Last week, Mommy Eichel was invited to join the CPK Pizza Wars 2016 at California Pizza Kitchen Shangri-La Plaza. It was a great opportunity to witness this second run of culinary adventure and be one of the first to try the newest addition to their pizza menu through CPK's annual Pizza Chef competition. And for CPK, making a pizza is not a job, it's a passion.
California Pizza Kitchen has distinguished itself as a pizza authority attributable to its wide selection of innovative and artisanal pizzas. But more importantly, the secret behind the success of CPK here is, of course, the people behind it. Which is why, apart from showcasing the talents of our pizza cooks who are equally passionate about food as we are, we wanted to challenge them to take their culinary skill to the next level. And sure enough, they have proven to be up to that challenge,” said Archie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc.(GRCI).
“Here at CPK, we believe that there is a story behind every pizza. More than anything else, CPK Pizza Wars represents this –bringing out the personal stories of our people, associating it with their all original pizza creations, and finding joy in what they do best,” says Grace de Leon, Brand Director for CPK Philippines. “This just strengthens our commitment to take care of our people and nurture their innate culinary talents so that they too can be part of our celebration of California creativity, imagination, and passion.
Pizza Wars commenced at California Pizza Kitchen in the United States. And, California Pizza Kitchen Philippines is the first international franchise to carry out this Pizza Chef competition and it was held last June 2015.
Each contestant is encouraged to be innovative with their entries with no restrictions. However, it's best if they can predominantly utilize some of the ingredients that are currently readily available in the restaurants while introducing at least one new ingredient that will set them apart from the competition.
There were in-store elimination rounds wherein two representatives per branch were selected. These two pizza chefs then presented their creations to their regular guests for taste testing. The winner of that round in each of the branches won the privilege to compete in the semi-finals.
The competition went through several rounds of heated competition. Each branch sent their own pizza champions to the semi-finals, to compete with each other for the approval of judges Robert Vallar, Marketing Manager of GRCI, Harris Jimenez, Commissary Manager, and Jeff Senia, Culinary Head beginning with in-store elimination rounds. Of the semi-finalists, only three chefs were chosen to compete in the final round of competition and these three pizza chefs prepared their creations once again, as they sought to win over the discerning taste buds of judges Archie Rodriguez and Griffith Go (GRCICFO), joined by celebrity chefs, Sau Del Rosario and Sandy Daza.
The Finalists and their Masterpieces
Presented his Cod with Mango Cucumber Salsa Pizza. An Asian inspired dish with a mayo sweet chili sauce base, Goat cheese and Mozzarella, topped with fried cod fish and special homemade mango cucumber salsa.
Jerric Venezuela, CPK Alabang
He brought out the boom by rolling out an amazing Dynamite Shrimp Pizza –a fiery fiesta of seafood and spices.
Rodel Pico, CPK Bonifacio Global City
This guy created a fun and original twist with his Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza; combining the salty and savory distinctiveness of anchovies while softening it up with the sweetness of caramelized onions and green apples.
The CPK Pizza Wars 2016 Winner
|Rodel Pico of CPK Bonifacio Global City|
|Chef Rodel and his Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza|
Rodel Pico received a cash prize of Php 25,000 and his winning pizza will be featured as one of the free pizzas in the 5th year Anniversary of National Pizza Day on August 15-16, 2016. By simply ordering a regular or thin crust pizza, guests will get to have another pizza for free from their special pizza menu. Chef Rodel's Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza will be a mainstay in CPK's new menu during the last quarter of this year.
For more information, visit the official website at www.cpk.com.ph and follow their social media sites via California Pizza Kitchen Philippines on Facebook and @cpkphilippines on both Instagram and Twitter.