Simon is best with pizza

He’s best by name and best by nature when it comes to making pizzas. Queensland restaurateur and chef Simon Best has beaten a field of international pizza makers to take out the top prize in the Fonterra Foodservices Global Pizza Challenge, an international pizza competition held in Melbourne over the weekend.

More than 400 people gathered to watch Best, who owns Augello’s restaurant in Mooloolaba, get the judges nod with his hot smoked salmon pizza.

Best made it through to the international final of the competition by first winning the Australian leg of the event that was held last week. He was joined in the international final by Australia’s Massimo Mele, executive chef from the Hugos Group, who tied with Best in the Australian leg.

The pair went head to head with pizza makers from the US, South Africa, Italy, Austria and Vietnam in the global cook off held at Carlton’s Piazza Italia.

Best said he designed the pizza specially for the competition but was yesterday preparing to add it to the menu of his restaurant. “Yes I’ll definitely been putting it on,” he said this morning from Augello’s.

The winning pizza starts with a house made salsa verde spread on a base that has been infused with parmesan and dill. It’s then topped with baby spinach and then the hot smoked Huon salmon.

“It is like a fillet of salmon and you just break it up like any sort of fresh fish,” said Best. “Then you add some parmesan and then a bit of red onion jam, and a little bit of cheese.

“When it comes out I drizzle a caper and lemon mayonnaise over so that every bite you get a little bit of that. And on top of that was a little bit of salmon caviar.”

It was the first time the international event, which is the brain child of Australian chef and foodservice consultant, Glenn Austin, had included Australian competitors.

Austin, who was head judge at the Global Pizza Challenge, said the calibre of entrants was extremely high, as was the level of creativity.

“I was impressed with the range of ideas and could see a clear, emerging trend in the pizza industry which will become more apparent over the next few months,” he said.

“Simon’s pizza demonstrates how a few ingredients can pack a fantastic taste experience; pizza provides a high quality dining experience.”

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Monday, May 17, 2010
by author: 
Rosemary Ryan