Groupon U.S. Pizza Team Enjoys Chinese Adventure

Four members of the GrouponU.S. Pizza Team competed and learned from their Chinese contemporaries at the 10th annual Chinese Pizza Championship in Shanghai, China, Nov. 11 & 12. Jane Mines, co-owner of Nima's Pizza in Gasseville, Arkansas, took secondplace with her pepperoni and mushroom pizza with a twist. The mushroom caps in Mines' entry wererimmed with a hickory-smoked sea salt.The pizza featuresa formed blooming rose made out of pepperoni.

Rick Mines, Jane's husband, also competed and tied for thirdplace with two other USPT members with a pizza topped with roasted red peppers sautéed in Tuscan herb olive oil and sliced chorizo sausage. The peppers were formed into a cherrypie-like latticework. Michael LaMarca of Master Pizza, Cleveland, OH.

Dave Sommers of Mad Mushroom in West Lafayette, IN. was the second third place tie,impressingthe judges with his pizzafeaturing creamy Gorgonzola fondue sauce, roasted asparagus and pan-seared beef tenderloin.

And finally , Michael LaMarca of Master Pizza in Cleveland, OH. rounded out the third place trio with his award winning Orange Crush pie, made with a base of orange zest oil, topped with parmesan, asiago, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, as well as honey-cured bacon, dried cranberries, arugula, sliced oranges and tomatoes, candied pecans and fried orange peels.

The event attracts pizzaioloifrom all over China and around the world. This is the first time the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team has been invited to compete on the Chinese world stage. The international pizza exhibition also attractedglobalfood agenciesincluding recently merged Kraft and Heinz and the California Milk Advisory Board represented by Mark Todd, the notorious "Cheese Dude."

The Groupon U.S. Pizza Team members along with staff members from event sponsor PMQ Pizza Magazine toured Shanghai, known as China's"Food City," took a riverboat cruise, ate at authentic Chinese restaurants and sampled Chinese delicaciessuch as crispy duck skin and bowls of boiled frogs with chili peppers. The American competitors watched theirChinese counterparts build pizza with duck eggs, bamboo shoots, and pickles.

The American competitors helped the Chinese piece together the largest pizza in China as seen above.

PMQ Publisher Steve Green was invited on stage spontaneously to take part in a pizza panel discussion.

The U.S. Pizza Team cruised the Pearl River admiring the Shanghai skyline as one of their team excursions .