CPK Philippines: PIZZA WARS (For the love of Pizza!)

appetizer artichoke spinach dip

Love to be served with this Spinach Artichoke Dip from CPK :) CPK doesn’t just serve their well-known freshly hearth-baked gourmet pizzas, they also produce the freshest and clever world-fusion dishes. My personal favorites are: Thai Crunch Salad, Kung Pao Spaghetti, Pesto Creme Penne, Sicilian Crispy Thin Crust Pizza, and S’mores Pizza.


For the love of pizza!

Okay, so before I proceed to my article for Guimaras, I’d like to share something very recent and relevant to my previous posts regarding Iloilo (here and here) and the upcoming celebration of our 117th Independence Day.

This article won’t just make the pizza lovers happy but the Ilonggos more proud not just with the recent progress of their city but with this other good news relating to food as well.

Yesterday, CPK Philippines started the first PIZZA WARS in the country (and outside U.S.A.) at their branch in High Street BGC. Three pizza chefs from different CPK branches competed for the finals. And only ONE pizza chef took home the Php 25,000 cash prize!

Who won the first PIZZA WARS? What were our thoughts and most especially the judges’ thoughts about these three innovative and delicious pizzas?

CPK Philippines: PIZZA WARS (For the love of Pizza!) from JM dela Rama on Vimeo.

(I hope you watched the video first before proceeding to read what’s below. :)

So, which pizza won my heart?

I actually loved two pizzas but I got more inclined to my current craving and chose the meaty one. :)

this steak

This satisfied my craving last Monday night, which greatly influenced my decision at Pizza Wars.

The photo above greatly influenced my decision to choose the pizza that both had steak and truffles on it:

steak mushroom

STEAK & MUSHROOM, TRUFFLE PIZZA by Lea Castillones (Truffle Sauce, Grilled Steak, Fresh Mozzarella, Wild Mushrooms)

For me, I can definitely order and enjoy this pizza again if CPK decides to include this on their menu. But I must agree with the judges when they said that this pizza can still be improved with some color and garnish.  I love the flavors though and for me this is a great entrée to have and finish in one sitting.

The next pizza that captured my heart with its overall sensory appeal:


THE FARMER’S CHOICE by Romel Panaligan (Roasted Squash Base, Fresh Mozzarella, Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Desiccated Coconut, Cinnamon)

Besides being the healthiest and the best option for non-meat-eaters,  the first thing that caught my eye were the colors on this pizza. It also attracted my sense of smell through the fragrant desiccated coconut and cinnamon on top of it. I was also impressed to learn that the pizza chef used a reduced squash soup or purée as its base. The addition of my favorite tiny and precious burst of cherry tomatoes was a plus too!

I would love to have another round of this winning pizza when it’s already out on the new menu of CPK Philippines scheduled in the last quarter of 2015 and in August (for the National Pizza Day).

Elvis breakfast 1956

The late and great Elvis Presley, my parents’ favorite!

The last pizza and the crowd favorite (the pizza chef had a lot of fans/supporters with him) 😉 will definitely be loved and appreciated by the late and great Elvis Presley.

Inspired by the legend’s favorite peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, this pizza was filled with the art of contrast. It was both sweet and salty (because of the bacon bits), and hot and cold (because of the gelato).


THE ELVIS PIZZA by John Chloe Oplejeda (Peanut Sauce, Mozzarella, Crispy Bacon, Chopped Bananas, Candied Walnuts, Peanut Butter Gelato) 

The pizza chef of the one and only dessert pizza in the competition totally got me with its peanut butter gelato! Though it was a bit salty for me, I still think that it was a good try.

I was glad that I wasn’t on the judges’ seat. It would have been a very difficult task to choose between these three great pizzas! I hope there’d be a category next time for both savory and dessert pizzas as it was hard to choose between the three. It was like choosing whom do I love most as a kid, my mom or my dad? It was all good. :)

These three are the perfect and complete meal for me: The Farmer’s Choice as my appetizer, The Steak, Mushroom and Truffle Pizza as my entrée and The Elvis for my dessert.

the three pizza chefs

THE THREE PIZZA CHEFS: Lea Castillones (Eastwood branch), John Chloe Oplejada (Trinoma) and Romel Panaligan (Alabang)

Congratulations to these three amazing pizza chefs! Much kudos to the winner of the first CPK Pizza War… the Ilonggo (construction worker and dishwasher turned pizza chef) ROMEL PANALIGAN from CPK Alabang. He perfected a “Filipino-inspired” vegetarian pizza (in time for our Independence Day in Iloilo) – The FARMER’S CHOICE. 

Talking about The Farmer’s Choice, I also agree with what Chef Rolando Laudico mentioned. I hope that this country will help more farmers and support the agricultural side of our nation more. There are a lot of good things about this pizza and the competition, which I hope you got from what the judges said in the video. :)

Special thanks to CPK for this event. Not only did it excite pizza lovers like me but most importantly, this event showed how much you value the people behind your restaurant. No wonder, people like Ms. Luisa Del Rosario (Senior Operations Director of GRCI ) who’s been with CPK (U.S. and the Philippines) since the late 1980’s, sounded so happy and passionate when I chatted with her about the company.

Can’t wait for National Pizza Day! 😉



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