Galbani Professionale Champion Chosen in Orlando

Washington state pizza shines bright while Florida flair in acrobatics wows the judges
Champion pizzaioli from opposite corners of the map tapped to represent USA pizza in Italy in 2024

Pizzaioli from across the United States and its territories sailed into the Orange County Convention Center for the 2023 Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup and Acrobatic Trials (GPPC) hosted by Galbani Professionale, the US Pizza Team and the Pizza Tomorrow Summit. From every corner of the map, talented pizza makers and athletes brought their style and pizza personality to the table to prove they have what it takes to earn the grand prize, a trip to compete in the World Pizza Championships (WPC) in Parma Italy, April of 2024.

Niles Peacock, Niles Peacock Kitchen & Bar

Day one of the GPPC featured the non-traditional pizza competition. Two groups of 13 talented pizzaioli and 4 expert pizza adjudicators each declared a 1st-3rd place. The first-place winners from each group then faced off against each other to decide the Galbani Professionale Champion for the 2024 competitive season.

Top honors went to Niles Peacock of Niles Peacock Kitchen & Bar in Edmond, Wash. Peacock took home the grand prize title of the Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup Champion for the year of 2024, as well as a trip to Parma, Italy to compete in the World Pizza Championships, next April. Peacock’s winning pie, The Hot Date, featured a 96-hour pre-ferment dough, opened up and brushed with garlic oil and dusted with whole milk mozzarella, gorgonzola crumbles, garlic-rubbed medjool dates, a reduced balsamic glaze and  finished with Galbani Pecorino Romano cheese. “When I come to competitions like this, even if I don’t win, I still feel like a winner,” Reflecting on his winning entry, Niles says, “I thought my pizza was beautiful, but I thought everyone else’s pizza was even more beautiful.” The judges disagreed, awarding him his first pizza making title.

Daniel Saccone, Saccone’s Pizza

Taking home second in the final round was USPT Premiere member Daniel Saccone of Saccone’s Pizza in Leander, Tex. Competing…and winning… with the same recipe for the second time in 2 months, Saccone satisfied the judges’ scorecards and tastebuds with a cheese pizza straight off the Saccone’s menu. Proving you don’t need all the extra bells and whistles when you have a strong, quality base product, Daniel’s winning cheese pie starts on an 84-hour fermented dough and showcases Saccone’s signature sauce with whole peeled tomatoes and whole-milk mozzarella. Dustin Finnegan of The Nona Slice House in Safety Harbor, Fla. took 3rd place over all for the non-traditional competition rounding out the winners podium.

McKenna Carney, The Nona Slice House

Day 2 of the GPPC featured the USPT Acrobatic Trials, showcasing 10 of the country’s best pizza athletes in categories ranging from Largest Dough Stretch to Fastest Pie maker, Fastest Box Folder and the visually stunning Freestyle Acrobatics, the acrobatics segment.

Returning Freestyle Champion McKenna Carney of The Nona Slice House in Safety Harbor, Fla.slid into the 1st place spot for Freestyle Acrobatics, earning her 3rd trip to the home of pizza for a chance to spin her way to a gold medal. Carney’s 3-minute routine to Beyonce’s Single Ladies showcased dance moves, choreographed with intricate spins, rolls and tosses, all mesmerizing the judges with an enthusiasm and energy that was highly contagious.

Taking home multiple gold medals, returning champion, and agreed upon largest threat to other fastest and largest competitors, David Whisker of B.C. Pizza in Boyne City, Mich. wrangled the top spots for

David Whisker, B.C. Pizza

both Fastest Box Folder and the Fastest Pie Maker. With times like 20.72 seconds for boxes and 33.28 seconds for fastest pie, Whisker set some of the fastest times the GPPC has seen and will certainly be the benchmark for future games.

Taking home gold for the Largest Dough Stretch was Matt Hickey of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh, Penn. A familiar face in the Acrobatic Trials, Hickey’s score of 34.125” will definitely be a high bar to clear next year. Full competition standings are as follows:

Matt Hickey, Caliente Pizza & Draft House

 

Culinary Top 3 OVERALL (FINALS)
1st – Niles Peacock

2nd – Daniel Saccone
3rd – Dustin Finnegan

Culinary Table 1 Results (SEMI-FINALS):
1st – Daniel Saccone
2nd – Dustin Finnegan

3rd – Tore Trupiano, Mangia e Bevi, Oceanside, Calif.

Culinary Table 2 Results (SEMI-FINALS):

Additional Table 2 winners Jose Flores and Wilhelm Rodriguez

1st – Niles Peacock
2nd – Jose Flores, Crust Lovers Pizza, Sanford, Fla. & Broadway Pizza Bar
3rd – Wilhelm Rodriguez, Papa’s Pizza, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

 

Freestyle Acrobatics:
1st – McKenna Carney
2nd – Wilhelm Rodriguez
3rd – Matt Hickey

Largest Dough Stretch:
1st – Matt Hickey, 34.125”
2nd – Wilhelm Rodriguez, 32”
3rd – Kevin Knott, The Nona Slice House, 28.75”

Fastest Pie Maker:
1st – David Whisker, 33.28 sec.
2nd – Joey Streeter, The Nona Slice House, 40.88 sec.
3rd – Wilhelm Rodriguez, 43.31 sec.

Fastest Box Folder:
1st – David Whisker, 20.72 sec.
2nd – Justin Adams, Sicily Pizza and Restaurant, Nazareth, Penn., 24.44 sec.
3rd – Matt Hickey, 31.85 sec.

The Galbani Professionale Pizza Cup & Acrobatic Trials is made possible by USPT Platinum Sponsor Galbani Professionale US, the sponsors of the USPT, as well as other industry sponsors, like the Fiero Group and GI Metal. With help of these industry giants, the USPT can seek out the newest, best pizza talent in the country to represent the USA in international competition. The team wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to Galbani Professionale US, Margherita Meats, REAL California Milk, La Nova, Grain Craft, Burkette Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, Univex Corporation, MFG Tray, Perfect Crust Pizza Liners, Palazzolo’s Cheese Hog, Lillsun Peels, and PMQ Pizza.

 

 

Brian Hernandez

Brian Hernandez