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12 Chefs Make National Pizza Contest Finals for Innovative Recipes Showcasing Real California Cheese

12 Chefs Make National Pizza Contest Finals for Innovative Recipes Showcasing Real California Cheese

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Tracy, Calif. – The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) today announced the 12 finalists for the 2022 Real California Pizza Contest (RCPC) – the fourth nationwide search for the best foodservice pizza recipes that include the most innovative uses of Real California cow’s milk cheeses. The professional chef finalists will compete in three categories during a public bake-off event in Napa, Calif. June 22, 2022 for awards totaling $30,000.

Winners will be selected by a panel of expert judges including Tony Gemignani, chef, restauranter, international pizza authority and President of the World Pizza Champions; Glenn Cybulski, certified pizzaiolo and award-winning executive chef; and Spencer Glenn, executive chef at Pizza My Heart and 2021 RCPC Grand Prize Winner. The judges chose the 12 finalists from more than 100 blind-judged entries from throughout the United States, in the Cal-Mex, REAL Californian, and Plant-Forward recipe categories.

“After four years, we continue to be inspired by the innovative use of our California cheeses in pizza contest entries. For such an established foodservice category, chefs haven’t run out of ideas and that’s what brings us back year after year,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “As the leading producer of mozzarella cheese and second largest cheese producer in the U.S., pizza remains an important category for our foodservice business. Connecting with and celebrating these chefs and their creations helps us build awareness for the tremendous products we have available.”

The live bake-off finals event takes place at the Culinary Institute of America Copia facility in Napa, where pizzas will be prepared and baked onsite for a blind evaluation by judges. Category winners will each receive $5,000. The Grand Prize Winner, selected from the three category winners, will win an additional $10,000. Remaining finalists will receive $500 each. 

The 2022 finalists, listed alongside hometown and pizza entry name, are:

Cal-Mex

  • Ryan Ososky, Los Angeles, Calif., Oaxacan in the Motorcity
  • Christopher Lascik, Yelm, Wash., El Puerco Verde
  • Austin Buckland, Marion, Ohio, La Fiesta
  • Marcus Medina, Tracy, Calif., Cali Craft Chicken Enchilazza

The REAL Californian

  • Ray Cullison, Kingman, Ariz., California Dreamin’
  • Chris Decker, Las Vegas, Nev., For the Love of California
  • Jason Garland, Waverly, Minn., The Venice Beach
  • David Jacobson, Concord, Calif., The Gold Rush

Plant-Forward

  • Leah Scurto, Windsor, Calif., Spear-It of Spring
  • Max Cufre, San Diego, Calif., Honey, I’m Home!
  • Yoshiharu Sogi, Sonoma, Calif., Sweet Blue
  • Melina Felix, Littleton, Colo., Green N’ Zesty

RCPC bake-off finals will be streamed on Facebook Live on June 22 at 3 p.m. PST at facebook.com/realcamilkfoodservice. Additional details on the bake-off, pizza chef finalists and CMAB’s foodservice support are available at Real California Pizza Contest.

California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts an impressive lineup of award-winning cheesemakers and dairy processors, that are helping to drive dining innovation.

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About Real California Milk/the California Milk Advisory Board
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB’s programs focus on increasing demand for California’s sustainable dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world through advertising, public relations, research, and retail and foodservice promotional programs.

The Foodservice Division of the CMAB supports foodservice operators and distributors that use Real California dairy products. The CMAB offers marketing and promotional support for foodservice operators that purchase dairy products with the Real California Milk seal, which means they are made with 100 percent milk from California’s more than 1,100 family dairy farms, using some of the most sustainable dairy practices in the nation.

For more information on sourcing cheese from California, contact the foodservice team at 209.883.6455 (MILK), [email protected] or RealCaliforniaMilk.com/FoodserviceLinkedInFacebookInstagram and YouTube.