Local chef aiming to put Shrewsbury on the UK pizza map

The Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company’s chef, Ian Richards, has made it through the finals of the PAPA Pizza Chef of the Year Awards, which are run and presented by the UK’s Pizza Pasta and Italian Food Association (www.papa.org.uk).

Ian, who is from Shrewsbury, reached the final by winning the Midlands’ heat of the Soft Cheese Pizza Chef of the Year category  against seven other pizza chefs from the region, most of whom had taken part in the event before. He now goes on to compete against five other regional winners in the national final, which takes place at the Lancaster Hotel in London next month.

Ian, who joined the Amazing Woodfired Pizza Company in February, said: “I’m delighted to have got through to the final. Competing against other chefs from all over the Midlands was quite a daunting experience – especially as most of them had done it before and it was my first time. I also had to use an electric oven instead of the special wood-fired over we have in Shrewsbury – but thankfully I still managed to get across something of the unique taste that we do get from the way we cook our pizzas at Amazing Pizza. Having come through the heat, I’m feeling really confident and keen to give it a real go in the final. It would be fantastic to win and put Shrewsbury on the UK pizza map.”

As well as being able to call itself Pizza Chef of the Year, the winning company gets £750 from Just East to spend on local advertising and promotional activity. Kim Ford, manager of the shop on Smithfield Road, is hoping that will persuade more people to give the firm’s pizzas a try. “Ian is a great chef and he really deserves the recognition – it’s quite an achievement just to make it to the final. He cooks every pizza to order and takes great pride in his work. With his skill and dedication, and the unique flavour from a real wood-fired oven, you get a really great, mouth-watering result every time.”

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Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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