Chefs compete to win a professional pizza course at the Accademia Pizzaioli in Italy
The Arla Mozzarella Malta Pizza Challenge is the first of its kind in Malta, seeking to award the top pizzaiolo on the Maltese Islands by bringing together over 25 chefs to compete in a culinary showdown of technique, skill, style and creativity.
The competition, consisting a junior group and a separate group for professionals, took place between the 29th and 31st May at Melita Gardens in Balzan.
Contestants were given 30 minutes to impress the judges with 4 pizzas each: a classica, a calzone, a focaccia and a mystery pizza. The mystery pizza provided contestants with the opportunity to combine the traditional principles of pizza baking with their own creative taste combinations.
International judges Mr. Adriano Tona (Accademia Pizzaioli), Mr. Tomasso Ruggieri (Head Chef Menu Srl) and Mr. Jeppe Gammelby (Arla Foods amba) critically evaluated and scored each step in the pizza making process. This entailed the preparation, baking, taste and visual presentation of the pizzas. The overall hygiene of the contestants’ workstations was also evaluated.
Matthew Faenza received the award for the Most Promising Pizzaiolo in the junior group, which was made up entirely of ITS students. Following in second place was Chloe Crossly and in third place Luke Ellul.
Giuseppe De Luca was proven to be the true champion of the day. Not only did he take home the title of the Top Pizzaiolo in the professionals group, but also claimed 2nd place for his Classica, Focaccia and Mystery Pizza. The win entitled Giuseppe De Luca to the grand prize of a professional pizza course at the acclaimed Accademia Pizzaioli in Italy, including flights and accommodation. The runner up, Isaac Cocker, also claimed first prize for his Classica and Dennis Buttigieg, the 2nd runner up, for his Mystery Pizza.
Speaking at the end of the event, Antoinette Stellini, Director of Sales at AppleCore Foods said “We’re glad that this first edition of the Arla Mozzarella Malta Pizza Challenge has been an all-round success, giving local pizzaioli the opportunity to compete in a professional competition. Following the encouraging feedback we received, we plan to host the challenge as a national annual calendar event. We invite all chefs, aspiring or professional to participate.”
The next challenge will take place in the last week of May 2016. All proceeds from the entrance fees for this event are being donated to Puttinu Cares.