As soon as the knife’s edge grazes the slick ball of dough, Field Manager Jeff Maneval starts the clock and the heat is on. One after another, our cooks bust out primo pies with feverish intensity. First the dough is worked into a floured disc, then tossed out to a perfect circle, covered in sauce and cheese, and hurdled into the gaping oven. Once the pizza is cooked to a golden crisp, our judges critique it for consistency, size, and color, leaving no slice unturned. After four rounds of competition, one person walks away with a little more swagger as the best cook in the company.
Our Best Cook Competition returns like the sun every spring. Many throw their aprons into the ring for a shot at the top spot, but like any proper matchup, there can only be one winner. This year’s throw down saw 19 pro competitors, including last year’s champion back to defend his title.
When it came time for our final round on April 18, that original 19 had been swiftly reduced to a fierce five: Bellevue Square Cook Paige McGaskey, Juanita Cook Blake Campbell, Lake City Way Shift Leader Isaac Sommers, Queen Anne Shift Leader Michael Thornton, and Miller Street Shift Leader Dillon Crocker.
Unfortunately for Michael, our returning champ, the odds weren’t stacked in his favor. Dillon, a first-time Best Cook competitor who brought enough prowess to Round 2 to earn a Wild Card seat in the Finals, tossed a perfect pie. His large Original cheese pizza was better than his rivals’ bar none. Dillon walked away with some extra dough for his efforts and eternal glory as the best cook at Pagliacci.
Congrats to Dillon and the rest of our 2015 Best Cook Competition contestants!