By the time the Papa John's Specialty Pizza Challenge stopped accepting new entries on June 14, 2010, more than 12,000 people had submitted their best pizza recipes via Facebook for a chance to win pizza and prizes worth $35,000. Now that the judges have narrowed the field down to just three top finalists and the winning recipes have been revealed, we can take a closer look at what it takes to make a national-class pizza.
Papa John's celebrity judging panel consisting of Adam Kuban of the Slice Blog, Rich Eisen of the NFL Network, Ted Allen of the Food Network's Chopped, and Doug Bond, Papa John's executive chef, all awarded points based on each pizza’s appearance, aroma, taste and overall appeal. In reducing the field down to a final top ten recipes, the finalists seemed to be dominated by a spicy theme with seven of the ten recipes including jalapeņos as a topping. When the field was narrowed to just the top three recipes, two of them again featured jalapeņos.
Papa John’s Facebook page also showed the popularity of the peppers with 20 percent of the 12,000 recipes received featuring jalapeņos. The top three recipes that will be featured on the Papa John’s menu during the month of August are the Big Bonanza, the Workin’ Fire, and the Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu.
The Big Bonanza was submitted by Blair Dial of Springfield, Illinois and features original crust with barbecue sauce, bacon, beef, ham, jalapeņos, onions, and roma tomatoes. The Workin’ Fire was submitted by Kendra Chapman of Ball Ground, Georgia and combines original crust with tomato sauce, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, jalapeņos, pepperoni, and spicy Italian sausage. The Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu created by Barbara Hyman of Los Angeles, California employed original crust with spinach Alfredo sauce, a three-cheese blend, grilled chicken, ham, onions, and extra cheese.
The three finalists will each get $1,000 to help market their pizza throughout August. The recipe that sells the most will be the overall winner and the author will receive a portion of the sales the winning pizza recipe generates across the country (up to $10,000). The winner will also enjoy free Papa John’s pizza for life, and the opportunity to appear in a “Papa’s In The House” TV commercial.