Rosch outbaked 44 competitors to earn the $5,000
cash prize and the prestigious Best of the Midwest title.
John Hunt of Lexington, Kentucky’s Big City Pizza took
second place—and a $1,000 cash prize—with the company’s Tipsy Chicken, which blends beer cheese, grilled
chicken and bacon and is finished with a sweet and smoky
bourbon glaze. Alex Garcia of Flo’s Pizzeria in Grand
Rapids, Michigan, won third place and $500 with the
Maui Wowie, which features marinated chicken, ham,
bacon, pineapple, mozzarella and tomato sauce and gets
a postbake drizzle of pineapple sriracha sauce and a sprinkling of coconut flakes.
Iron Chef America judge Mario Rizzotti emceed the
contest. “This was a very tough competition, but you did
yourself proud,” he told the event’s finalists. “These were
pizzas made at the highest level.”
NEWCOMERS STEAL THE SHOW
Rosch may have been a two-time winner, but newcomers
stole the spotlight in the U.S. Pizza Team’s Winter Athletic Events, also held at MARE this year. Competition
categories included the Fastest Pie Maker, Largest Dough
Stretch and Fastest Box Folder, with 15 competitors joining the action.
First-time competitor Landon Butler of 600 Downtown, located in Bellefontaine, Ohio, earned first place in
the Fastest Pie Maker event, which requires competitors to
slap out five 10-ounce pizza doughs and place them on a
10” screen as quickly as possible. Finishing a close second
was Josh Jimmerson from Caliente Pizza & Draft House
in Pittsburgh, with longtime USPT member Ryan LaRose
of Columbus-based Leone’s Pizza taking third place.
Next up was the Largest Dough Stretch, in which the
pizza athlete must stretch out an 18-ounce dough ball
as widely as possible in five minutes. Newcomer Butler
again claimed the first-place medal. Second place went to
LaRose, while new competitor Matt Hickey of Caliente
Pizza & Draft House scooped up third place.
The final event was the Fastest Box Folder, requiring
each competitor to fold five 14” boxes as quickly as he can.
First place went to Ashley Parthemore of Michael Angelo’s
Pizza in Rushsylvania, Ohio. Parthemore has competed in
several USPT events in the past. Second and third places
were taken by first-time competitors Tiffany Westfall of
600 Downtown and Scott Simpson of Caliente Pizza &
Draft House, respectively.
This year’s USPT Winter Athletic Events drew one of
its largest contingents of competitors in recent history,
noted Brian Hernandez, the team’s coordinator.
PMQ Pizza Magazine created the U.S. Pizza Team in
2000. The team’s sponsors include Grain Craft, California
Milk Advisory Board, Gordon Food Service, Sofo Foods,
LaNova, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, Bag Solutions, Fon-tanini Meats, Lillsun, Marsal and Sons, Univex, Presto
Foods, Pivetti and Lloyd Pans.
John Hunt of Big City
Pizza won second place
in the Best of the
Midwest pizza contest.
Ashley Parthemore of
Michael Angelo’s Pizza
earned top honors in
the Fastest Box Folder
The crew from Caliente Pizza & Draft House
celebrates a pair of top-three finishes in the U.S.
Pizza Team’s Winter Athletic Events.