The Expo is proud to announce Iron Chef America Judge Mario Rizzotti will be emceeing our Pizza Pizzazz competition on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
TV audiences know Mario best as the seasoned yet approachable judge on The Food Network’s popular “Iron Chef America”, where he was called to judge Iron Chefs like Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and more.
Mario grew up in Rome, Italy, where his mamma Nives and his brother Massimo, taught him not only the fine art of Italian cooking, but also the art of experiencing food.From there, his passion for food and cuisine evolved.
In his early twenties, Mario moved to the United States to learn more about American cuisine and how they use Italian ingredients in their dishes. After working in the restaurant industry for several years, Mario noticed how Italian cuisine in Italy, differed from that in the U.S. He became passionate about educating Americans on real Italian ingredients, helping them understand what makes them authentic and how they are used in his homeland.
In 2002, Mario joined Academia Barilla as an Italian Culinary Specialist. For over twelve years, Mario traveled throughout the U.S. educating consumers on the differences in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, Italian cheeses and cured meats, and how to distinguish real Italian products from the many fake or” Italian sounding” ones in our markets.
Today, Mario continues to educate Americans through his television appearances, live cooking demonstrations and educational sessions, and by emceeing culinary competitions.
So plan to stop by the competition, see Mario in action and watch as 40 competitors battle for the title of "Best Pizza in the Midwest." Interested in competing? CLICK HERE to sign up now for this year’s Pizza Pizzazz. Your contest registration fee grants you and a guest automatic entry to both days of the Mid-America Restaurant Expo.