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Pizza Expo 2018 - Tom Tallarico Bids Farewell to the Expo Hall and Meets Pizza Celebrities

Pizza ExpoDan TallaricoComment

Hi folks! This is Dan Tallarico, Editor at Pizza Walk With Me, with another recap from our columnist, Tom Tallarico. This is his third and final dispatch from the 2018 Pizza Expo. While we won't hear about the rest of his Vegas trip rest assured it included a number of buffets and hunks of meat! If you'd like to start at the beginning you can read his prequel/first day recap of Pizza Expo here. His second day recap is available here!

Day 3 continues with the International Pizza Challenge & the World Pizza Games along with informative seminars & cooking demos; most documenting the Evolution of Pizza.  I’ll first mention that the convention seems to be getting bigger every year. The exhibits (food, food, food) have been documented in the past. This year’s array of foodstuffs is more opulent than ever.  And it seems there are more local Pittsburgh Pizza Makers here than ever. Good to see. 

Attended a morning seminar; “New Twists on Old Appetizers” conducted by frequent contributors Glenn Cybulski & Mike Bausch.  The new “twists” involve Garlic Knots which are fried instead of baked to reduce prep time, utilizing Portabella Mushroom Caps stuffed as you wish & ingenious Eggplant Parm where Eggplant is sliced, covered with Panko & deep fried. Slices are then lined up with alternating Mozz slices, covered with sauce & sprinkled with Parm/Romano. 

Pizza Expo Appetizers

A big kick for me was having a chat with Nick Coniglio from Brooklyn & Williamsburg Pizza.  

Williamsburg Pizza

Nick was Pizza Maker of the year in 2016 & Brooklyn all the way. He is a colorful character with a witty sense of humor along with an intelligent passion for Pizza making. He actually spent some significant time in Pittsburgh in his formative years before returning to Brooklyn to become a Pizza hero. Actually got a picture taken with him. He seemed pleased to hear that it was going on my “Celebrity Wall” between Ditka & Jon Stewart. He then repeated Ditka, Ditka, Ditka with the typical Chicago emphasis. Look forward to visiting on next visit to NYC. He conducted the seminar “My Champion Pizzas”.  I documented last year’s seminar. I recall his key points along with his delightful presentation style; much humor with even more valuable information: 

Nino’s Pizza rules include:

  • Put ingredients on evenly (very, very important).
  • Don’t overload the pie.
  • NO Dried Rosemary (not sure if this is a rule or a pet peeve).

By Day 3, the Pizza Challenge is at its peak. Following are examples of the competitive Pies in various categories.

The Big News today is that also competing & Winning is Eric Von Hansen from Caliente’s. Today, Eric won Northeast title for the Non-Traditional Division.

Pizza Expo Non Traditional Division Results
Eric Von Hansen Caliente Pizza

Of course, as documented, Eric won the overall title of Champion/Non-Traditional Division in the finals on the following day. Congratulations, Eric! That makes 2 overall Championships in 3 years; Champion in the Pan division in 2016. Very exciting & quite an achievement. 

Day ended with another stroll through the Exhibit Hall for final snacks. I believe a Steak dinner is in my immediate future before one last day at the Expo tomorrow. 

Pizza Expo Pizza Challenge
Pizza Expo Pizza Challenge