Four members of the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team competed and learned from their Chinese
contemporaries at the 10th annual Chinese Pizza Championship in Shanghai, China, Nov. 9-15. Jane Mines, co-owner of Nima’s Pizza in Gasseville, Arkansas, took second place with her pepperoni and mushroom pizza with a twist. The mushroom caps in Mines’ entry were rimmed with a hickory-smoked sea salt. The pizza features a formed blooming rose made out of pepperoni. Rick Mines, Jane’s husband, tied for third with the two other USPT members with a pizza topped with roasted red peppers sautéed in Tuscan herb olive oil and sliced chorizo sausage. The peppers were formed into a cherry pie-like latticework.
Dave Sommers of Mad Mushroom in West Lafayette, IN. was the second third place tie, impressing the judges with his pizza featuring creamy Gorgonzola fondue sauce, roasted asparagus and pan-seared beef tenderloin.
And finally , Michael LaMarca of Master Pizza in Cleveland, OH. rounded out the third place trio with his award winning Orange Crush pie, made with a base of orange zest oil, topped with parmesan, asiago, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, as well as honey-cured bacon, dried cranberries, arugula, sliced oranges and tomatoes, candied pecans and fried orange peels.
The event attracts pizzaioloi from all over China and around the world. This is the first time the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team has been invited to compete on the Chinese world stage. The international pizza exhibition also attracted global food agencies including recently merged Kraft and Heinz and the California Milk Advisory Board represented by Mark Todd, the notorious “Cheese Dude.”
The Groupon U.S. Pizza Team members along with staff members from event sponsor PMQ Pizza Magazine toured Shanghai, known as China’s “Food City,” took a riverboat cruise, ate at authentic Chinese restaurants and sampled Chinese delicacies such as crispy duck skin and bowls of boiled frogs with chili peppers. The American competitors watched their Chinese counterparts build pizza with duck eggs, bamboo shoots, truffle pate and Wasabi cheese.
The American contingent also helped out as event attendees attempted to break the Chinese record for biggest pizza ever made.