he says. “;e bottom bake was good, but it came out
a little gooey on top.” LaMarca, meanwhile, baked up
a “Figetaboutit” pizza, which has done well in other
competitions. ;e sweet and savory flavors came from
figs, honey-cured bacon, mozzarella, prosciutto di Parma,
arugula and balsamic pearls.
THE NEXT STAGE IN PIZZA’S EVOLUTION
After much number-crunching and double-checking, the
final day of competition culminated in an award cere-
mony. Meng Xin Wen of China won the grand prize,
while Japan’s 2015 Freestyle Acrobatic World Champion
Takumi Tachikawa added a culinary medal to his resume
by taking second place. From the American contingent, it
was Samosky who took a medal back to the U.S. with a
third-place finish. “;e pizzas that took first and second
were really, really good,” he says. “;e scores were only a
couple of points apart. I’m really, really happy.”
LaMarca views the competition as a course in interna-
tional pizza. “;e people are from very di;erent regions
of the planet than we’re used to competing against,” he
says. “So some of the flavors and ingredients are really
out there, and you’re, like, ‘Why would you put that on
there?’ And then you taste it, and it’s, like, ‘Wow! ;is
is crazy good!’ It’s flavors and techniques they’re used
to, mixed with pizza techniques we’re used to, and it’s a
nice combination. It takes this industry to a new level.
It’s awesome. Hopefully, I can bring what I learned here
back to America. And, hopefully, they can see what we’re
doing in America and build it up here.”
Slightly overshadowing the competition was the U.S.
presidential election, which took place during the event.
;e Chinese media had been covering the campaign for
months. A palpable buzz spread through the crowd as
the likely winner became clear. Amongst ourselves, there
was speculation as to what the future holds for America
and the rest of the world. But despite the uncertainty
of geopolitics, one thing became clear to me: ;e next
stage of pizza’s evolution will take place in China. Just
as Americans took an Italian dish and made it uniquely
our own, the Chinese will now take it to new heights of
experimentation. ;e future of pizza in China is as bright
as the Pudong skyline at night.
Daniel Lee Perea is PMQ’s senior media producer.
“Some of the flavors and ingredients are really out there, and
you’re, like, ‘Why would you put that on there?’ And then
you taste it, and it’s, like, ‘Wow! This is crazy good!”
—MICHAEL LAMARCA, MASTER PIZZA
According to USPT member Mike LaMarca, the local cuisine was one of the
best parts of traveling to China.
Long-time U.S. Pizza Team
member Jason Samosky
placed a respectable
third in the Chinese Pizza