As three days of the New York Pizza Showcase wrapped up in New York City on March 2, winners from across the country and across the seas walked away with trophies and medals as proof of their dough and culinary skills.
The contests kicked off Sunday night with the America’s Plate, held off site this year at Slice (sliceperfect.com) in the West Village, owned by twin sisters Miki and Radha Agrawal. Four contestants from four different countries competed to prove that they could make the best pizza. In addition to a People’s Choice category, on hand to judge were John Arena, co-owner, Metro Pizza, Vegas, and pizza expert/aficionado; Pete Genovese, food writer for the New Jersey Star Ledger and recently back from a whirlwind tour of NJ pizzerias; and Tony Muia, owner/tour guide for A Slice of Brooklyn, a guided bus tour of Brooklyn’s unique neighborhoods and pizzerias.
In the end it was Giulio Adriani from Italy who took home the coveted America’s Plate for his Napoletan Silver pizza using a Sicilian broccoli cream base made with ricotta cheese, buffalo smoked mozzarella medallions topped with Napoletan friarelli, Italian-made salsicce, lardo and edible silver.
America’s Plate Final Results
1st Place (212 points) – Italy – Giulio Adriani, Alla Corte Del Borboni, Rome
2nd Place (205 points) – America – Steve Lieber, Racks Italian Kitchen, N. Miami Beach, FL
3rd Place (173 points) – Finland – Kati Bergman, Koti Pizza, Kirkkomummi
4th Place (159 points) – Australia – Brandon Farrell, Stones Pizza, North Perth
On Monday, the contests continued with a day long battle to win a place on the U.S. Pizza Team and a trip to Paris. Events in the U.S. Pizza Team trials included Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pizza Maker and Freestyle Acrobatics with 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners in each category. The winner of the Triathlon participated in all three events and scored the highest overall, earning him a spot on the team and a trip to compete in Paris.
This year’s Triathlon winner was Hakki Akdeniz. Hakki, who is originally from Turkey, has lived in New York since 2001 and tried out for the team in 2005 after a chance meeting with PMQ publisher Steve Green. He’s competed every year since, and finally earned his spot on the team this weekend. “It was worth the hard work,” said Hakki, who owns a store aptly named World Pizza Champion.
U.S. Pizza Team Trials Final Results
Triathlon Winner – Hakki Akdeniz, World Pizza Champion, New York, NY
Largest Dough Stretch
1st Place – 31.125 inches – Wilhelm Rodriguez Flores, Papa’s Pizza, Puerto Rico
2nd Place – 29.625 inches – Nino Coniglio, Pizzeria del Corso, Brooklyn, NY
3rd Place – 27.625 inches – Hakki Akdeniz, World Pizza Champion, NY, NY
4th Place – 25.125 inches – Pasquale “Pat” Turano, Angelo’s Italian Kitchen, Fairlawn, NJ
Fastest Pizza Maker
1st Place – 1 min. 19 sec. – Hakki Akdeniz, World Pizza Champion, NY, NY
2nd Place – 1 min. 33 sec. – Wilhelm Rodriguez Flores, Papa’s Pizza, Puerto Rico
3rd Place – 1 min. 48 sec. – Nino Coniglio, Pizzeria Del Corso, Brooklyn, NY
4th Place – 1:50 – Robert Priskie, Pakula’s Pizza, New City, NY
1st Place – Hakki Akdeniz, World Pizza Champion, NY, NY
2nd Place – Nino Coniglio, Pizzeria Del Corso, Brooklyn, NY
3rd Place – Wilhelm Rodriguez Flores, Papa’s Pizza, Puerto Rico