The Ultimate Pizza Showdown: The World Pizza Championship


Picture the scene: the tantalising aromas of freshly baked dough, melting cheese and sweet tomato sauce, coupled with the heady thrill of fiercely contested competition. What could be more appealing to a pizza lover than the World Pizza Championship?

A Rich History

Held annually in Parma, Italy, this prestigious event brings together over 700 of the world’s top pizza makers from over 52 countries to compete in a battle of skill, creativity, and passion.

Since the inaugural championship, organized by Pizza E Pasta Italiana magazine in 1991, it has grown into a global phenomenon, the ultimate test to find the world’s best pizzaiolo, and a staple event in the culinary world’s calendar.

Over the past three decades, the championships have taken place every year bar 2020 and 2021 when it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Competition

Each pizzaiolo is given a set amount of time to create his or her masterpiece, whether that be a classic Margherita or a more innovative combination of toppings. Judges assess each pizza based on its appearance, aroma, taste, and presentation, with contestants also rated on culinary prowess, innovation, pizza knowledge, and hygiene. The highest score available is 800 for a truly perfect pizza.

Championship Categories

There are 12 categories to test the skills of the hopeful pizzaiolo: six for baking, three for pizza games, the pizza team award, the Heinz Beck trophy for pizzeria chefs, and the triathlon award. Competition is fierce, with each category having its own set of winners and runners-up. The judges will apply penalties to contestants who run over the specified time limit for each category.

Baking Categories:

  • Classic Pizza – 12 minutes. The pizza must be round in shape and may be baked in a wood or electric oven. This category offers the greatest freedom to the pizzaiolo.
  • Gluten-Free Pizza – 12 minutes. All ingredients must be gluten-free.
  • Pan Pizza – 30 minutes.
  • Neapolitan STG Pizza – 10 minutes. Pizzas must be baked in a wood-fired oven and adhere to the strict Pizza Napoletana TSG guidelines.
  • Roman Pizza – 20 minutes. The pizza must be put in and taken out of the oven using the pizza peel provided.
  • Pizza a Due (team pizza-making) – 20 minutes. A chef and pizza-maker must work together to create a unique dish.

Games Categories:

  • Largest Pizza
  • Freestyle Pizza
  • The Fastest Speed

Special Categories:

  • World Pizza Team – 6 team members compete in every baking category.
  • Heinz Beck Trophy – designed by Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck and awarded for ‘best first course at the pizzeria’.
  • Triathlon – awarded for the highest average score in three separate baking categories.

You can see the official rankings of the world’s best pizza makers 2024 here.

The World Pizza Championship is a celebration of passion, creativity, and community. It’s a testament to the power of food to bring people together and showcases the artistry of pizzaiolos from around the world. If you’re a pizza lover or just looking for a unique culinary experience, mark your calendars for next year’s championship – you won’t want to miss it!