“Awesome” Pizza Named New Zealand’s Best
“Awesome” Pizza Named New Zealand’s Best in Fonterra Foodservices Global Pizza Challenge
Paolo Pancotti from Pizza Pazzi in Napier took away the national pizza champion title at the first New Zealand Fonterra Foodservices Global Pizza Challenge last night [Eds: Wednesday 2 March].
Italian born and raised, Paolo has been a chef for 22 years and opened Pizza Pazzi just three months ago. He named his entry “Bestiale”, an expression his Dad uses to describe pizza, food and life, and roughly translates to “awesome” in English.
Paolo’s winning pizza is topped with tomato, parma ham, Kapiti bocconcini, Kapiti parmigiano reggiano, and his homemade pesto.
Additionally, seven contestants were named Fonterra Foodservices Global Pizza Challenge category winners. They are:
Beef + Lamb – “Mediterranean” by Lese Schwalger of Blitza Pizza in Birkenhead, Auckland
Chicken – “Best Friend” by Mehrdad Soulati of Eduardo’s in Newmarket, Auckland
Seafood – “Kupes Kai Moana” by Cameron Marshall of the Opononi Hotel in Opononi
Vegetarian – “East Side” by Chickalena Rose of Epolito’s Pizza in One Tree Hill, Auckland
Best Specialty (tie) – “Sophia” by Wayne Hull of Gorgeous New York Pizza in Mt Eden, Auckland
Best Specialty (tie) – “Banoffee Express” by Mitchell Hayles of The Bay Bar & Brasserie in Taupo
Other Meat – “Adelie” by Shaun Wairiki of Adelie Bar & Kitchen in Westmere, Auckland
To enter, chefs submitted an original pizza recipe using Fonterra Foodservices products. Winners were selected from 40 finalists who travelled from across New Zealand to take part in the national pizza ‘cook off’ in front of a live audience at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.
Pizzas were judged on originality, balance, creativity and excitement factor by highly acclaimed international chefs Martin Kobald and John Lanzafame, and foodie Veronica Johnston, who worked their way through the 40 plus entries throughout the day.
Stephanie Hague, Marketing Manager for Fonterra Foodservices, explains Fonterra bought the competition to New Zealand to encourage new ideas and innovation.
“Pizza is the fastest growing food trend in Asia Pacific. We know we have some great chefs who can compete on a global stage in this space, so we brought the Global Pizza Challenge to New Zealand to enable that. It’s amazing to see the amount of work, preparation and effort the competitors and their businesses have put in to be here today.”
Global Pizza Challenge Global Coordinator, Martin Kobald, said he was impressed with the quality of the pizzas and the talent of the New Zealand chefs.
“The bar has been set high with an outstanding calibre of entries. It just goes to show that while New Zealand may be a long way from Italy, the traditional home of pizza, the combination of this classic dish and flavours of Kiwi fare can produce outstanding results.”
Paolo Pancotti takes away an expenses-paid trip to Sydney to represent New Zealand at the Global Pizza Challenge world final in September 2011. This includes three nights’ accommodation, transfers, meals and a New Zealand winner’s trophy. Here he will join chefs from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United States of America, China, Ireland, Vietnam, Dubai, Australia, Namibia, South Africa, Thailand and Fiji to compete for the global title.
The finalists each received a sponsor-donated prize and a Global Pizza Challenge finalist’s plate. Category, segment and prize sponsors were NZ Beef & Lamb, Tegel, Fresh Connection, Shore Mariner New Zealand, Buitoni Professional, Crocs footwear, Moffat, Tafelstern, Delmaine, Spyral, Southern Hospitality, and Nat Pac.