Japanese Fooled by Pizza Champion ?

isa burned

Burned pizza is a real no-no!

Are Pizza championships, awards and claim to fame fooling the Japanese public? Is renowned pizzaiolo Hisanori Yamamoto owner of Tokyo most famous and popular Isa pizzeria, a real champion, and is he who he says he is? After some research, I cannot be certain of his claim to fame.

I carefully looked over the World Championships, and after looking at the details more closely, I am not sure which Championships Yamamoto actually championed. The idea of a “world champion” in pizza is questionable, and is there a real governing body that is accepted, or are there competing organizations.

Yamamoto’s profile on Isa’s website says he was the winner of 2007 World Pizza Championship but after some surfing on the web, I discovered some conflicting information, and that Tony Gemignani was 2007 Champion:


If you look up the site of the World Pizza Championships which claims to be the governing body, it makes the claim that the home of the Champions’ competition is not in Naples but in Parma. It states Salsomaggiore Terme (Parma) is the site of the champion although several other cities likewise claim to be the home of the ultimate international pizza games including Naples and Paris.


Naples as a city is a wonderful place and I’ve been several times to try the pizza there. However, it is well know that the reputation is never certain and often some level of corruption can alter the facts.

Here comes some more details that are puzzling; on the site of Isa Pizzeria they name a person who inspired the Grand Champion, named Ernest Kacharri, the mentor of Isa’s Yamamoto. But after some searching no such person could be found on the Internet except a strange video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XavjYkCM9-I

But the spelling of Kacharri is clearly a mistake and it’s odd that he cannot get the spelling correct of his mentor. After more searching I discovered the true Ernesto Cacialli who owned and operated a pizzeria in Naples named El Presindente.

In July 1994, an American tourist entered Pizzeria Cacialli in Naples, Italy, and changed the restaurant’s name forever. Caciallis is one of the top pizzerias in Naples, world capital of pizza. The tourist was US President Bill Clinton and Cacialli became Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente – ‘The President’s Pizza baker’.



Bottom-line, I am not sure that Isa’s championship is nothing more than a nice way of giving Japanese a place to trust and believe in. You need to decide for yourself and taste his pizza and judge. I am still puzzled as it all smells a little fishy. So who is the champion and does it really matter after all. The answer is both yes and no. It matters to those in search of a “famous” pizzeria who have no real understanding, and for those that know, it has little meaning.

Before I forget here is another association claiming to be the Pizza authority: http://www.pizzaiuolinapoletani.it

Roberto Caporuscio, a member of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani and founder of Keste Pizza & Vino, which opened last year on Bleecker Street in New York. http://kestepizzeria.com/home.html

I begin to realize that anyone can make up an association, become a champion and use it to promote their own interests. This is a fools game so when it comes to pizza, I recommend ignoring the paper and enjoying the pizza.