Culinary Experts to Invade Orlando

American Pizza Championship brings Chefs and Industry Insiders to Orlando

Oxford, Miss. (September 8, 2009) The Orange County Convention Center will be the location for the American Pizza Championship on September 12, 2009. The American Pizza Championship is an open competition hosted by PMQ Pizza Magazine during the annual Orlando Pizza Show (

The American Pizza Championship pins 10 contestants from across the U.S. against each other to see who will make the best pizza. Contestants are allowed to make any style pizza they desire, but it must be made on-site. The winner will represent the United States during the annual international America’s Plate competition held each year in New York.

Three industry experts with a diverse background are being brought in to judge. The first judge is Tony Lagana, owner of Culinary Systems, Inc. He is a 31-year veteran of the foodservice industry. His background includes restaurant design, being the Director of Culinary Development for the 700-unit Red Lobster Chain and holding a senior position in New Concept Development for Kraft Foods. Currently Lagana produces the Menu Innovator, an annual study that predicts future movements in the restaurant industry and owns a Fireside Grill with his wife in Washington D.C. The second judge is Christopher Muller, Ph.D. He is a Professor in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida where he is the Director of the Center for Multi-Unit Restaurant Management. Professor Muller has also been recognized as a Federal witness in precedent setting legal cases on many restaurant issues. The final judge is Matt McClellen, owner of Tour de Pizza in St. Petersburg, Florida. McClellen just finished a 30-day pizza diet during which he ate nothing but pizza. He lost 24 pounds and lowered his bad cholesterol; he has decided to continue the diet with the help of trainers and doctors and this day of culinary judging will be the most pizza he’s eaten in a sitting since the start of his pizza diet.

The 10 contestants competing come from as far away as Ohio, New York, and Texas and as close as Jacksonville and Miami. A full list of competitors can be found at

About PMQ Pizza Magazine

In publication for twelve years, PMQ Pizza Magazine reaches 40,000 owner/operators of America’s 70,000 pizzerias.

In the 36 billion dollar pizza industry, PMQ is the business monthly with the busiest website hosting

5,000 Web visitors each day at, and 10,000 newsletter subscribers each week.