DetroitPizza-full2Check out this video from the 2012 International Pizza Expo, held in Las Vegas. The highlight reel showcases Shawn Randazzo as he bakes his way to the World Champion Pizza Maker title.

With more than 10,000 in attendance at the world’s largest pizza competition, Randazzo beat a pool of international pizza chefs and was awarded champion by expert judges such as renowned “Let’s Dine Out” television host, radio personality and food critic Allan Borgen; and Bravo Network “Top Chef” guest judge and Citizen Cake owner Elizabeth Faulkner. He won the American Pan Pizza Division by a record margin with a score of 130.65, then claimed top honors over the winners of the other three pizza divisions (Traditional, Non-Traditional and Italian-Style) in a blind box competition. Randazzo is the first American to win the award since Tony Gemignani in 2007.

“It’s an incredible honor to be named World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year, alongside so many master pizza chefs,” said Randazzo. “We’ve said for years that Detroit style pizza is among the world’s best, and it gives me great pride to prove it with this victory.”

“Secret Ingredients” and Fast Fantastic Flavor: Just 35 Minutes To Wow Judges

The blind box competition pitted Randazzo against three other award-winners in a race to the best pizza. Each competitor had a total of 35 minutes, including bake time, to present their pizzas to the judges. They had to use previously undisclosed ingredients plus a mandatory “secret” ingredient – in this case, Cattleman’s BBQ Sauce. Competitors had five minutes to collect ingredients, ten minutes to prepare them and 20 minutes for baking. The competition went down to the wire, as Randazzo presented his award-winning pizza to the judges with under 30 seconds left on the clock.

“Not knowing what the ingredients would be going in to the blind box competition was challenging but exciting,” said Randazzo. “It’s a fast-paced blitz of pizza-making, just like you’d see on a food TV reality show, and to be there in that atmosphere is incredible. It’s not about making money from our pizzas; everyone there is passionate about the pursuit for the perfect pizza. We deeply care about the quality of our ingredients, the precise preparation techniques, the presentation and of course the texture and flavor. To get to compete against so many great pizza chefs, and great people, is an experience of a lifetime. And to win it all is even better.”

Randazzo’s champion pizza featured a blend of three cheeses topped with chicken breast, bacon, sautéed fresh garlic, onions, chives and the required Cattleman’s BBQ Sauce. He won the American Pan Division with a Chicken Caesar pizza, topped with mozzarella and brick cheeses, chicken breast, applewood smoked bacon, red onions and Caesar dressing, baked and finished with romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan and grated Romano.