Di Bosco, created by Nicola Rexha of Pappa Roma Restaurant in South Kensington, London, has been crowned the National Pizza of the Year at the National Pizza Awards.
Rexha’s Signature Pizza Di Bosco – which means ‘From the Woods’ – was praised by the judges for its seasonality, high quality and perfectly balanced flavours.
“We usually cook by the season in the restaurant and we’re in mushroom season, so for Di Bosco we used wild mushrooms, truffle, stracciatella and 24-month aged parma ham,” says Rexha (pictured centre). “All of the toppings are top quality and chosen in the right season and weather, so that’s the inspiration behind it. And I just really love truffle.
“It feels fantastic. It’s our first competition, so to win is the best. It’s very good for the restaurant and for me as a chef. Wherever you go, you can say that you won a big prize in a big competition and that’s great. I have to work tomorrow, but I am definitely going to celebrate!”
At the Grand Final, which was held on 3 October at Islington Metal Works, London, 13 finalists competed, creating their Technical pizza, which was made with ingredients supplied by Pan’Artisan and Salvo 1968, using a pizza oven from Zanolli, and presenting it to the judges on pizza boards provided by Row and Sons. They then submitted their Signature Pizza, which was created and crafted by them.
The Technical Award went to Glenn Evans of Las Iguanas, capping a remarkable year for him, as he also won 2017’s National Burger Awards in February. The Pizza Chef of the Year – who was selected based on the combined scores in the Technical and Signature Round – was Alessio Alcini of Fountain & Ink, London.
Other sponsors included Artis, who provided every finalist with special pizza knives for their restaurants, and Menuserve, who provided desserts. Beer at the evening event was provided by Birra Moretti.
The National Pizza Awards judges were Luigi Forte, executive chef at Barworks, who won last year’s inaugural competition as head chef at Wenlock and Essex; Rich Cooper, co-founder of Stable Pizza, which won the Technical Award last year through Andy Briggs; and Casual Dining group editor Tristan O’Hana.
The other finalists included John Martin from Dough & Brew, Tony Frawley of Da MARA, Neil Shelley of Craft and Dough, Anna Gorman of The Dolphin in Wellington, Felice Terracciano of Pizza Pilgrims, Pedro Tavares of Bunga Bunga Battersea, Marcello Ricci of Theo’s Pizzeria, Carmine Pisano of Firezza, and Rich Goodwin of Santa Maluco.