Orlando, Fla.—In the first-ever gluten free pizza competition, nine of America’s top pizza makers showed up to battle for the first place gluten free pizza peel trophy, bragging rights and a coveted spot on the U.S. Pizza Team. But, it was Patrick Maggi of Pasquale’s Deli (pasqualesdeli.com) in Damascus, Maryland, who was named America’s best gluten free pizza maker. The event was hosted by PMQ Pizza Magazine (PMQ.com) during the seventh annual Orlando Pizza Show (OrlandoPizzaShow.com) on September 12.
Maggi, who placed second in the 2009 American Pizza Championship, barely missing a spot on the team, baked a pizza topped with five different types of mushrooms blended in a white wine sauce, goat cheese, spinach, mozzarella and red onion. Pizza Team veteran Michael Amheiser, of Pizza Dock in Fredericktown, Ohio, took the second spot with a meatball-covered deep dish pie and Jason Samosky of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria (samoskyspizza.com) in Valley City, Ohio, took third place with a Thai Green Curry Pizza topped with peanut butter tamari, Thai green curry paste and pineapple.
Judges for the event included Frank Baldassare of “The Missing Ingredient,” a web-series dedicated to gluten free cooking, Julie Kincart of the Celiac Disease Foundation’s Lakeland, Florida support group, Carolyn Vanderzyden of the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness
and Chef Michael Bersell, a culinary director who oversees more than 200 restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And Kelly Dial, a talented Sous Chef who has a gluten free palate.