The U.S. Pizza Team “Delivers” at the World Pizza Championships!

Uccello 2 Fix
Dan Uccello, Flo’s Pizzeria Grand Rapids, MI.


Parma, Italy, May 8-10, 2017 — The U.S. Pizza Team has returned from Italy with the highest honor for American Pizza at The World Pizza Championships. The USPT traveled to Parma with a crew of 19 competitors this year, some brand new to the world of international pizza competition, and some veterans of numerous events, both here and abroad.

Ali Fix
Ali Haider, 786°, Sun Valley, CA.

Hundreds of pizza chefs from over 30 countries make their way to this global competition each year to compete for the world champion title in 10 categories. The culinary categories include Classica, Neapolitan, Gluten-Free Pizza, Pan Pizza, Pizza for Two (one pizza made by a team of two pizzaiolos), and Pizza on the Peel. The athletic categories are Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pie Maker and Freestyle Acrobatics.

The highest honor for an American this year was awarded to Dan Uccello of Flo’s Pizzeria in Grand Rapids MI. Dan, in his first competition ever, scored higher than all other  Americans in the international competition. The second badge of honor for the USPT went to first time international competitor, Ali Haider of 786 Degrees in Sun Valley, CA. Ali scored the highest score for his birth place, India, at the competition while competing as a U.S. Pizza Team member.

Constantino Anezinos, Zorba’s Pizza, Millbrae, CA.

The remaining members of the U.S. Pizza Team represented our country with spectacular skill and finesse, bringing in great scores amongst a plethora of different countries, competitors and flavors. The top 3 placing USPT members for the above mentioned events are as follows:

Classica (Best in U.S. scores):

  1. Dan Uccello – Flo’s Pizzeria, Grand Rapids, MI.
  2. Bruno Brunetti – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.
  3. Lenny Rago – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.

Pan Pizza (Top 4 in U.S. scores):

  1. Bruno Brunetti – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.
  2. Lenny Rago – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.
  3. Michael LaMarca – Master Pizza, Cleveland, OH.   

Pizza on the Peel (Best in U.S. scores):

  1. Leonardo Giordano – Mona Lisa Pizza, Staten Island, NY.
  2. John Zozzaro – Downtown Cafe & Pizzeria, Glen Cove, NY.

    Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, IN. and Kyle Rosch, Brenz Pizza/Il Forno prepping in the kitchen at Hotel Palace Maria Luigia, Parma, Italy
  3. Michael LaMarca – Master Pizza, Cleveland, OH.

    U.S. Pizza Team supporting their members competing in Pizza for 2

Gluten Free (Best in U.S. scores):

  1. Gino Rago – Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.

Fastest pie Maker and Largest Dough Stretch (Best in U.S. for Largest):

  1. Dave Sommers – Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, IN.

Neapolitan (Best in U.S. score)

  1. Ali Haider – 786 Degrees, Sun Valley, CA.
(Top to Bottom) Team Captain Michael LaMarca, Culinary Coach Gino Rago, and official U.S. Pizza team Cat Herder Brian Hernandez

Pizza for 2 (Top 5 in U.S. scores):

  1. Gino Rago (Panino’s Pizza, Chicago, IL.) / John Coletta (Quartino Chicago, IL.)

    John Zozzaro of Downtown Cafe & Pizzeria stretching his culinary muscles
  2. Alex Garcia and Dan Uccello ( Both of Flo’s Pizzeria, Grand Rapids, MI.)
  3. Constantino Anezinos (Zorba’s Pizza, Millbray, CA.) / Kyle Rosch (Il Forno/Brenz Pizza, Chapel Hill, NC.)

There were also 2 side events held this year. The Triathlon and the World Pizza Team. The Triathlon included any competitor doing 3 or more events. The World Pizza Team took individuals on each team from 5 different events and totaled their scores. Members, Michael LaMarca, Ali Haider and Leonardo Giordano took 3 of the top 4 U.S. scores in Triathlon, while the World Pizza Team for the USPT placed in the top 10, using scores from Gino Rago (Gluten Free), Michael LaMarca (Pizza for 2), Jamie Culliton (Pizza for 2), Leonardo Giordano (Pizza on the Peel), Dave Sommers (Classica) and Lenny Rago (Pan Pizza).

For more information about the team, events, pictures or video, contact Brian Hernandez, USPT Coordinator at 662-234-5481 x129 or by email Visit us online at




Brian Hernandez

Brian Hernandez