Industry News | February 22, 2013

CiCi's Crowns Third-Annual Pizza Throwdown Winner

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CiCi’s Pizza announced the winner of its third-annual CiCi’s Pizza Throwdown, held in Murphy, Texas.

With artisan precision and lightning speed, Angel Roldan of the Garland, Texas, CiCi’s Pizza restaurant on North Jupiter Road, stretched, sauced, and baked a full buffet of CiCi’s pizzas, desserts, and garlic parmesan knots in just 24 minutes and 9 seconds, earning him the national title.

He also wins $2,500 in cash, a home entertainment center, and the Crystal Pizza Cutter Award. The company will further honor him by putting his name on a CiCi’s distribution truck that will travel more than 100,000 miles in 2013 to deliver supplies to CiCi’s Pizza restaurants across the nation.

Only 21 seconds separated the top three places for an extremely tight race. Other results include:

  • Second place: Maria Enriquez of Columbia, South Carolina, who narrowly missed the lead with her time of 24 minutes and 25 seconds, will receive a laptop computer, printer, and $1,500. She also has the distinction of being tied for fastest dough stretcher with her sister, Erika, who also competed.
  • Third place: Elizabeth Cruz of Roeland Park, Kansas, who won for overall quality and whose time was just 5 seconds behind Enriquez, already has a Crystal Pizza Cutter award as winner of the first CiCi’s Pizza Throwdown. She wins an iPad 2 with a $50 iTunes gift card and $1,000.
  • Fourth place: Erika Dominguez, of Columbia, South Carolina, who competed alongside her sister Maria Enriquez, will receive a Kindle Fire HD, a $50 Amazon gift card, and $500.

The pizza artisans have been training all year to vie for the national title, competing in local and regional events beginning in October with a starting field of more than 200 competitors.

Roldan, who has been featured in CiCi’s training videos to demonstrate quality and speed, says he will use his cash prize to purchase a breathing machine for his sister, who suffers acute allergies.

“Angel really demonstrated the kind of skill that makes CiCi’s America’s favorite pizza chain, and we congratulate him on his outstanding win,” says CiCi’s Pizza director of people development Chris Patterson. “Our annual Throwdown inspires pizza artisans at all of our restaurants to perfect their skills throughout the year, and we hope they will start training now for next year.”

Contestants hone their pizza-making skills daily at every CiCi’s Pizza, where team members keep nearly 30 pizza varieties in rotation on CiCi’s pizza, pasta, salad, soup, and dessert buffet.

Other final results include:

  • Overall competition: Angel Roldan, 24 minutes, 9 seconds  
  • Best quality:Elizabeth Cruz
  • Fastest dough stretching: Maria Enriquez and Erika Dominguez (tie), 2 minutes, 51 seconds
  • Fastest sauce and cheese time:Angel Roldan, 4 minutes, 9 seconds
  • Fastest cook time:Angel Roldan, 3 minutes, 57 seconds