Real California Milk kicks off the 6th annual search for pizza innovation using California cheese and dairy. The 2024 contest includes a new format, new categories, and more than $28k in cash prizes.

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) is currently accepting submissions for the 2024 Real California Pizza Contest, the sixth annual search for the best pizza recipes using Real California cheese and dairy. The contest, which is open to professional chefs and culinary students throughout the U.S., will award prize money totaling $28,500 for the most innovative uses of cow’s milk cheeses from California. The entry submission period runs through May 17th.

This year’s contest simplifies submissions into two new categories: Protein and Produce. Protein pizza recipes will highlight meat toppings in combination with Real California Mozzarella and other Real California cheeses. Produce pizza recipes will emphasize the delicious flavors of vegetables and fruits paired with Real California Mozzarella and other Real California cheeses.

“Each year we bring the best of the best in pizza together to showcase how California cheeses and dairy ingredients – paired with protein, produce, or both – are essential tools for pizza flavor and innovation,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “We look forward to reviewing the submissions that celebrate California’s leading foodservice cheese, mozzarella, and our many cheese varieties.”

All entries will be evaluated, with the top four recipes in each category selected as finalists. The eight finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to compete head-to-head at a bake-off event on August 7th at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, Calif. During the bake-off, the eight chefs will compete in a separate three-cheese pizza event, where they will be randomly paired and charged with crafting a signature three-cheese pizza selected from the wide array of cheeses made with Real California Milk.

The winners of the Protein and Produce categories will each receive $7,500, and the pair of winning chefs in the three-cheese bake-off will split $7,500. All other finalists will receive $750 each. Both competitions will be judged by an esteemed panel of award-winning pizza chefs, including 13-time world pizza champion Tony Gemignani, renowned pizza chef Glen Cybulski, and 2023 Real California Pizza Contest grand prize winner Bill Crawford of Righteous Slice in Idaho.

Professional chefs and culinary students can review the contest details, official rules, and submit entries at This year’s entry form includes the pizza name, a photograph, and a brief description detailing the recipe concept and use of Real California dairy. Chefs can choose from more than 250 varieties and styles of cheeses that feature the Real California Milk seal, which means they are made with sustainably sourced milk from California’s more than 1,100 family dairy farms.

**Content provided in collaboration with The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB)

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