What’s not to love about pizza? The alchemical mix of dough, sauce, cheese and toppings were celebrated over the three days of Hostex powering Food & Hospitality Africa, with an array of chefs showcasing their best pizza recipe. Visitors to the show were able to sit down in the demonstration area and watch the pizza action unfold and, if they got their timing right, get a taste of the pizzas for themselves.

The (extremely lucky) judges (which included Philippe Frydman, Stuart Cason, George Georgiou, Adrian Vigus-Brown and Jeff Schueremans)  put each pizza through its paces and at the end of the show it was Chef Pinky Maruping of Unilever Food Solutions who took the overall prize of R15 000 with a chicken tikka masala naan pizza. Shannon Kinsella from Totally Kosher won the prize for “best vegetarian/vegan pizza”, and took home R5 000. Kevin Tomlinson’s pizza had the best use of ANGT Nonions, and he won R3000.

“I feel blessed, thankful and honoured to be the champion of the South African Global pizza challenge,” says Pinky Maruping. On her winning pizza, Pinky believes it was her out-of-the-box thinking that gave her the winning edge. “I love Indian food, so I innovated the recipe based on what I love and knew that it will have the winning flavours that I know very well. The flavours were balanced and broke the norm of a traditional Italian pizza base and topping.”

Working as a Regional Customer Chef with Unilever Food Solutions, Pinky is no stranger to cooking for a crowd. “I loved it, it was incredible,” says Pinky on creating her pizza in front of the Hostex visitors. “It’s easy for me to stand in front of a crowd when I am passionate and confident about what I am presenting.”

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