2022 Real California Pizza Contest Kicks Off March 1

Pizzaioli and chefs from across the U.S. are invited to compete to win up to $30,000 in cash prizes in the fourth annual competition.

  • Entries in the Real California Pizza Contest must showcase California dairy cheeses as central ingredients.
  • The top entries will be selected for the bake-off final, which takes place June 22 in Napa, California.

Related: Spencer Glenn wins grand prize of $20,000 in 2021 Real California Pizza Contest

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) will kick off its fourth annual Real California Pizza Contest on March 1, along with its CADairy2Go competition and a new culinary event focused on Cal-Mex.

For the Real California Pizza Contest, professional chefs and pizzaioli from across the U.S. can submit their innovative recipes from March 1 through April 24. All recipes must feature cow’s milk cheese from California. The top entries will be selected for the bake-off final, to be held on June 22 in Napa, California, with up to $30,000 in prize money at stake.

Spencer Glenn of Pizza My Heart, located in Pacific Grove, California, earned the 2021 grand prize for his Life Is Gourd pie, representing the Plant-Forward category. It featured a California Asiago/Romano blend, Toma and mozzarella, plus fried baby sage leaves, pomegranate arils and pistachios.

The CADairy2Go Invitational is inspired by chefs and foodservice operators who made quick, creative pivots to adjust their menus for the takeout and delivery model during the pandemic. Now in its second year, the event will feature culinary professionals representing a variety of foodservice backgrounds, such as major restaurant chains, independent restaurants, ghost kitchens and food trucks, who will gather in October to compete for a chance to win up to $5,000 for their innovative to-go recipes.

The inaugural Cal-Mex Invitational, scheduled for August, captures creations from chefs who specialize in the culinary and flavor fusion of California and Mexican cuisines.

“Cheese is at the heart of culinary innovation—from creative pizzas to flavorful to-go and fusion dishes,” said Mike Gallagher, business and market development consultant for the CMAB. “As the leading producer of Hispanic-style cheese and dairy products, we’re excited to add the Cal-Mex Invitational to our foodservice outreach program and to see what the chefs develop.”

“These competitions offer a tremendous opportunity to partner with culinary professionals to spotlight their creativity using our sustainably sourced Real California dairy products,” Gallagher added.

California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts an impressive lineup of award-winning cheesemakers and dairy processors that are helping to drive dining innovation.

California leads the nation in milk production and is responsible for producing more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.