There was double-trouble in the Windy City as an unprecedented tie for first occurred among the 23 pizza masters vying for the U.S. Pizza Cup. Pizza makers from all across the nation met and advanced the art of pizza in this U.S. Pizza Team sanctioned event, held at the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy outside Chicago, Illinois.
All were competing for the top prize of a premier membership in the U.S. Pizza Team for one year and a trip to compete in the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy, in 2019.
The Classico division saw an unprecedented tie for first place, resulting in both winners going to Italy in 2019. Veteran Ali Haider of 786°, located in Sun Valley, Calif., was awarded first place for his “Bulgogi Gangnam Style” pizza topped with SuKorean, pear-marinated BBQ beef, mushrooms, spinach, Rakkyo
onions, roasted sesame seeds, and fresh Galbani cheese. Gianni Gallucci of Chicago, Ill. earned a trip to Parma as well with his traditional Pizza Napoletana STG baked in the wood-fired oven.
Dave Sommers of Mad Mushroom in West Lafayette, Ind. took a hard-earned second place. Third place,
by mere points, was Leonardo Giordano of Mona Lisa Pizza in Staten Island, N.Y.
The U.S. Pizza Team competes all year round in various trials across the country in anticipation of the
World Pizza Championship. The U.S. Pizza Cup is designed to mimic the Italian event to better prepare
the competitors. Winners of each trial in the United States win a trip to the World Pizza Championship.
The U.S. Pizza Team is sponsored by Molini Spigadoro, Grain Craft, Ferrarelle, Real California Milk,
Gordon Food Service, LaNova, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, MFG Tray, Burkett Restaurant Equipment and
Supplies, Bag Solutions, Fontanini Meats, Lillsun, Univex, Presto Foods, Pivetti, and Lloyd Pans.