Amazing Woodfired Pizza Co: Shrewsbury's Amazing pizza maker wins Pizza Chef of the Year award

The Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company’s chef, Ian Richards, has been named Pizza Chef of the Year in the Bel UK Cantafrais Soft Cheese Topping category at the annual PAPA (Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association) awards.

Ian, who grew up and lives in Shrewsbury, won the final cook-off against the winners of four other regional heats from all over the UK. He received his award during a glittering ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel in London, hosted by award-winning celebrity chef and restaurateur, Aldo Zilli, who is well-known for making his own delicious and connoisseur pizzas.

Ian said: “I am absolutely over the moon and tremendously proud to have put Shrewsbury on the UK pizza map in this way. The competition was really strong and many of the chefs and the outlets they work for are bigger and much more established than we are. But it just goes to show that if you are dedicated to delivering the highest quality, using the best ingredients and not being afraid to try something new, you can compete and win against the big players.

“We like to think that we bring something different and original and give our customers a really tasty, special experience they won’t forget. We don’t do ordinary – we try to make every pizza we prepare genuinely amazing.”

The chefs were required to create new and exciting recipes using specific ingredients to demonstrate their creative skills. Ian’s winning effort was a newly created pizza, soon to be on the Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company menu, which included a garlic base, freshly made pesto, mushrooms,  caramelised onion, fresh basil and balsamic syrup and, of course, Bel UK Cantafrais soft cheese.

He won his place in the final by beating seven rivals during the Midlands’ heat of the contest and in the Soft Cheese Pizza Chef of the Year category of the awards, which are run and presented by the UK’s Pizza Pasta and Italian Food Association (www.papa.org.uk).

Ian joined the Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company earlier his year and has quickly built up a reputation with customers, said manager Kim Ford: “Ian has his own particular style and our customers just love his pizzas. He’s a brilliant chef and in my view a worthy winner of the award. It is great news for us as a business too; having an award-winning chef can only help to attract more customers.”

The Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company cooks its pizzas using prime ingredients, hand-made bases which are especially prepared and cooked-to-order in a wood-fired oven. This gives the pizzas a unique and quite distinct taste.

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Pete White Pete White

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