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Topped with an onion marmalade, Gorgonzola cheese, mozzarella, smoked sausage and fresh rosemary, the Campfire Pizza from Puccini’s Smiling Teeth Pizza won the best pizza in America — and it was made by a UK student.
Greg Spaulding, a history senior, traveled to Italy over the summer to compete at the World Pizza Championship.
“It was kind of like the Olympics,” Spaulding said. “There were about 20 countries represented there.”
He competed against 400 other chefs in the classic pizza division.
“It was amazing in Italy,” he said. “It was my first time out of the country, so it took some mental preparation.”
Before Italy, however, Spaulding started at humble beginnings.
“It was kind of a fluke really, getting into making pizzas,” he said. “About 10 years ago I started
working at Domino’s Pizza and fairly quickly became assistant manager.”
The Puccini’s owner would stop by Domino’s every day to grab pizza for construction workers. Spaulding eventually ended up moving over to Puccini’s as an employee.
In 2010, he competed in the first annual Bluegrass Bake-Off and was awarded runner-up.
In September 2011, Spaulding not only won best traditional pizza, but also best overall pizza of the Bluegrass Bake-Off.
Because he won, he joined the U.S. Pizza Team in Italy as a guest in May.
“After getting the high score out of all the Americans in the classic division, they made me a full-time member of the U.S. Pizza Team,” Spaulding said.
“I came home and not even two weeks later I was asked to go to Sydney, Australia, to compete in the 2012 World Pizza Challenge.”
When it comes to making pizza, Spaulding said freshness is the key to making it perfect.
“Freshness is the most important aspect of making a good pizza — if you can make your own dough and sauce, that’s the best way to make it great,” he said.
Another key to making a great pizza is to not overdo it, Spaulding said. He said to keep it well balanced: don’t use too much cheese or toppings.
The final tip Spaulding gave was to make sure the toppings blend well.
“If you won’t eat the toppings on a plate together, don’t put them on the pizza together,” he said.
Spaulding doesn’t have a preference of what type of pizza he likes to make — he said the more unique the pizza is, the more fun it is to make.
However, he doesn’t have a favorite.
“Asking me my favorite pizza is like asking me what my favorite band is. It changes day to day based on my mood,” he said.
“It’s more about spreading the love of pizza.”
Spaulding will compete in the 2012 Bluegrass Pizza Bake-Off. With a small donation to the Lexington Humane Society, the public is able to taste and judge the pizzas made.
Where: Cheapside Park Pavilion
When: Sept. 11 5:45 to 11:30 p.m.