A vegan pizza has been crowned the National Pizza of the Year at the National Pizza Awards, the competition that showcases some of the best pizzas in the UK.
Parmigiana Party, created by Filippo Rosato of Brighton and London-based restaurant Purezza, featured smoked vegan mozzarella, fried aubergine, crumbled soya sausage, basil and nutritional yeast.
“It’s unbelievable,” says Rosato. “To get this sort of recognition for something that I love is the best feeling I’ve ever had. I’m really proud, because I really believe in this project. I started to believe in vegan food in 2015, and to spend time with Tim and Stefania [Purezza founders] and join them on this trip, and now to win this award, is something that I’m really proud of. This will be a new starting point where we can say: ‘It’s true – we can do something really special.’”
At the Grand Final, which was held on 3 October at Islington Metal Works, London, 14 finalists competed, creating a Technical Pizza, which was made with ingredients supplied by Pan’Artisan, Mutti, Leathams and Salvo 1968, using a pizza oven from Linda Lewis Kitchens. They then submitted their Signature Pizza, which was created and crafted by them. Finally, they tackled the Mystery Box Round, in which they had to create a pizza using a box of Salvo 1968 ingredients that they had only seen a few minutes before.
The National Pizza Awards judges were Pizza Pilgrims founders Thom and James Elliot; Marks & Spencer development & innovation chef Jon Jones; Salvo 1968 managing director Giuseppe Motisi; and Casual Dining Magazine editor Charlotte Mellor.
TV presenter Joe Hurd hosted the live final and awards ceremony.
Rosato picked up a second award on the night for his Mystery Box Round pizza, which included champignon and truffle cream, teardrop peppers and grilled artichokes.
The Technical Award went to Marco Fuso of Baked and Battered in Cobham, Surrey. The Pizza Chef of the Year – who was selected based on the combined scores in the Technical and Signature Round – was Luigi Marino of Tre Ciccio in Altrincham, Manchester.
Other sponsors included Artis, which provided every finalist with special pizza knives for their restaurants; Menabrea and Kimbo, which provided beer and espresso martinis respectively at the evening event; and Startle, which provided the music throughout the day and evening.
The other finalists included Marco Di Giacomo from Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant in Camden; Vittorio Lettieri from Bella Italia; Alessandro Cipriani from Fountain & Ink; Nick Buckland from Yard Sale Pizza; Marian Stefan from Crust Bros; John Martin from Dough & Brew; Lukasz Maciejewski from Pizza, Pots and Pints at The Radcliffe Arms; Matteo Pietronzini from Buongiorno e Buonasera; Carmine Pisano from Mare Street Market; George Zappa from Santa Maluco; and Lee Desanges from Baked In Brick.
The National Pizza Awards 2018 are sponsored by Pan’Artisan, Salvo 1968, Linda Lewis Kitchens, Mutti, Leathams, Menabrea, Kimbo, Artis and Startle.