Hunger Games: 2014 Cook Competition

April 25th, 2014

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Every year our cooks go head to head in an epic battle of skill. Many compete in our annual Cook Competition, but only one cook climbs to the top as our true toss boss. Each location nominates a representative – be they crewmember, shift leader, associate manager or general manager – to face the challenge. The test is to toss, sauce, top, cook, baste and slice one perfect large Original cheese pizza. After their pie is pulled from the oven, our field managers and operations team, headed up by Field Manager Jeff Maneval, judge them on speed and quality, since these are the parameters on which our customers judge us. With crew, customers, friends and family watching the cooks’ every move during the competition, our kitchen quickly transforms into a pressure cooker.

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During three heated preliminary rounds, most of our cooks turned their ball of dough into a pizza in under 40 seconds. But, three cooks beat out the competition with their primo pies: Queen Anne Shift Leader Michael Thornton, Madison Cook Emma Nauman and Old Bellevue (Main Street) Cook Jason Legaspi. These three show that the best cooks aren’t always our managers.

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During the final round on Saturday, April 19, Michael, Emma and Jason, were each handed a pizza peel and a ball of dough for one last chance at top chef glory. In the end, our judges sized up each pizza and found one to be supreme based on the time it took to make and overall quality. Michael’s was the winner.

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Because many of our delivery kitchens see a higher volume of orders, with folks dining in, carrying out and ordering delivery, the cooks at these locations are tested on speed and quality more often than those working at our pizzerias. But, Michael proved that speed and consistency in our pizza is found company wide.

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Michael walked away with an XBox One and major bragging rights as the best cook at Pagliacci. You can test his handy work for yourself. Stop by our Queen Anne pizzeria to get a taste of pizza perfection!