Contest to add pizzazz to pizza, ice cream expo

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The annual two-day North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show kicks off Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The article said: Now in its fourth year, the show provides a look at new products, equipment and ideas for owners, managers and operators of restaurants that offer pizza or ice cream. About 4,500 owners and operators are expected to attend. There will be plenty of seminars as well as 250 exhibitors, making it one of the nation’s largest pizza shows.

The article said: The centerpiece is the 12th annual North American Pizza Pizzazz competition, which has two categories, gourmet and traditional. Each winner gets $5,000.

The event was critical six years ago for Jodi Aufdencamp, who, with her husband, Jeff, owns Mama Mimi’s Take-and-Bake Pizza, which now has four outlets. In 2000, they opened their first pizza shop.

The article said: “To say the first year in business was a struggle would be an understatement,” Aufdencamp said. They often lived for days at the first store.

After winning the Pizzazz in 2001, they gained customers and positive reviews from food critics. They went on to compete in several events since then to help their business and are now going to be the American entry in the third annual Italian Chefs Wars at this year’s expo, March 20-22.

The article said: “It was not until we won the national Pizza Pizzazz competition at the North American pizza show in 2001 that people started to take notice of our concept and our product,” she said.