Mark Paterno of Sydney’s Arte Bianca pizza e vino has made an instant impact at the Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships, claiming this year’s Overall Winner’s title as well as the Meat/Poultry and Best Interpretation of Sponsors’ Products categories.
In his first appearance at the championships, which this year were held at the ICC Sydney convention centre as part of the Foodservice Australia trade event over May 27-29, Mr Paterno demonstrated a breadth of impressive capabilities, says head judge and event founder Glenn Austin.
“To win the event overall you need to be familiar with the criteria, modern trends and a sound technician – Mark covered all aspects,” says Mr Austin.
He says these skills and attention to detail were particularly evidenced in Mr Paterno’s winning Sponsors’ Products creation.
“Mark studied the criteria as well as determining how best to showcase the sponsors’ products. His ability to create and construct a first-class pizza by using techniques that actually enhanced the sponsored products, put him ahead of his fellow competitors.”
Expressing humble appreciation to event organisers and sponsors, Mr Paterno credits his hattrick of awards to a combination of methodic development and expression of flair.
“First of all my dough, which has been an evolution for the last 25 years I’ve been pizza making,” he says.
“Secondly, my combination of toppings. Matching foods together like lamb and potato – a typical, much-loved Australian dish – which I modified by using lamb sausage and purple potato, and adding a beautiful stracciatella cheese.
“Also, with the Sponsors’ Products pizza – less is more – accentuating the beautiful mushrooms with a garlic and chili base.”
Although a first-time competitor in the Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships, Mr Paterno has experience in the field. He previously competed four times at the World Pizza Championships in Italy (achieving first place from Australia in 2015) and twice entered other events when owning a Queensland restaurant.
“The Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships are extremely well organised and run with transparency in judging and scoring,” continues Mr Paterno.
“It’s a great opportunity for pizza chefs from across the county to come together, learn from each other and compare pizzas, and also a fantastic networking opportunity.”
Having adjudicated this year’s championships alongside fellow high-profile and qualified international judges Arnold Tanzer and John Slone, Mr Austin also praises the 2018 competitors across the board for their “clever use of ingredients”.
“It was interesting to see the use of Farm Fresh Fine Foods’ vegetable purees combined with a functional cheese like the Dairymont Mozzarella, and the use of Dairymont parmesan as the seasoning featured in a number of pizzas this year.”
Noting seven of the eight awards this year were bestowed to first-time entrants, Mr Austin says he is rapt to see the “outstanding” interest the competition continues to generate in the sector.
“Event manager Monique Cribb had to close down entries after we went through a heavy vetting process approximately two weeks prior to the event.
“When discussing obtaining event partnership, people will tell you how hard it is to get sponsors/partners – I humbly disagree. Give industry partners a value proposition, that shows a return on investment, and it is very achievable.
“We attend Foodservice Australia because it represents a value proposition for my event. In turn, sponsors participate in the Australian Pizza Championships.”
Looking ahead to next year’s event, which is to be held over June 23-25 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Mr Austin says the competition is going to be further intensified.
“We have added new criteria and will be pushing for greater innovation in the pizza industry.
“I am proud to announce that all sponsors/partners have indicated they will be participating in next year’s event and subsequent to that, I have booked a larger space at the Foodservice Australia event.”
Entries to the Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships 2019 will open in August this year.
Dairymont Australian Pizza Championships 2018 full winners’ list
Overall 2018 Winner – Mark Paterno of Arte Bianca (Sydney)
First Overall Runner Up – James Parker of Alphonsus Pizza of The Glen Hotel (QLD)
Second Overall Runner Up – Raffaele Brotzu of Delisio Pizza Romana (WA)
Meat/Poultry Category – Mark Paterno of Arte Bianca (Sydney)
Best Interpretation of Sponsors’ Products Category – Mark Paterno of Arte Bianca (Sydney)
Seafood Category – Michele Circhirillo (repeat winner) of 48H Pizza e Gnocchi Bar (VIC)
Vegetarian or Gluten Free Category – Charlie Lawrence of Lost in a Forest (SA)
Dessert Category – James Parker of Alphonsus Pizza of The Glen Hotel (QLD)
As the Overall Winner, Mr Paterno earned a fishing and golfing experience at Agnes Waters (QLD) while staying in a luxury beachfront apartment at the Sandcastles Resort 1770.