The U.S. Pizza Team, sponsored by PMQ Magazine, recently returned home from the 2017 World Pizza Championship with multiple awards.

Held May 8-10 in Parma, Italy, the competition featured hundreds of the world’s best pizza chefs from over 30 countries taking on each other in culinary categories  such as Classico, Neapolitan, Gluten Free Pizza, Pan Pizza, Pizza for Two (one pizza made by a team of two pizzaiolos), and Pizza on the Peel. The athletic categories were Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pie Maker, and Freestyle Acrobatics.

U.S. Pizza Team rookie Dan Uccello, owner of Flo’s Pizzeria in Grand Rapids, Michigan, won 1st Place USA. He outscored all other American competitors by earning 744 points in the Classic category and 865 points with partner Alex Garcia, the manager at Flo’s Pizzeria, in the Pizza for Two competition.

Earning top American honors “was totally unexpected,” Uccello says. “There was a lot of good competition out here, so I’m just very thankful. I love this team, so I’m really, really happy to represent them.”

Another American competitor, Ali Haider of 786 Degrees in Los Angeles, won  1st Place India by being  categorized under WPC rules as an Indian competitor after growing up in that country. Haider is also the first Muslim member in U.S. Pizza Team history.

“My approach to pizza is inspired by my heritage, but updated to bridge taste trends across the globe,” Haider says.