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Carbon Co. pizza chef wins Pizza Maker of the Year, recipe featured in cookbook

Tony Cerimele is part of World Pizza Champions, the nonprofit that created the book of 50 pizza recipes.
Tony Cerimele
Tony Cerimele is a member of World Pizza Champions, a nonprofit that created a book of 50 pizza recipes.

A Carbon County pizza chef is gaining international recognition.

Tony Cerimele won Pizza Maker of the Year at the International Pizza Challenge, part of the 2024 Pizza Expo March 19-21. WVIA News spoke with him shortly after he returned from Las Vegas, Nevada.

“NEPA is officially on the map of world-class pizza,” he said.

Cerimele first won in the pan pizza division and moved on to face every division winner in the championships. He won that round with a sausage and pepper pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, and honey.

Tony Gemignani (left) and Tony Cerimele (right) at the 2024 International Pizza Expo.
Tony Cerimele
Tony Gemignani (left) and Tony Cerimele (right) at the 2024 International Pizza Expo.

Cerimele's pizza shop, New Columbus Pizza Co. in Nesquehoning, was featured in Season 1 of WVIA's Pizza! series.

“Our crust has a little bit of a buttery taste to it, our sauce is a little savory, a little sweet,” he said. “We have two different kinds of cheese on there. One really really sharp Italian cheese and the other is a secret.”

New Columbus Pizza Company

Cerimele is a member of World Pizza Champions, a nonprofit team of pizza professionals. According to their website, "Inclusion on the team is through invitation only and is based on skill, character, compatibility, and selfless effort on behalf of the industry."

The group released a book titled, “The Pursuit of Pizza: Recipes from the World Pizza Champions," during the expo.

Cerimele is one of the 40 of the world’s best pizza makers featured in the book. Authored by Tony Gemignani, Laura Meyer, and Mike Bausch, the collection includes 50 dough and pizza recipes, and QR codes for video demonstrations.

“I actually put Old Forge double crust white pizza in the book,” Cerimele said. “I love that pizza. And it’s also a pizza that probably isn’t as well known as it should be and that’s another reason why I wanted to do that.”

"I've actually tasted that pizza before and it's incredible," said Jim Mirabelli, a local pizza influencer.

Mirabelli from NEPA Pizza Review said he ordered the book as soon as it became available.

"I'm a big Tony Cerimele fan as well as a Tony Gemignani fan," he said. "It was a no brainer I had to purchase it, and it was a bonus that all the proceeds are going to Make a Wish Foundation."

Haley joined the WVIA news team in 2023 as a reporter and host. She grew up in Scranton and studied Broadcast Journalism at Marywood University. Haley has experience reporting in Northeast Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. She enjoys reporting on Pennsylvania history and culture, and video storytelling.

You can email Haley at haleyobrien@wvia.org
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