online.com) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
earned Best in the U. S. in the pan category, while his teammate Mike Amheiser,
owner of Pizza Dock in Fredericktown,
Ohio, ranked in the top 10 in the world
for his gluten-free pie. Additionally,
Greg Spaulding, an employee of Lexington, Kentucky-based Puccini’s Smiling
Teeth ( puccinissmilingteeth.com), won
the Best in the USA award in the classic
More than 400 expert pizza makers and
master dough spinners from 20 countries and 6,000 spectators crowded into
the arena April 16 to 18 for the event.
Culinary categories included classic, pan,
gluten-free and Neapolitan STG (the
Italian abbreviation for “Traditional
Specialty Guaranteed”) while competitions were also held in the freestyle acrobatics, dough stretching and fastest pizza
The year’s competition radiated energy. For the first time in its history, the
entire event was streamed live by PMQ
and hosted by former MTV Italy personality Johnny Parker. Recorded footage of
the event can still be viewed at Pizza TV.
com. Following three days of competition, pizza and prosecco were cheerfully
passed around at the awards gala. Amid
clinking cups and flashing cameras, sheer
hilarity ensued when the winner of the
most prestigious category, pizza classica,
was nowhere to be found. Having already
hit the road to work a regular night in his
Venetian pizzeria, Cristian Bertoldo had
to be telephoned from the stage and congratulated for being declared the finest
pizza maker in the world.
First-place acrobatics champion Dan
Ioan Leicu was also in high spirits,
stunned at his accomplishment. “How do
I feel? I don’t feel anything!” said Leicu,
smiling brightly after his win. “For some
things you have words and some you
don’t. For this, I don’t.” Originally from
Romania, Leicu has lived for nearly a decade in Pescara, Italy, and has worked for
more than a year at Siren’s Corner.
Bruni, a frequent pizza competitor and
member of the USPTI, dominated the
Fittingly called “The Winner,” Tom
Carfrae’s Detroit-style deep dish
took The Best in the USA award.
(left) gets ready to
present his gluten-free Mike’s Favorite.
Access to different
types of gluten-free grains in the
United States gave
Amheiser a unique
advantage in Italy.