Cheese and pizza obviously go hand-in-hand, and the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) recently highlighted California cheeses with its latest national competition. In a wide search for the best pizza recipes using Real California Cheese, the organization has crowned three new pizza champions of the 2022 Real California Pizza Contest.
“When the pizza industry is healthy, the California dairy industry is healthy,” John Talbot, CMAB Chief Executive Officer, stated in the release. “As the number one producer of milk and mozzarella, so much of our business goes into pizza, it’s important for California to advance and innovate in the category.”
David Jacobson, Lead Pizzaiolo at Forge Pizza Fire Truck and Fourth Bore Taproom & Grill in the San Francisco Bay Area, was the Grand Prize winner, earning top honors for his pizza recipe, The Gold Rush. According to a press release, Jacobson received $5,000 for winning the category and an additional $10,000 for the grand prize distinction, for a total of $15,000.
Winning the Plant-Forward category was Leah Scurto, Owner of Pizzaleah in Windsor, California, who was spotlighted for her recipe, Spear-it of Spring. For this distinction, the two-time winner took home $5,000.
The Cal-Mex category winner was Marcus Medina, Owner of Hella Pie Pizza Company in Tracy, California. Taking the spotlight with his Cali Craft Chicken Enchilazza pie, Medina earned $5,000 for the winning pizza.
“This year’s contest highlighted several top trends in foodservice. One example is the plant-forward category, where the winning pizza incorporated fresh California produce like asparagus and arugula with herbs and California cheeses,” noted Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant. “The chefs also impressed the judges with the unique fusion of ingredients, such as a pizza topped with ginger and honey to complement a wonderful California soft cheese. Overall, there was an overarching commitment to the creative use of California dairy throughout each recipe.”
The 4th Real California Pizza Contest featured an expert panel of judges who evaluated entries based on taste, texture, and the inventive use of cheeses made with Real California Milk.
To view a full list of the finalists, click here.
Congrats to all of these foodservice experts who took home a well-deserved prize!