2019 Pizza Contest Winners

Rcpc Winners 2019

2019 Winning Recipes

Pizza Name: Cowincidence

1 – 11 oz Gluten Free Dough Caputo
3 oz BBQ Sauce – Sweet Baby Rays
1/2 ozv Smoked Mozzarella DI STEFANO CHEESE
1 ozv Graziers Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 ozv Mozzarella DI STEFANO CHEESE
1 ozv chopped apple wood smoked daily’s bacon
1.5 ozv roasted chicken breast
1.5 ozv pulled pork
1 ozv pickled red onions
1 tbl Mikes Hot honey drizzle
1 tbl cilantro chopped
Preparation & Cooking Instructions:
The Caputo dough:
1 bag Caputo Gluten Free Flour
11.25 g yeast
900 g water
100 g starter
12.5 g salt
28 g oil
1 oz oil for Llyod pan to cook

Mix the yeast, water, and starter together and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and mix then mix into the slurry mixture. Once the dough comes together drizzle the oil over the dough mixture and work the oil in. Take your Llyod pan and coat with 1-2 oz of oil so that the pan is completely coated, this will keep the dough from sticking to the pan during the cooking process. Portion the dough into 11 oz portions and place into oiled Lloyd pan and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to sit at room temp till it proofs dough should rise 3/4 of the way in pan before cooking process can begin. Once the dough has proofed, preheat your oven to 550*F and put your proofed dough in the pan into the oven and allow to cook for 8 mins. The dough should have firm texture to feel and should not feel doughy if it does allow the dough to cook for an additional minute or two. Once it’s finished cooking take pizza out of the pan and allow to cool on sheet tray on a cookie cooling rack crust up so the pizza should be upside down.

Cheese blend consists of smoked mozzarella, cheddar, and shredded mozzarella mixed in a stainless steel bowl.
BBQ Sauce is Sweet baby Rays poured in a squeeze bottle.
Daily Apple Wood Bacon should be cooked on a sheet tray. After cooking the bacon crispy chop it up into small pieces (almost bits)

Roasted Chicken – take your chicken breast and coat with 2 oz EVOO and add 1 tbl chopped garlic and coat chicken breast and roast in oven on a sheet tray on top of a cookie cooling rack. Cook the chicken until internal temp of 165*F. Once chicken is finished cooking shred the chicken breast into small pieces or strips and allow cooling.
Pulled Pork – season you pork shoulder with granulated garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika all to taste and place into pan cover with plastic wrap and foil. Place the pan in a pre-heated oven set to 325*F. Cook for 3 hours and then uncover the pork shoulder and raise temp on oven to 375*F and cook for an additional 2.5 – 3 hours depending on size of pork shoulder. Once finished drain the juice and set aside, you should be able to push the meat off the bone and shred with 2 forks. If the meat looks dry add a little of the juice that was drained off after the cooking process. Allow to cool once finished.

Pickled Red Onions- slice 3 of your red onions and add to pan on medium heat and begin to sweat with 2 tbl of oil. Once you hear the pan sizzling add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of red wine vinegar, and 1/2 cup of red wine. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone. About 20 minutes on medium heat. Drain any liquid that is still in the pan and cool on a sheet tray.

Mikes hot honey is in a jar and doesn’t need much attention just to open the bottle and have ready.
Cilantro is fresh and chopped and set aside you will not need this or the hot honey till after the pizza is completed.

Pizza Time:
Place the Lloyd pizza pan into 550*F preheat oven with 2 tbl oil for 4 minutes.
While pan is heating up assemble the pizza.

1 dough par cooked.
Spread BBQ sauce onto dough with squeeze bottle and use the back spoon to ensure that the dough is covered.
Sprinkle your cheese blend on top of sauce (smoked mozzarella, cheddar, and shredded mozzarella)
Add your bacon, chicken, pulled pork and pickled red onion on top. Distribute all toppings evenly.
Pull your pan from the oven after 4 minutes and place the assembled pizza in the pan you should hear it sizzle as it hits the pan. That’s a good thing. Push your pan in the oven and allow to cook for 8 minutes in 550*F till the cheese is melted. Once complete use an offset spatula to remove pizza from the sides of the pan and then remove from the pan onto a regular pizza pan to make it easier to cut. Simply cut your pizza into 4 pieces and take your Mike’s Hot Honey and drizzle from corner to corner side to side till you have a nice even zig zag layer across the pizza. Finish by taking your cilantro and sprinkling it from up high so that every bite gets a little.

Pizza Name: bandera de fusión


GIOIA CHEESE CO., INC – Oxaca Cheese – 4 oz
JOSEPH GALLO FARMS – Asadero Cheese – 4 oz
ARIZA CHEESE COMPANY – Mexican Crème – ½ cup
RIZO-LOPEZ FOODS, INC Cojita Cheese – 1 oz
Pork Carnitas 2oz
Mole 1 oz
Salsa Verde 1 oz
Cilantro ½ oz
Pepitas ¼ oz
Sesame Seed ¼ oz
Jalapeno – ½ oz
Red Onion 2 oz
Tomato Sauce 2 oz


Pizza dough: recipe available upon request
Sauces: Mole, Salsa Verde recipes available upon request
Tomato Sauce: DiNapoli San Marzano style tomatoes hand crushed salt to taste
White cheese blend: Take 1/2 cup of creme and place in a small sauce pot and put on a stove at medium-low heat. Cube the Asadero and Oaxaca cheese into 1/4″ chunks and add to the creme. Slowly heat the mixture continuing to stir. After about 15 minutes run an immersion blender through the mix. Once smooth consistency has been achieved remove from the heat.

1. Stretch the pizza dough to 9″
2. Fry the dough in a deep fryer until it puffs up and is cooked.
3. Remove the dough place on a paper towel and pat off any excess oil
4. top the pizza with 2 oz of tomato sauce evenly spread over the crust.
5. Evenly spread shredded pork carnitas over the pizza
6. Do a 1 oz drizzle of the cheese sauce evenly over the pizza.
7. Top with red onion, sliced jalepeno, diced tomato, corn
8. Garnish with pepitas and sesame seeds.
9. Place in oven and cook until toppings are warm and red onion and corn begin to char.
10. Drizzle the top with the salsa verde, chile mole and white cheese sauce in alternating patterns.
11. Garnish with parsley and cojita cheese
12. Enjoy

Pizza Name: Harvest


Harvest Pizza: 

New York style pizza crust (22oz dough ball)
.5oz roasted garlic & olive oil base
2oz sautéed kale
6oz mozzarella (Stella) & 1oz fontina cheese(Loleta Cheese)
3oz fire roasted butternut squash
1oz caramelized red onions
3oz pancetta
.5oz toasted sun flower seeds
.5oz pomegranate glaze & shaved parmigiano reggiano.


Stretch dough out to 16″ then add garlic & olive oil, kale then mozzarella & fontina cheese. Then add butternut squash, caramelized red onions & pancetta. Bake pizza the pizza at 550 degrees for about 10 minutes and when finished add toasted sun flower seeds, pomegranate glaze & parmigiana reggiano and serve. 

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Winners from Chicago and Las Vegas Take Home $5,000 Each in Bake-off Featuring Real California Cheeses

After 11 chefs spent a competitive day crafting and working pizza dough, developing unique toppings and sauces, and combining innovative blends of California cheeses, on May 9th the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) rewarded three with the ultimate prize in the 2019 Real California Pizza Contest – a national search for the best pizza recipes using Real California Cheese.

Grand Prize winner, Thomas Garnick, from Brava! Pizzeria in Denver, took home the top prize for his Bandera de Fusión pizza representing the Mexican-Style category. This pizza, inspired by the Mexican flag, included pork carnitas, salsa verde and mole and featured four California-produced Hispanic-style cheese and dairy products – Oaxaca, asadero, cotija and crèma Mexicana. Garnick received $5,000 for winning the category and an additional $10,000 for the grand prize distinction.

Two other category winners, each taking home $5,000, joined Garnick in the winners’ circle:

  • Giovanni Labbate, from Bricks Wood Fired Pizza Café in Schaumburg, Ill., who won the All Cheese category with his pizza called Harvest. Harvest, a New York-style pizza, was topped with kale, butternut squash and caramelized red onions and showcased California-produced mozzarella, fontina and parmesan.
  • Las Vegas-based chef John Alers, of Flour & Barley – Brick Oven Pizza won The Real Californian category with a California-inspired gluten-free pizza called Cow-Incidence. Cow-Incidence blended applewood-smoked bacon, roasted chicken breast, pulled pork and was topped with three California-produced cheeses – mozzarella, smoked mozzarella and raw sharp cheddar.

The contest, awarding prize money totaling $25,000 for the most innovative use of cow’s milk cheeses from California and made with Real California Milk, was open to professional chefs and culinary students across the U.S.  The contest was held at The CIA at Copia, The Culinary Institute of America’s epicurean destination in Napa, Calif.

Nine professional chefs and two culinary students competed in the national finals. Chefs represented restaurants and food companies from California and as far away as New Jersey, Texas, Ohio and Washington, with two culinary students representing The Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif. and the Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School.

Three culinary professionals – Barbara Alexander, executive chef and consulting partner for The Culinary Institute of America’s consulting division; Glenn Cybulski, certified pizzaiolo and award-winning executive chef; and Scott Weiner, founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours in NYC – evaluated each entry. The judges based their blind evaluations on a variety of factors with a focus on the innovative use of cheeses made with Real California Milk.

“The pizzas created today really showcased the innovation happening in the pizza category,” said Mike Gallagher, business and market development consultant for the CMAB. “The judges were impressed by the creativity represented in the recipes as well as the culinary skills demonstrated in bringing those recipes to life – from the selection of raw ingredients through to the final bake.”

“We were excited to see the diverse choices of cheeses used from throughout California,” said CMAB CEO John Talbot. “As the top producer in the United States, we were expecting to see plenty of California-produced mozzarella, but we were also pleased to see so many non-traditional varieties like ricotta, asiago, blue, dry jack, and white and garlic cheddar. And because we included a Mexican-style recipe category, we saw some delicious combinations of great Hispanic-style cheeses – from Oaxaca, queso fresco, asadero and cotija to crèma Mexicana. It is this kind of creativity and variety that California cheeses have become known for and we are thrilled that these chefs are making such good use of it.”

Following is a full list of the all the finalists, their affiliations and pizza concepts for the 2019 Real California Pizza Contest:


  • GRAND PRIZE AND CATEGORY WINNER: Thomas Garnick, a professional chef from Denver, Colo., founded Brava! Pizzeria. This top prize was inspired by the Mexican flag and included pork carnitas, salsa verde, mole and featured four California-produced Hispanic-style cheeses – Oaxaca, asadero, cotija and crèma Mexicana.
  • Spencer Glenn, a professional chef from Pacific Grove, Calif., works at Pizza My Heart. His entry, Holy Mole, featured Oaxaca, cotija and crèma Mexican along with chicken mole, avocado and purple radishes.
  • Justin Pearson is a culinary student from Dublin, Ohio, where he attends the Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School. His entry, Carnitas Street Taco Pizza, featured cotija, Oaxaca, queso fresco and fresh crèma along with a green chile pesto, spicy pickled vegetables and carnitas.
  • Lars Smith, a professional chef from Palo Alto, Calif., works at State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria. His entry, Super Chorizo con Papa, featured Oaxaca, queso fresco, cotija and crèma Mexican along with chorizo and pickled red onion. Lars was also selected as finalist in The Real Californian category.

All Cheese

  • CATEGORY WINNER: Giovanni Labbate, a professional chef from Schaumburg, Ill., works at Bricks Wood Fired Pizza Café. His entry, Harvest, was a New York-style pizza featuring kale, butternut squash and caramelized red onions and showcased California-produced mozzarella, fontina and parmesan.
  • Daniel Bothman, a professional chef from Bellingham, Wash., works at La Fiamma Wood-Fire Pizza. His entry, Sei Cheese White Pie, was a white sauce pizza that featured an herbed ricotta base, along with blue cheese, gorgonzola, dry jack and a blend of mozzarella, provolone and cheddar.
  • Buffy Wimmer, a professional chef from McKinney, Texas owns Jersey Pies. Her entry, St. Patty’s Irish Pub Pizza, was an Irish-inspired pizza that featured seasoned hash browns, smoked bacon and a splash of Guinness. The cheeses that her recipe showcased are sharp cheddar, low moisture mozzarella and asiago.
  • No qualified culinary student entries were identified for this category.

The Real Californian

  • CATEGORY WINNER: John Alers, a professional chef from Henderson, Nev., works at Flour & Barley – Brick Oven Pizza. His entry, Cow-Incidence, a California-inspired gluten-free pizza featured blended applewood-smoked bacon, roasted chicken breast, pulled pork and was topped with three California-produced cheeses – mozzarella, smoked mozzarella and raw sharp cheddar.

  • Erin MacLennan, a culinary student from Allendale, N.J., just graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif. Her entry, The Kale-ifornia, featured California produced garlic cheddar cheese along with kale, bacon and julienned onions.
  • Ricky Webster, a professional chef from Spokane, Wash., works at SYSCO Spokane. His entry, Chard to Resist, was a California-inspired pizza that featured ricotta, mezzo secco and raw white cheddar cheese, hot honey and shallots.
  • Lars Smith is a professional chef who works at State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria in Palo Alto, Calif. His entry, The Napa Grandma, was crafted around cheddar and burrata cheese and featured red wine salami, pickled grapes and arugula. Lars was also selected as finalist in the Mexican-Style category.

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