It all started in 2010, when owner Jeff Smokevitch “Smoke” attended the International School of Pizza and studied with legendary pizza guru, Tony Gemignani. There he learned that combining the best quality ingredients along with attention to detail makes the best pizzas, bringing pizza making to the next level. He won the best pizza award at the end of the session and Gemignani invited Smokevitch to come back to assist him in teaching another course.
In the fall of 2010, Jeff joined The World Pizza Champions (the number one pizza team in the world) to compete in baking competitions. The International Pizza Expo, which attracts an eclectic range of pizza styles from thousands of pizzerias and pizza industry professionals to Las Vegas every March, is the world’s largest trade show for pizza industry professionals. In his very first competition there in 2011, Jeff entered a Pepperoni and mushroom Detroit Square Pizza and earned 6th place out of 65 competitors.
He later wowed judges with his 3-1-3 Detroit-style pie, so-named for its all-Italian ingredients loaded onto a square Detroit-style pizza (313 is the area code in Detroit) earning him 2nd place at the American Pizza Championships, September 2011 held at the Orlando Pizza Show in Florida.
Brown Dog Pizza placed 5th in the pan division at the 2012 International Pizza Expo. At yet another World Pizza Championship in Paris, France on November 2012, Brown Dog Pizza placed 2nd in the U.S.A. and 13th in the World. The largest competition to date had over 500 competitors.
At the 2013 World Pizza Championships, Smokevitch presented his Classic Italian Pizza to the judges. The Classic Italian division had over 400 competitors. Smokevitch’s pizza called “Jack” placed 16th in the World and 2nd in the USA. It features thinly sliced Palisade Colorado Pear, pancetta, Gorgonzola, crushed pistachios, arugula, shaved Parmesan Reggiano, drizzled with pistachio infused evoo and a balsamic reduction.
Then in March of the same year, Smokevitch competed for a third time at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, NV and won the judges over, receiving 1st place, garnering Jeff Smokevitch the title of World Champion. Taste for yourself the #1 Pan Pizza in the World, it is now featured on Brown Dog’s menu.
The Brown Dog went on to repeat as champions in 2014 at the International pizza challenge in the traditional division. Since 1st place pizza chefs are not allowed to compete after winning it all, pizza chefs Jose Suarez, Charley Rangel, and Mateo Lucas with Smokevitch as their coach, traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the International Pizza Expo’s Pizza Challenge. Suarez placed 1st in the traditional division with a Detroit-style pizza known as the “Brooklyn Bridge.”
Jeff will continue to compete in baking competitions around the world; trying to continually improve his pizza making technique, and one day be considered a legendary Pizzaioli himself.