View the Recipes from the Winning Pizzas:

The Wharf Pizza

Elotero Pizza

Fire on the Mountain Pizza

Be Sure to Watch the Bake-off Finals & Awards Presentation 

Meet Our 2020 Finalists!


Linda Ortega


Jordan Lawson


Buffy Wimmer



Lars Smith


The REAL California

Efren Ríos

Justin Wadstein



Phillip Ma


Ricky Webster



Domenica Catelli

Anisha Blodgett


Joe Mialki



Lars Smith




The 2020 Real California Pizza Contest is seeking the year’s top professional chefs, pizzaiolos and accredited culinary students to create and share their best pizza recipes in three categories.

"$30,000 in prizes" on a yellow ribbon

2020 Categories – 3 Chances to Win!

"CAL-MEX" contest category

A pizza recipe blending your interpretation of the culinary and flavor fusion of California and Mexican cuisines featuring Hispanic-style cheeses from California.

This fusion pizza recipe will celebrate the great flavors of both Mexico and California along with these delicious Real California Cheeses: Asadero, Cotija, Cotija Anejo (Queso Anejo), Enchilado, Enchilado Anejo, Manchego, Menonita, Oaxaca, Panela, Queso Blanco Fresco (Queso Para Frier), Queso Fresco, and/or Requeson.

Real California Pizza contest category

A pizza recipe representing your interpretation of the REAL California pizza. This signature California pizza recipe will feature ingredients that showcase the best of the Golden State with a special focus on Real California Cheeses.





"Plant Forward" contest category

A pizza recipe emphasizing the delicious flavor combinations of plants (e.g., fruits, vegetables, nuts, and/or beans and other legumes) and Real California Cheeses.

This on-trend flexitarian pizza recipe will deliver flavorful produce-centric toppings layered to complement cheeses made from California milk, where meats or other non-cheese proteins are considered an optional garnish or condiment.


For a list of the more than 250 varieties and styles of Real California Cheese and the approved brands that produce them, as well as clarification on which Hispanic-style cheeses from California qualify for the Cal-Mex pizza category, please refer to the CA Cheesemaker list.

We recognize some of these cheeses may not be available in your location.  You are encouraged to enter the contest anyway, substituting the cheese you use in your development process for the cheese from this approved list in your official recipe entry. The California Milk Advisory Board will supply the specified approved cheeses from finalists’ recipes at the bake-off.

What's New in 2020

The 2019 Real California Pizza Contest was a huge success, and we’re planning on an even bigger contest for 2020. First, we’ve gone international – inviting the winner of the “Campeonato Mexicano de la Pizza” (Mexican Pizza Championship sponsored by the CMAB) to participate in our final bake-off. The categories have evolved to capture chefs’ creativity on the latest food trends – plant-forward ingredients and Cal-Mex flavors. We recognize the financial strain the COVID 19 situation has put on the foodservice industry. Operators are struggling and working hard to support their staff while keeping operations running. We had already broadened our prize package this year – so that every finalist is a winner and receives prize money.  We are certain that our finalists will put these awards to good use. See contest tab for details.


  • Contestant bringing pizza upstairs
  • toppings cooking
  • Pizza contest judges
  • Square pizza with grapes
  • Pizza being placed in oven
  • Finished pizza out of the oven
  • contestant cooking
  • contestant smiling
  • temperature checking oven
  • Contestant smiling 2
  • peppers over flame
  • smiling contestant 3
  • REAL California cheese being grated
  • pizza cooking in open oven

Sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board — from the nation’s #1 dairy state!

REAL California Milk Seal "Look for the seal"

© 2021 California Milk Advisory Board, an instrumentality of the CA Dept. of Food and Ag. All rights reserved.