Silver Award-Winning Detroit Pizza Maker Aims for Pizza Expo 2023 Gold

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Each year, the best pizza makers in the world gather for the International Pizza Challenge at Pizza Expo. Hudson & Packard’s Chef/Owner Charlie Webb was one of them. He brought his trusty 8×10 LloydPans to the competition — and he won second place.

Webb started making Detroit-style pizza at home around 2013, and he visited the LloydPans website, bought a couple of 10×14-size pans, and never looked back. Now a successful owner of a pizzeria specializing in Detroit pizzas, he’s always wanted to attend Pizza Expo and finally got the chance last March. 

“It was our first year in attendance, and the second place finish was definitely unexpected,” Webb said. “I went into it thinking it would be cool if we could make the top 10. At the end of the day, you get to compete with some of the best pizza makers in the world, and to compete against 42 other people and come out No. 2 — we’re definitely proud of it.”

His Detroit-style pizza submission, the Holy Molé, was made with duck confit and molé negro, a black molé sauce sourced from a local Oaxacan restaurant. Webb also included a habanero salsa with avocado, guacamole sauce, pickled red onions and a queso fresco cheese blend. He also added Oaxacan string cheese to the normal cheese blend. 

“There were a lot of flavors, and it tasted like a really good enchilada with the duck and molé on it,” he said. “We only use the 8x10s at the restaurant. It’s more so like if you go to an upscale Neapolitan restaurant — they don’t have ‘sizes;’ you just get the size that that place makes. We’re definitely on the higher end, and quality over cutting costs always comes first.”

As for the LloydPans difference? Webb said he’s tried other pans, but he’s not a big fan of the gauge of steel that they use. They’re a little thinner and flimsier, and he said the pan grippers he uses don’t hold onto them as nicely. 

“I would have to bend these other pans back in place every once in a while, or pop the bottoms back in, and they were starting to warp,” Webb said. “You don’t have that problem with LloydPans. It’s a thicker gauge aluminum.”

Webb said that even though it was his first year competing at Pizza Expo, initially his competitive side was bummed that he was only a point and some change away from the No. 1 spot. 

“You beat yourself up — what really could I have done to make up that point difference,” he said. “It was a big learning experience, and I think next year we’ll come back even stronger. We’ll definitely take the next year, get a team together and figure out what we have to do to come in first.”

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