COLUMBUS, Ohio — The entry deadline for the 2005 Pizza Pizzazz competition is drawing near. According to a news release, Friday, Feb. 18, is the cut-off date for contests to enter the top pizza competition in the United States.
The event, which is held in conjunction with the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show (Sunday, Feb. 27 through Monday, Feb. 28), will take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. (Learn more about NAPICS 2005 PREVIEW: Content is king at '05 North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show.)
As many as 100 pizza makers from around the United States enter the annual event. Contestants can compete in one or both of two categories: traditional and gourmet. Top prize winners in each category receive expenses-paid trips to Italy to Salsamaggiore, Italy, site of the World Pizza Championships in March (read also NAPICS Pizza Pizzazz competitors vie for trip to Italy). Second- and third-place winners in each category receive cash prizes of $400 and $200 respectively.
The contest format is as follows: Contestants clash in a first-round bakeoff hoping to land a top-five finishers spot in each category. Those finalists bake their same pizzas again and submit them to a panel of judges — made up of pizza industry pros and food critics — for final tasting. Judging criteria center on appearance, marketability and taste.
Sean Brauser, owner of Romeo's Pizza in Medina, Ohio, has won the event twice, and called it, "Seriously fun and seriously good for your business. Because of the publicity, we had people coming from an hour-an-a-half away to eat our pizza."
Brauser called the four-day trip to Italy a thrill of a lifetime. "Being able to represent the U.S. in a foreign country was just great."
The gourmet segment of the Pizza Pizzazz competition is held on Sunday Feb. 27; the traditional category competition follows on Monday, Feb. 28.
Cost is $100 per entry. For registration information call 800-282-9049 to request a fax form or download the form online at NAPICS.com.