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Pittsburgh pizza is international: Caliente Pizza & Draft House chefs tapped to join all-star team of pizza 

Pittsburgh, PA (January 15, 2019) – Caliente Pizza & Draft House’s owner Nick Bogacz and regional chef Eric Von Hansen have been invited to join the “all-star” team of internationally well-known pizza chefs competing in the 28th annual Pizza World Championship, the world’s largest pizza competition taking place in Parma, Italy April 9-11.

Bogacz and Von Hansen have been proudly representing Pittsburgh at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, the largest pizza competition in the U.S., since 2016. After being named World Pizza Champions three times at the Expo’s International Pizza Challenge, Bogacz and Von Hansen were asked by 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani to join his World Pizza Champions team. They said yes.

“Nick and Eric are dedicated to the craft of pizza in every way, from their development of innovative recipes to their commitment to community service,” said Gemignani. “The World Pizza Champions are the best-of-the-best and that’s what these guys are.”

Pittsburgh natives Nick and Angie Bogacz opened Caliente Pizza & Draft House, their first independent pizza shop in Bloomfield in 2012. Although a young shop considering Pittsburgh’s pizza history, Nick Bogacz and Eric Von Hansen are industry veterans. Their expertise in the pizza and gourmet food industry has led to the Caliente team opening four stores in six years and earning recognition at the world’s most well-respected pizza industry events. The World Pizza Champions team is the pepperoni on top of Caliente’s hard work pie.

“I started out in the pizza industry as a delivery driver when I was 17 years old,” said Bogacz. “After working my way up in the industry, it was always a dream to own my own pizza shop. Now it’s unbelievable to have the chance to represent the City of Champions across the globe, in pizza that is.”

What is the World Pizza Champions team?

The World Pizza Champions team, founded in 2005 by the famed Gemignani, is a group of elite pizza pros from around the world who represent the craft through competition, education and community service. Inclusion on the team is by invitation only and members are selected “based on skill, character, compatibility, and selfless effort on behalf of the industry.” This is the all-star team of pizza.

Currently, there are 38 active members with Bogacz and Von Hansen being the only representatives from Pittsburgh. The pair will travel with other members of the team to compete in the Pizza World Championship in April.

What is the Pizza World Championship? 

In its 28th year, the Pizza World Championship is the industry’s most well-respected and competitive industry competition with pizzaiolos from over 30 countries and hundreds of chefs vying for a slice of pizza fame. In Parma, several hundred chefs compete in each category.

This will be Bogacz and Von Hansen’s first trip to the Pizza World Championship. Before the competition, they’ll travel with Gemignani and other teammates to learn about cheese production and more from masters in Italy. The pair will compete in the “Pizza for Two” division where they will work together to create different elements of the pizza without speaking. Von Hansen will also participate in the “Pizza Triathlon e Gare per Nazione,” competing to be named the Best Foreign Nation Pizzaiolo.  

What is the difference between the Pizza World Championship and International Pizza Expo?

Held annually in Las Vegas, International Pizza Expo is the largest pizza show in the US with hundreds of exhibitors, over 1,300 booths and tens of thousands of attendees. During the Expo, there are two competitive events: the International Pizza Challenge and the World Pizza Games. These events are lauded as the second most competitive pizza events in the world by pizza pros, behind only the Pizza World Championship in Parma, Italy.

Caliente took home a World Championship title in the “Pan” division with their “Quack Attack” duck pizza on their first attempt at the International Pizza Challenge in 2016. In 2017, they placed first in the “Non-Traditional” and “Traditional North East divisions” and Won a World Championship in the Largest Pizza Stretch Division. They came back to win another World Championship in the Non-Traditional division last year with Von Hansen’s “Wagyu Beef Truffle Fromage” pie. Bogacz and Von Hansen plan to compete again in this year’s International Pizza Expo taking place March 3-6.

To learn more about the Pizza World Championship in Italy and Tony Gemignani’s all-star team, please visit www.worldpizzachampions.com.


Caliente Pizza & Draft House, founded in 2012, is an award-winning locally owned and operated pizza restaurant known for their roster of craft beers and gourmet pizzas. With just four locations in the Pittsburgh area, Caliente is known internationally as three-time World Pizza Champions and represents Pittsburgh on the World Pizza Champions Team. For locations and more information, visit www.pizzadrafthouse.com