The Largest U.S. Pizza-Making Competition
Pizza Makers Vie for Prizes in Five Divisions
Since its inception in 2007, the International Pizza Challenge™ has evolved and grown in stature and prize money to become the best pizza-making competition in North America. There are now five divisions in the pizza bake-off attracting approximately 200 pizzaioli. They bake a pie from their pizza menu on the spot at Pizza Expo and present it to a panel of judges, with cash prizes and plaques going to the winners. The five divisions include Traditional, Non-Traditional, Pan, Pizza Napoletana and Gluten-Free.
The bake-offs run Tuesday through Thursday at Pizza Expo. A maximum of 60 entries are accepted in the Traditional and Non-Traditional divisions; contestants are capped at 30 in the Pan, Pizza Napoletana and Gluten-Free divisions. The top four preliminary-round scores from the Traditional and Non-Traditional fields advance to the division finals on Thursday. After winners are named in those divisional finals, the two top finishers in Traditional and Non-Traditional face off against the highest scorers from the Pan and Pizza Napoletana divisions in a mystery-ingredient bake-off for Pizza Maker of the Year. The winning pizzaiolo selected by the judges receives $5,000 and a trophy to add to earnings of either $4,000 (if he or she advanced through Pan or Pizza Napoletana) or $7,500 (through Traditional or Non-Traditional). All top finishers claim bragging rights for their pizza marketing campaigns.
A “Best of the Best” bake-off is held Thursday as well, featuring past champions in a blind-box event. The four competitors must use all of the ingredients in the blind box revealed to them just before bake time, plus ingredients from a common table.
Contestants bring their own ingredients. Show management provides refrigeration space, equipment and ovens. Judging panels are composed of impartial chefs, food critics and others from the pizzeria industry, and they score each pie using the following criteria:
Taste is scored on:
- Sauce, Cheese, Toppings
- Overall Taste
- Creativity (Non-Traditional and American-Pan divisions only)
Visual Presentation / Appearance is scored on:
- Visual Presentation
Tuesday, March 28
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Traditional Division Prelims
10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Pizza Napoletana Competition and Finals
Wednesday, March 29
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Non-Traditional Division Prelims
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Pan Division Competition and Finals (Day 1)
Thursday, March 30
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Gluten-Free Division Competition and Finals
10 a.m. – noon
Pan Division Competition and Finals (Day 2)
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Traditional and Non-Traditional Division Finals
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
“Best of the Best” Bake-Off
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Pizza Maker of the Year Bake-Off
NOTE: You must register as an attendee before you can enter the Pizza Challenge. Registration for Challenge events may be completed online while you register.
View the International Pizza Challenge rules.
2016 Traditional Division Regional Winners:
- Northeast: Nino Coniglio, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn, NY
- Southeast: Jane Mines, Nima’s Pizza, Gassville, AR
- Midwest: Joey Neidel, Tusconos, Buckner, MO
- Northwest: Michael Rutledge, Farrelli’s, Tacoma, WA
- Southwest: Daniel Saccone, Saccone’s Pizza & Sub, Austin, TX
- International: Giuseppe Marcuccilli, Pizzeria la Magnolia, Roccasecca, Italy
2016 Traditional Division Finals:
1st: Nino Coniglio, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn, NY
2nd: John Vigliotti, Peppino’s, Syracuse, NY
3rd: Jane Mines, Nima’s Pizza, Gassville, AR
2016 Non-Traditional Division Winners:
- Northeast: Andrew Scudera, Goodfella’s, Staten Island, NY
- Southeast: Brian Hall, Tony Boombozz Pizzeria, Louisville, KY
- Midwest: Brad Corbin, Sloppy’s Sports Cafe, Lakeside, OH
- Northwest: Alec Henrickson, Pompeii Pizzeria, Elk River, MN
- Southwest: Matt Hutchinson, Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana, Houston, TX
- International: Isaac Macdougall, Pizzeria Defina, Toronto, ON
2016 Non-Traditional Division Finals:
1st: Brian Hall, Tony Boombozz Pizzeria, Louisville, KY
2nd: Louie Bossi, Louie Bossi’s, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
3rd: Andrew Scudera, Goodfella’s, Staten Island, NY
2016 Pan Division Winners:
1st: Eric Von Hansen, Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse, Pittsburgh, PA
2nd: Massimo Mannino, Marabella, Washington, NC
3rd: Tony Ganesh, Panino’s Pizzeria, Park Ridge, IL
2016 Pizza Napoletana Division Winners:
1st: Cuono Pannella, Pizzeria da Nino, Acerra, Italy
2nd: Gazmir Zeneli, Rossopomodoro, Brooklyn, NY
3rd (tie): Vito Iacopelli, Provo The Art of Pizza, West Hollywood, CA
Gennaro Russo, Dal Presidente, Napoli, Italy
2016 Gluten-Free Division Winners:
1st: Victoria Wolf, Denver, CO
2nd: Giuseppe Lucia, Zio Giglio, Lecce, Italy
3rd: Frank Baird, Franco’s Pizza, Chardon, OH
2016 Best of the Best Champion: Matt Molina, Capo’s, San Francisco, CA
2016 Pizza Maker of the Year Champion: Nino Coniglio, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn, NY