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, Maria Pappalardo, co-founder of Rubirosa in New York City, and the Pizza Masters of Cooking Channel fame, Sal Basille and Francis Garcia. Also planned: a New Faces in the Pizza Pantheon roundtable discussion moderated by Scott Wiener, followed by a reception and networking session to take place after the exhibit hall closes on Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday, Oct. 17: Keynote: Maria Pappalardo 10 – 11 am Hear from the owner of Rubirosa, a New York City restaurant renowned for both pizza and pasta.

The son of Giuseppe Pappalardo, who founded Joe & Pat’s on Staten Island, wanted to create an institution like his father’s and locate it in Manhattan. Inspired by the 57-year-old family pizza recipe, A.J. Pappalardo opened his own instant classic in 2009, Rubirosa Pizzeria and Ristorante.

Since then, Rubirosa has drawn consistent praise for its pizza as well as its dishes featuring fresh-made pastas.

In 2015 A.J. tragically passed away from a sudden illness and his sister Maria stepped in to run the family business. Maria describes herself as a “pizza heiress” and “first generation Italian-American,” but as the guiding force at Rubirosa she is pulling off the balancing act of appealing to both old and new neighborhood residents at the location in NoLITA, near Little Italy. She also keeps a hand in the entertainment and media industries, serving as the casting director at Sonic Union for the past seven years.

Maria will tell the story of Rubirosa — and of her family’s second-generation pizzeria and restaurant — during our opening day keynote at Pizza & Pasta Northeast.

Tuesday, Oct. 17: Pizza Special Presentation 10 – 11 am A conversation with Joe Beddia, maker of the "Best Pizza in America" in 2015 as named by Bon Appétit magazine

The owner of Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood runs a one-person shop and closes each day when the dough he makes for crusts runs out. His self-taught craftsmanship caught the attention of Bon Appétit, which named his pies the Best in America. Joe Beddia has written a recently published book, “Pizza Camp,” and is renowned for his skills with dough and pizza prep, as well as his independent personality.

He will be interviewed at Pizza & Pasta Northeast by Peter Reinhart, a baking instructor at Johnson & Wales University and author of the Pizza Quest blog. Reinhart has visited many of the U.S.’s top pizzerias and will talk about the craft of making pizza with Beddia.

Tuesday, Oct. 17: 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:

Paulie Gee — Owner of Paulie Gee’s, which opened in 2010 in Brooklyn, quickly established a name and following, and now has locations in Baltimore, Chicago, Miami and Columbus, Ohio.

Mark Iacono — He founded Lucali in 2016, also in Brooklyn, and gained fame for his “plain pizza pie” as well as house-made meatballs and calzones. He has a second location in Miami.

Roberto Caporuscio — He opened Kesté Pizza & Vino in 2009 after training under Neapolitan master Antonio Starita. There are now three New York City Kesté locations and one Midtown location of Don Antonio by Starita, which Roberto founded with his Italian mentor.

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

Food and drink will be served.

Wednesday, Oct. 18: Keynote: The Pizza Masters 10 – 11 am An hour with the Cooking Channel's Pizza Masters, Sal Basille and Francis Garcia

Sal Basille and Francis Garcia own Artichoke Basille’s Pizza in New York City, which now has 10 locations in New York and far-flung outposts in Berkeley, Calif., and Miami Beach. The pair also host Pizza Masters, a series on the Cooking Channel.

Hear from these humorous cousins about their family’s restaurant roots on Staten Island, their own acclaimed pizzerias and their travels in search of great pies and greater adventures. They first hit the Cooking Channel with their “Pizza Cuz” series, which began airing in 2013.

They’ll reminisce about the old days of New York pizza, talk about their expanding business today and throw in anecdotes about life on the road in search of America’s top pies.

Wednesday, Oct. 18: Future of Pasta Panel Discussion 10 – 11 am Hear from trendsetting chefs about new opportunities for pasta restaurants

Is the current popularity of handmade pasta a trend with legs? Will the gluten-free movement continue to draw adherents that include pasta-lovers? Have we indeed entered a new golden age of pasta with creative sauces and ingredient combinations popping up in casual, neighborhood restaurants? And can pasta go fast-casual?

With Johnson & Wales University instructor and baking expert Peter Reinhart moderating the discussion, our panel of top pasta chefs will discuss what’s hot and what’s not on the pasta menu.

Joining Peter will be Hari Cameron, who drew attention (and a James Beard nomination) at a(MUSE) in Rehoboth Beach, Del., for his upscale bistro menu that includes inventive pastas and now also operates two locations of grandpa(MAC), a fast-casual, handmade pasta concept. Also on the panel is Antimo DiMeo, the chef at Ardé Osteria in Wayne, Pa. He has worked in Michelin-star kitchens under Gennaro Esposito at Ristorante Del Saracino in Italy and under Massimo Larosa at It Ibiza in Spain, where he learned simple approaches to adding new grains to fresh pastas. The third panelist is Lorenzo Boni, the executive chef for Barilla America who previously was at highly rated restaurants in both New York and his native Italy.