The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has launched the 2020 Real California Pizza Contest, its second annual search for the best pizza recipes using Real California Cheese. The contest, which will award prizes totaling $29,500 for the most innovative uses of cow’s milk cheeses from California, is open to professional chefs and culinary students throughout the U.S.

From March 1 through April 24, participants can enter recipes in three categories: Cal-Mex, the REAL California and Plant-Forward. Cal-Mex means recipes fusing flavors from California and Mexican cuisines, featuring Hispanic-style cheeses. The REAL California will incorporate ideas inspired by the Golden State that showcase California cheese and toppings. Plant-Forward pizza recipes will emphasize the delicious flavor combinations of fruits, veggies and Real California Cheese.

Related: Denver chef wins $15,000 in 2019 Real California Pizza Contest

“We appreciate the innovative thinking culinary professionals bring to their craft,” said CMAB Business and Market Development Consultant Mike Gallagher. “Categories this year have evolved to capture chefs’ creativity surrounding the latest food trends–plant-forward ingredients and Cal-Mex flavors. We are also excited to broaden our geographic reach, inviting the champion of the most recent CMAB-sponsored Campeonato Mexicano de la Pizza to compete in the final round.”

Chefs wishing to submit a recipe can review the requirements and complete the entry at In addition to the recipe, contestants are asked to submit a short essay or video describing the personal and professional inspiration behind each entry. Entry submissions close on April 24, 2020.

Twelve finalists will be selected by a professional panel of judges to compete in a bake-off on June 18, 2020, at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, Calif. All finalists will win a cash prize. Finalists who are not category winners will receive $500 each. The winners in each category will be awarded $5,000, and the best overall pizza recipe creator will receive an additional $10,000 grand prize award.

Interested chefs and culinary students can choose from more than 250 varieties and styles of cheeses that carry the Real California Milk seal, which means they are made with milk from California’s more than 1,200 family dairy farms. For a list of qualifying cheeses and cheesemakers, contest rules and to enter online, visit

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