A pizza maker in Peterborough is proving that he is hot stuff after cooking his way into a prestigious baking competition.
Peter Puntrello, manager at the SubXpress Pizzaoutlet in Serpentine Green, Hampton, cooked up his own pizza recipe to impress the judges at the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association’s annual competition.
His table-topping pizza used Boursin garlic and herb cheese as one of its key ingredients but also featured spreadable cheese as a base instead of a normal tomato base.
He then topped off the lip-smacking pizza with sweet baby tomatoes, fresh Sicilian buffalo mozzarella, wild smoked Alaska salmon, and Sicilian pistachio.
He even had to write to the judges with a description of his pizza and if they like what they read then he gets invited to the regional heats.
The recipe was inspired by Peter’s Sicilian roots and a recent visit to the island.
Chefs in the area regularly put pistachio nuts on the menu and Peter now hopes to use them more often.
He said: “Where I come from there is an abundance of pistachios and I really got it into my head to use them.
“I think the ingredients really work well together.
“I tried and tested it with the customers and it’s sensational.”
He was invited to London for the regional finals where he was hoping to improve on his third placed position in 2009 but sadly it was not to be at the regional heats.
Peter said: “Just to reach the semi-final is a great accolade, especially when you think how many pizza houses there are in the country.
“All the entrants have to cook on the same oven and you don’t know what to expect.
“Some people use wood fired ovens while others have electric ones but on the day of the competition you’re all in the same boat.
“It’s a competition for all kinds of pizzas, including Iceland’s frozen selection, M&S finest and independent stores like ours.”
Shoppers in Serpentine Green will be able to try the award nominated pizza when the new menu is launched.
But the sandwich and pizza shop is no stranger to national accolades, tasting success in other competitions.
Earlier this year Peter came close to scooping an Oscar of the sandwich world in Sandwich Designer of the Year category at the British Sandwich Association Awards.
He made it through to the final at the Lancaster Hotel in London with a brie and home-made apple and cranberry relish, served with rocket leaves.
Chantelle Watson, manager of the shopping centre, said: “I think it is absolutely fabulous, particularly for an independent. Peter is a valuable tenant who plays an important part in the centre.”