One might expect the finest pizza-maker in the world to be an Italian, however the judges at a recent international competition held in Naples, Italy came up with a different result. The international bake-off organized by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Association for Genuine Neapolitan Pizza ) hosted a field of nearly 150 cooks from around the world including Italy, Spain, France and the U.S., with expert chefs all going head to head to make the finest example of the favorite Italian food.
After the ovens had cooled, it was official: The world’s best maker of traditional Neapolitan pizza is a 33-year-old Japanese chef named Akinari Makishima. Mr. Makishima became the first Japanese man to win the annual international event to the surprise of many locals who were not expecting the King of Pizza to be Japanese.
Makishima attributes his recent victory to his close attention to minute detail and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying: "I earnestly copied absolutely every aspect of how to make a traditional Neapolitan pizza so that mine tasted like a true Neapolitan pizza as much as possible."
Akinari currently works as a chef at Cesari, an Italian restaurant in Nagoya, Japan, but he once worked and trained at a pizzeria in Naples. Apparently the Japanese reputation for crafting highly accurate reproductions extends to food too, as it is the attention to detail in reproducing non-native food in the restaurants in Japan that has helped make the country one of the world’s top food destinations today. Even for pizza.