Competitions & Events

Pizza & Pasta Northeast will be abuzz with competitions to crown the best pizza and pasta chefs in the region. They'll be preparing their entries where all can see in the contest areas on the exhibit hall floor, adding to the excitement of the trade show. Special events are planned in the morning on both show days before the exhibits open at 11 a.m. Making appearances at 10 a.m. will be, among others, Frank Pinello — from operating one of Brooklyn's hottest pizzeria to starring in The Pizza Show, and Anthony Falco who is a world-renowned pizza consultant who first made a name for himself at the famed Roberta's. Also planned: The Next Wave of American Pizza, Moderated by Scott Wiener — Our Man on the Street, will sit down for a Q&A with some young guns who are making big waves on the American pizza scene, which will be followed by a reception and networking session to take place after the exhibit hall closes on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday, Oct. 3: Keynote: Frank Pinello 10 – 11 am Many have heard the call, but only Frank Pinello, host of Viceland's The Pizza Show and owner of Best Pizza in Williamsburg, NY, has been chosen to travel the world in search of the best pie.

When Frank Pinello opened eight years ago, he wanted to provide his neighborhood with a grab-and-go pizzeria where they could drop in, snag a slice and a brew, and be on their way in less than three minutes. For Frank, a pizzeria has always been about a place you walk in a grab a slice of pizza. That’s key in New York!


Frank follows old-world traditions from Napoli, though he’s always looking to experiment with new ideas and techniques for his dough, and he’s committed to using fresh local ingredients whenever possible in order to put out the best possible product at an inexpensive price. Frank grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and Long Island, NY. Growing up Frank learned the secrets of cooking from his Sicilian grandmother in her basement kitchen. These formative years influenced his decision to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park to turn his passion for pizza into a career. After graduating, Frank’s journey continued while making pizza at Giacomo’s and Roberta’s. In 2016, Frank teamed with Matt DiGesu to open Pizzeria LaRosa, a full bar/sit-down restaurant.


What makes his pizza so special is his signature dough recipe using non-traditional flours. He offers what every pizza aficionado wants—that 00 flour pizza dough, cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven, with an acidic tomato sauce and homemade mozzarella. They currently make about four batches of dough each day, which produces approximately 200 pies a day. Their routine is to start the 24-hour fermentation process in the middle of the day, so they are always a day ahead.


Frank is currently a hot commodity across the globe and has worked on projects in Hong Kong, the UK, Canada and the Middle East. From starting the oven fire to making dough, Frank will give you insight into the inner workings of his slice joint. He’ll talk shop and uncover a few of his secrets during this Pizza & Pasta Northeast kick-off session.

Wedensday, Oct. 13: New Faces in the Pizza Pantheon 5 – 7 pm A panel discussion featuring a new generation of the region's best pizza makers

Join moderator Scott Wiener, of Scott’s New York Pizza Tours, for a wide-ranging discussion of pizza’s traditions and pizza’s future. The New York-based panelists are:

Anthony Falco — The founding pizza maker at Roberta’s in Brooklyn is now a pizza consultant. He built his reputation when he was the pizza chef at famed Brooklyn’s pizzeria, Roberta’s. For the past two years Anthony has helped pizzeria owners from Iowa to Kuwait City perfect their pizzas using locally sourced ingredients.

Matt Hyland — Executive Chef and co-owner of Pizza Loves Emily restaurants, EMILY and EMILY SQUARED. Specializing in several different styles. EMILY pays homage to his childhood memories, serving thin crust, New York / New Haven style pizza with inventive toppings, baked in a wood-burning oven. At EMMY SQUARED they serve Detroit-inspired pizza, a style known for its distinctive square shape, crispy bottom, fluffy dough. cheesy “frico” crust and sugnature sauce stripes adorning the top the pizza. His pizzas have been praised as some of the best pizza in New York and U.S. Not to mention, his burgers are staples on many of the ‘best burger’ lists.

Justin Bazdarich — Owner of Speedy Romeo in New York City.

This event will conclude with a reception and networking session for all Pizza & Pasta Northeast attendee.

Food and drink will be served.

Thursday, Oct. 4: Keynote: Justin Bazadarich 10 – 11 am A conversation with Justin Bazdarich, owner of Speedy Romeo in New York City.

Speedy Romeo is named after one of the owners’ family’s champion race horse. The owner, Justin Bazdarich, is know for his riffs, the culinary kind, has a wood-fired pizza oven painted like rocker Eddie Van Halen’s guitar. His signature pizzas include Paul’s Boutique Pizza, KC Royale and the St. Louie. Paul’s Boutique Pizza starts with a dough that’s made from a blend of double-zero and high-gluten flours, which results in an airy, yet textured crust. It’s then topped with a Dijon mustard bechamel sauce, pastrami, smoked red cabbage kraut and fontina cheese. The KC Royale is a clam-studded white pizza that also includes pancetta, kale, fontina and lemon. The St. Louie is made with San Marzano tomato sauce, provel cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni and pickled chilies.