A pizza chef from a small town in Jefferson County places in the world’s largest pizza competition.
Pizza chef Tom “TJ” Elder of Sigel competed at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas earlier this month.
He’s been making them at his father’s business, Tommy’s Italian Pizzeria & Pub, since it opened in 2015.
Which is why he signed up to compete.
“It’s like the biggest pizza show in the world,” TJ said. “Just decided we’d go, and we signed up for the competition to see how we’d do.”
A decision that would earn him third place in the Northeast region traditional division.
“They had 9 toppings you could pick from, you do two toppings, you make your dough, your sauce, just make your pizza how you want it, and they judge it.”
His winning toppings of choice: pepperoni and mushroom.
“We intended to go out to win because I know what my pizza is,” Tommy Elder said. “We’ve always known it was world-class pizza.”
It’s more than just a title for TJ’s father, Tommy Elder, it’s confidence he can pass down the family business.
“Now with him winning this, business has already picked up more,“ Tommy said. “It’s good for him because I’m going to turn the business over to him.”
TJ said he plans on returning to the International Pizza Expo to compete.