This was a joint effort of the school, Lisanatti Foods, and Bobâ€™s Red Mill. As you might suspect, we provided all of the flour used in the development of the pizzas, and Lisanatti donated the cheese.
A total of 317 high school culinary students divided up into small teams and applied their skills to create both a gluten free vegetarian pizza and a conventional veggie pizza while meeting strict nutritional guidelines. The judging was based on taste, presentation, originality, and professionalism.
A distinguished panel of judges had the difficult task of choosing the two very best pizzas. Judges were Dennis Gilliam, our executive VP of sales and marketing; Phil Lisac, president, Lisanatti Foods; Cory Schreiber, Manager of Oregonâ€™s Farm to School Program; Cole Danehower, editor-in-chief, Northwest Palate Magazine; Paul Gerald of PortlandFoodandDrink.com; Tony Roberts of the Clackamas Review; Eric Stromquist of the Oregon Culinary Institute; and Jim Bernard, former Milwaukie mayor.
I roamed about, taking photos of the ceremony while trying to stay out of the way of the TV cameras. At some point I realized our hardworking PR people, Ken and Ashley, were enjoying pizza in the kitchen, so I joined them and happily ate leftover pizza (somebody has to do it, right?).
All the hard work was worth it for the students. Each winning team (7 students total), along with their three chef/instructors, will be treated by the sponsors to dinner at a fine restaurant in January, and each student will be given a gift certificate to Sur la Table to buy some personal cooking gear. What could be more fun for culinary students?
Look for the winning recipes on our website soon:
Traditional Mexican Thin-Crust Pizza
Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Vegetable Pizza