2024 REAL CALIFORNIA PIZZA CONTEST

BECOME A 2024 REAL CALIFORNIA PIZZA CHAMPION

The California Milk Advisory Board is seeking America’s best professional chefs and most promising culinary students to create innovative pizzas in two categories: Protein and Produce. And the chance to participate in a new team competition at the finalist bake-off event.

The entry submission period is now OFFICIALLY CLOSED.
In early June, the CMAB will be announcing the finalists who will compete in the August 7 cook off. Thank you to all who entered.

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Cmab Rcpc Prize Money Circle
Cmab Rcpc New Circle

CATEGORIES

Category Photo Protein

PROTEIN

A pizza recipe that features your creativity in perfectly pairing one to three meats with Real California Mozzarella and other Real California Cheeses. Pepperoni and sausage may be already America’s favorite pizzas. And of course, you can include them but there are a lot of other hearty combinations out there.

Category Photo Produce

PRODUCE

A pizza recipe that features your innovation using the fresh flavors from one to three plants, fruits, nuts, beans or legumes, creatively combined with Real California Mozzarella and other Real California Cheeses. Plant forward should be the theme of your produce-centric creation.

For a list of the more than 250 varieties and style of Real California Cheese and the approved brands that produce them, please refer to the California Cheesemaker list.

CONTEST DETAILS

JUDGING

Judged by a panel of professional chefs and international culinary experts, the 8 named finalists will prepare their creations on Wednesday, August 7, 2024, at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, California.  All finalists win a cash prize. Finalists who are not category winners will receive $750 each. Category winners will each receive $7,500. Team bake-off winners will share $7,500.

Chefs can choose from a selection of more than 250 varieties and styles of award-winning Real California Cheese to create the most innovative, interesting and inspiring recipes! Refer to https://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/cheese-makers for approved Real California Cheese brands and varieties.

ELIGIBILITY

The contest is open for recipe submissions from March 18, 2024 through May 17, 2024. Eligible entrants are:

  • Professional restaurant and pizzeria pizza chefs from anywhere in the United States
  • Culinary students from accredited U.S.-based culinary schools
Miscellaneous 66 final

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • Pizza Name & Photograph(s) – an engaging name with 1-2 photos of it prepared and baked, based on the recipe
  • Recipe – specific ingredients including brands and varieties of Real California Cheese as well as preparation and baking instructions for the recipe. 
    Note:  All recipes must include California Mozzarella, plus up to three (3) additional California Cheeses, and have no more than three (3) toppings (crust/dough, sauce, and spices do not count as toppings).
  • Pizza Description – How would you describe this pizza on a menu? Write a 2-3 sentence description capturing the flavors, style, etc.

Review Real California Pizza Contest Official Rules for complete details.

FORMAT

There will be two rounds to the Real California Pizza Contest.

PRELIMINARY ROUND
All entries will be scored by an esteemed panel of champion pizza chefs, with the top four entries per category advancing to the final round. Judging criteria includes:

  • Use of Real California Cheese – 35%
  • Flavor Expectations – 35%
  • Pizza Name & Description – 15%
  • Photographs – 15%

FINAL ROUND
The eight selected finalists – four in each category – will compete for $28,500 in the live bake-off event at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia facility in Napa, California on Wednesday, August 7, 2024.

The pizzas will be tasted and scored by our esteemed panel of champion pizza chefs. A single chef in each category, Protein and Produce, will be selected as the Category Winner. Following the main competition, the eight chefs will then compete in a separate Three-Cheese pizza bake-off, where they will be randomly paired and charged with crafting a signature pizza. Those four pizzas will be tasted and scored by the judges and a winning team chosen.

THREE-CHEESE TEAM BAKE-OFF

A signature pizza crafted by teams selected from category finalists that features up to three cheeses made from Real California Milk. These recipes will emphasize Real California Mozzarella and the wide variety of other Real California Cheese available to chefs around the country.

Cmab Rcpc Prize Money Circle

Category Winners:
$7,500 each

Winning Team:
$7,500

Remaining Finalists:
$750 each

JUDGES

Judge Tony

Tony GEMIGNANI

Tony Gemignani has had a passion for the pizza industry since 1991. His humble beginnings began at his brother’s acclaimed Pyzano’s Pizzeria in Castro Valley. Fresh out of high school, Tony took on the task of a pizza thrower and soon began entertaining the restaurant crowds with his wily tricks. A few years later, he entered into his first pizza throwing competition in Las Vegas and quickly became the top pizza thrower in the world.

Since his days at his brother’s pizzeria, Gemignani has received a number of accolades for his impressive pizza making and throwing skills. He is president of the World Pizza Champions; the first and only Triple Crown winner for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Lecce, Italy; and, his most prestigious title to date, the 2007 World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, where he was the first American and non-Neapolitan victor. He has appeared on popular shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and is a regular on Food Network. Gemignani also received his Master credentials from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli and is the proprietor of the International School of Pizza where he certifies chefs from around the world. His most impressive accolade to date is being named the official U.S. Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizza by the city of Naples, a prestigious title only given to three people in the entire world. In 2011 and 2012 Tony won two world titles in cooking, making him a 13-time world champion.

Judge Glenn

Glen CYBULSKI

Glenn Cybulski is an award-winning executive chef & certified pizzaiolo with over 100 national and international culinary awards in rustic Italian cuisine and American comfort food. He is widely regarded as one of the Top 10 pizzaiolos in the U.S. and has extensive public speaking, culinary writing, & restaurant consulting experience. Glenn is the co-founder of Chefs Feeding Kids, a non-profit organization focused on reducing childhood hunger across the U.S.

In addition to a seminar speaker and columnist for Pizza Today, Cybulski is also an instructor at the magazine’s School of Pizzeria Management. He is a frequent guest lecturer and a panelist at the International Pizza Expo.

Cybulski’s restaurant experience includes working with Terry Collins of Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza in 2006, where he designed the crust for the “Thin Crust DeLight” pizza. He has consulted on the Travel Channel’s show “Food Wars.” He was also the co-owner of Sonoma Naturals and executive chef at Fregenes Italian Pizzeria and has owned and operated several restaurant concepts over the years.

Judge Bill Crawford

BILL CRAWFORD

A Grand Prize and Category Winner at the 2023 Real California Pizza Contest, Bill Crawford has lived a life filled with passion and adventure. Crawford began his career as an F-16 fighter pilot in the US Air Force and later flew the B-2 Stealth Bomber, flying missions over hostile skies in both aircraft. After 10 years of military service, Bill attended Harvard Business School, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree with second year academic honors.

Bill joined the faculty at Brigham Young University Idaho in 2013 and opened his mobile pizzeria the same year, after attending Neapolitan pizza courses with Roberto Caporuscio and Tony Gemignani. In 2022, Bill competed in the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy where his pizza received the highest score among all Americans in the Classic Division.

Bill and Cheryl Crawford, his wife, own and operate Righteous Slice, an independent pizzeria in Rexburg, Idaho, recognized by Pizza Today magazine as one of 25 Pizzerias to Watch in 2023. They are the proud parents of six children and two grandchildren.

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