Faro Trupiano has been a mainstay in the greater Fallbrook community for years with his restaurants, but now he has garnered international attention after ranking third in the Traditional Division at the International Pizza Challenge – Southwest Division, which was held in Las Vegas March 27 to 30. Over 400 international pizza makers gathered to show off their pizza making abilities.
Trupiano, who owns Trupiano’s and Bean & Bug Coffee Lounge on Main Avenue, entered the competition as an unofficial way to try out for the US pizza team.
“My brother is on the US international team, and this was my way to be considered for it,” said Trupiano, who had only participated in one other pizza competition prior to the international pizza challenge.
Trupiano entered the traditional division, which has specific criteria that each contestant must follow.
“You had to make your own dough, of course, but it cannot fall into other categories such as a pan crust,” said Trupiano. “It had to be hand tossed. I used a traditional style of preparation. Judges were looking at the dough’s cell structure – the air pockets. You don’t want your dough to be too gummy; it has to be airy and have a nice crunch to it. There are so many ways to create a crust, and the fermentation process and yeasts you use make for a great crust.”
Trupiano also created his own sauce and a cheese blend that consisted of 80 percent mozzarella and 20 percent asiago cheese. In addition, contestants had to select two toppings from a list of approved ingredients. While the requirements were strict, savvy contestants knew how to be creative within those parameters.
“For example, the ingredient listed would be pepperoni,” explained Trupiano. “That could be elk pepperoni, or whatever you want to use as long as it falls into the category of pepperoni.”
Trupiano chose to use rosemary infused, caramelized shallots and a pork sausage made with cheese, wine, and parsley wrapped in a lamb casing that was custom made for him by a family butcher.
In the traditional category, 60 competitors from all over the world presented their best pizza. When Trupiano finished his pizza, he wasn’t expecting to rank so highly.
“Because we had experimented with the dough, it had a higher hydration and water content,” said Trupiano. “I normally cook the pizza on a screen, but when I went to take it off, the pizza had stuck. I went into a panic, but my brother, who also competed, was in my corner, and helped me unstick the pizza. It left the bottom imperfect, and I knew I was going to have points knocked off because of the bottom of the pizza. I didn’t feel super confident.”
When Faro discovered that he had won third place, he was in shock.
“I was in denial,” he said. “It was a really exciting moment to place third in my second competition. Of course, I started thinking, ‘What if the pizza hadn’t stuck?’ It’s one of those things where I will never know what could have been.”
Trupiano feels inspired after the event.
“I have been super busy, and didn’t put in the time that I would have liked to for the event,” said Trupiano. “This got me fired up for next year. There is a whole pizza culture that I never knew about. These guys eat, drink and live pizza, so I’m excited to step up my game.”
Trupiano stated that his Italian restaurant will soon offer his award-winning pizza for locals to try. Those interested in ordering the pizza can visit Trupiano’s at 945 S. Main Ave.