Tshwane triumphs again in local leg of Global Pizza Challenge

Chef Mark Coombe took inspiration from his Cornish roots for his winning pizza recipe, which featured a unique parsnip and pumpkin sauce

02 September 2021 - 06:00
Chef Mark Coombe puts the finishing touches on the winning pizza in the Global Pizza Challenge SA 2021.
Chef Mark Coombe puts the finishing touches on the winning pizza in the Global Pizza Challenge SA 2021.
Image: Supplied

Chef Fortunata Mazzone of Forti Grill & Bar in Tshwane walked off with top honours in the Global Pizza Challenge for his seafood extravaganza of a pizza in 2020. This year another chef from the capital has triumphed.

Chef Mark Coombe, principal of Capsicum Culinary Studio in Tshwane, beat out 12 other finalists in the local leg of this international contest.

For his winning pizza, he took the Italian original back to his UK roots “just to be a little different from the norm”.

His interpretation featured a pumpkin and parsnip pizza sauce inspired by the abundance of freshly grown produce from his hometown, Newquay in Cornwall.

As Coombe is a big fan of different and fun-flavoured sausages, he included slices of a homemade pork and leek variety as one of the toppings. “They represent the land,” he said.

He added anchovies to represent Newquay’s active fishing harbour, and kale to signify the sea.

The toppings on chef Mark Coombe's winning pizza included homemade pork and leek sausage, anchovies and kale.
The toppings on chef Mark Coombe's winning pizza included homemade pork and leek sausage, anchovies and kale.
Image: Supplied

His tips for a winning pizza? A decent homemade dough that's been given time to prove as this helps to incorporate air into it and quality ingredients for the topping — but not too many of them as this can confuse the palate. “It's the 'less is more' principle,” he said.

Coombe entered the competition to encourage his students, believing that seeing him participating would be “the final push” they needed to do the same.  

The chef's win sees him bag a R15,000 prize, a floating cup and the right to represent SA in the international leg of the Global Pizza Challenge.

Hopefully he'll continue to follow in Mazzone's footsteps and bring that trophy home to Tshwane too.


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