciutto, garlic and Parmesan

The Chef's Corner: Scott Wiener Q&A

PMQ test chef Brian Hernandez discusses the ins and outs of Scott Wiener's pizza tours, his experience with the pizza industry, and what's next for the pizza-crazed entrepreneur.

From the Editor - A New Year and a New Look For PMQ

This month we focus on the explosive growth of Artichoke Basille and roll out a new look for the magazine!

Product Spotlight: January-February 2018

Dough trays, tomato strips, yeast, menus, ovens and more.

Extra! Extra! Read all about the Pizza Press, a unique fast-casual chain in Southern California

At the Pizza Press, pizza makers are the “editors” and customers get to “publish” the pie of their choice.

Take a hike: How to cope with a higher minimum wage

A pizzeria owner in Washington state offers a four-pronged strategy for staying profitable in an era of rising labor costs.

10 tips for adding a take-and-bake option

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann walks you through the steps for modifying your dough formula and procedure.

The Chef’s Corner: Scott Wiener and the Mo-Heato

The popular owner of Scott’s Pizza Tours isn’t a professional chef, but this recipe will make you think otherwise.

All ‘Choked Up: How a couple of East Village pizza guys became Food Network stars

Artichoke Basille’s has boomed from a shoebox-size Manhattan underdog to a 12-store media magnet—and now sets its sights on franchising.

Get off to a successful start in 2018 with a social media calendar

Social media success hinges on knowing what you’re going to post and studying the data to improve your content every day
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags