In partnership with accredited Chef Associations spread across the globe, the Global Pizza Challenge (GPC) was inaugurated in 2009 by a few professional chef friends with a passion for pizza.
With pizza growing in popularity all around the world at a staggering rate, the chefs wanted to create and develop an international platform for countries to showcase their pizza making skills, cultural flavours and sheer culinary passion.
Entrants, which can be any single individual with a passion for pizza including non-franchise* restaurant chefs, first enter their pizza recipes online. The recipes initially go through an online judging process where after the top recipe owners are selected to take part in a live cook off event in their local city/country. Eventually, winners from each country will participate in a grand final event where the Global Champion is crowned.
The competition has run successfully for almost a decade with numerous professional chefs involved in organising, judging and managing events globally.
Today, the GPC brand is owned and managed by Chef Martin Kobald: culinarian extraordinaire, former President of the South Africa Chefs Association (SACA) and current Vice President of the Worldchefs Association of Chefs, and Jeff ‘the Chef’ Schueremans: world-renowned international chef and judge, and former Vice President & Competition Director of SACA. Both are honorary members of the Academy of Chefs.
Among his many accolades, Martin is also a well renowned international judge, a brand ambassador for a handful of global companies and the owner of Chef Mlk cooking school. Together with Jeff ‘the Chef’ who has cooked for U2 and Nelson Mandela, fed South Africa’s Bafana Bafana world cup football team and is a master of all trades in the hospitality industry, the chefs are working towards making the Global Pizza Challenge a genuinely global experience once again.
*we want to give smaller and new restaurants a chance to promote themselves so we prefer franchises do not enter
Jeff & Martin Partnership
Originally from Belgium, Jeff moved to South Africa in 1982 to ‘live the African dream’ with his then partner and daughter Sofie. Not long after in 1988, Martin, originally from Austria, followed in similar footsteps with his wife Maria.
Jeff & Martin worked under the infamous Billy Gallagher for many years, ended up living in Johannesburg and together they have achieved some pretty awesome feats including giving back to the community through the World Cooks Tour for Hunger:
The chefs will be conquering Machu Picchu in Peru in June 2018
Climbed Mount Simien in Ethiopia in aid of the World Cooks Tour for Hunger
Partnered up as the sole owners of the Global Pizza Challenge brand
You can read more about their impressive individual accolades in the judges’ bios section.
History of Pizza
The word pizza is Italian for ‘pie’, and it is a common belief that pizza was invented by Italians. However, the history of pizza goes back to ancient times in the Middle East. Back then, the Armenians, Israelis, Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians would cook flat bread in mud ovens and use oil and spice to enhance their flavour.
Founded around 600 B.C. as a Greek Settlement, Naples was a thriving waterfront city. In 1522 tomatoes were brought to Europe and found their way into the diets of the poorer people of Naples, who used them on their yeast dough, creating the first simple pizza. These pizzas were highly popular because flour, olive oil, lard, cheese, and herbs were often available. All of Italy proclaimed the Neapolitan ‘pies’ to be the best. The first known pizza shop was opened in Port Alba in Naples by baker Raffaele Esposito and is still there today.
Legend has it that Esposito was called upon to make a pizza for Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita when they visited Naples in 1889. That pizza, which featured fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, is still known as Pizza Margherita today.