California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) definitely acknowledges the fact that for some chefs, making pizza is more than just a job; it is actually their passion. And because the gourmet pizza restaurant chain believes that there is always an interesting story behind every pizza, it successfully rolled out CPK Pizza Wars 2016.
Fresh from the success of the first Pizza Wars in 2015, CPK recently brought back the pizza chef competition, making it an annual affair and a pre-event for its annual National Pizza Day, held every August.
“CPK has distinguished itself as a pizza authority attributable to its wide selection of innovative and artisanal pizzas,” said Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc (GRCI) President and CEO Archie Rodriguez. “More importantly, the secret behind the success of CPK here is, of course, the people behind it.”
Thus, GRCI, the operator of all CPK stores in the country, aims to recognize the talent and passion of its people by challenging them to take their innate culinary skills a notch higher by creating their very own pizza.
CPK Philippines Brand Director Grace de Leon thinks this activity is able to bring out the personal stories of their people by associating their personal experiences and insights with original pizza creations. “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,” she said.
At the start of the competition, Pizza Chefs from all of CPK’s stores in the country are invited to join and send in their entries. After stringent deliberation, the list of participants is shortened into three finalists. This year, the final three comprised of Noel Araneta of CPK Greenbelt 5 (Cod with Mango Cucumber Salsa Pizza), Jerric Venezuela of CPK Alabang (Dynamite Shrimp Pizza), and Rodel Pico of CPK Bonifacio Global City (Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza).
Chef Rodel’s Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza was declared the winner. He bagged a cash prize and will have the prestige of having his gourmet creation featured in the upcoming CPK Philippines’ National Pizza Day, Year 5, which is set this year on August 15 and 16.
Last year, Chef Romel Panaligan from CPK Alabang was declared the winner of the first ever Pizza Wars. His winning entry was called ‘Farmer’s Choice’ as it consisted of roasted squash, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, grilled zucchini, and desiccated coconut.