Annual CIA student pizza cook-off contest features global flavors in award-winning pies.
Courtesy of The Food Group
The Culinary Institute of America’s held its annual student Pizza Cook-Off contest. Team Show Me the Pizza cooked up a Korean-inspired pizza featuring TABASCO® brand Garlic Pepper Sauce, tomato sauce, Saputo® Premium Gold Mozzarella Cheese, kimchi, shaved fennel, bulgogi beef, pickled mustard seeds and dill on a sesame-seed crust. Bold and flavorful, the pizza took first prize, awarding the team $1,000. The second-place winners also took an ethnic approach to their pizza recipe—Team Harizza created a Middle Eastern–style pizza.
With global flavors driving some of today’s biggest culinary trends, it’s not surprising an Asian-inspired pizza was awarded first place. As American palates evolve and demand increases for variety, chefs are experimenting with a range of ingredients to create inventive, artisanal pizzas.
Pizza is booming, especially in the fast-casual segment, but foodservice operators must be ready to innovate and adapt to consumers’ evolving demands for unique, high-quality and better-for-you pizza ingredients and add-ons. According to Technomic, more consumers now opt for non-traditional pizza ingredients, with 39 percent of consumers, up from 32 percent two years ago, saying that new and innovative toppings are highly important in creating a good pizza. CIA students certainly confirmed this growing trend, with the top two winning pizza recipes featuring non-traditional ingredients.
“It’s great to see our students taking a traditional pizza and putting their unique culinary spin on it,” says Lee Ellen Hayes-Kirk, the CIA’s senior advancement officer for corporate relations. “From pickling vegetables to using Middle Eastern spices, the students raised the bar this year, demonstrating both their creativity and knowledge of industry trends.”
All CIA students were invited to attend the event, which included tastings, games and prizes. To generate awareness and create excitement, TABASCO® brand paired up with Saputo Cheese Inc. to bring students an interactive cheese tasting, pairing various cheeses with different TABASCO® Pepper Sauce flavors and pepper jellies.Between sampling the diverse selection of pizza, students lined up to test their pepper sauce knowledge at the TABASCO® trivia wheel—prizes included branded carabiners, backpacks and recipe books. One lucky winner was awarded a $50 gift card for coming closest in a “Guess the Minis” challenge.
About The Culinary Institute of America
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore. For more information, visit www.ciachef.edu.
About McIlhenny Company
McIlhenny Company produces TABASCO® brand products, which are sold in more than 165 countries and territories around the world and labeled in 22 languages and dialects. The 148-year-old company makes a line of pepper sauces, including its world-famous TABASCO® Original Red, Green Jalapeño, Chipotle, Buffalo Style, Habanero, SWEET & Spicy and Garlic Pepper Sauces.The pepper sauce that Edmund McIlhenny created in 1868 is the same TABASCO® Original Red Sauce that is produced today. It's still made from tabasco pepper mash that's been aged up to three years in white oak barrels and mixed with distilled vinegar and a small amount of salt. This unique aging process delivers unmatched concentration and piquancy. Visit www.TABASCOfoodservice.com for more information.