Battling for the best pizza 

Chef Tim Andreson presents his Lumberjack pizza to judges at the Canadian Pizza Summit in Toronto. Photo: Facebook

Morris East Chef Tim Andreson returns from competition in Toronto with ideas and inspiration aplenty

He didn’t win the title, but Morris East‘s Tim Andreson learned a lot battling for the “Pizza Chef of the Year” title at the recent Canadian Pizza Summit in Toronto.

No stranger to competition, Andreson came third in 2015 at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. The Canadian Pizza Summit, held in Toronto, was a one-day event exclusively for pizzeria and restaurant owners and operators.

 “The Canadian Pizza Summit is no joke,” says Andreson. “The atmosphere was electric with 22 competitors being judged by some the best chefs in the country.”

Chef Andreson made the Morris East Lumberjack Pizza, already touted on the Marilyn Dennis Show as one of the four best pizzas in Canada. The Lumberjack features an ensemble of sausage and smoked bacon from Cavicchi’s Meats on a thin crust, covered with tomato sauce, caramelized onion, smoked applewood cheddar cheese, fried rosemary, and topped off with a maple drizzle, reflecting the restaurant’s locally-sourced philosophy.

“The highlight of entering a competition like this is always the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other pizzaiolos and hear about the new things they are working on to further their pizza game,” says Andreson. “On this trip, for example, we discovered a possible new bench flour … We are testing this new flour to see if we can cook our pizzas at a higher oven temperature. There were also some really excellent plant-based pizza ideas. The whole event is a spectacle of creative pizza ideas, so it gets the creativity flowing.”

Chef Tim Andreson and Morris East owner Jennie Dobbs. Photo: Facebook

The Lumberjack is a customer-favourite at Morris East and made plenty of fans in Toronto, but Andreson couldn’t quite cinch the title.

“I struggled with my presentation at the judge’s table,” he says. “Other competitors brought more pomp and circumstance when they delivered their pizzas, like pouring little glasses of wine for the judges to be paired with their pizzas. So, I will know next time to present with more flair. But, all in all, a wonderful time for all who love making and eating pizza.”  

For Morris East owner Jennie Dobbs, who also attended the event, the main takeaway is that there’s always more to learn in this business.

“I don’t think we necessarily think pizza evolves over time, but it really does,” she says. “There are always new ingredients, methods, pizza ovens, and styles, and I need to stay up to date on everything that is going on in the industry. We take great pride in what we do, and it’s fun to bring our pizzas to a competition.”

And back in the kitchen, there’s always a new pie in the works.

“We are just about to make a seasonal change to our winter menu,” Dobbs says.  First, we have a gourmet Donair pizza where we make everything in-house … And if that isn’t enough to excite you, there will also be a super-fresh tandoori chicken pizza with yogurt raita drizzle.”

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