Futura Sponsors PAPAs Pizza Chef of the Year 2023

Futura Foods are delighted to be sponsoring The Pizza Chef of the Year competition as part of the PAPAs Industry Awards.

This year, YAMAS! Halloumi was chosen as the product the pizza chefs were required to showcase.

Produced in Cyprus, Halloumi is made to a PDO recipe with pasteurised cow, sheep, and goat’s milk. Halloumi is known for its squeaky texture, savoury & mellow taste, and is traditionally served hot.
It is highly versatile and a substantial vegetarian source of protein. It can be grated, sliced and is delicious served hot, holding its form. It carries flavours well so works perfectly when marinaded or seasoned before cooking.

The brief for the chefs was to be innovative in their use of the halloumi – not to just cube it and put it on top! We challenged to chefs to consider what trending cuisines halloumi would work with, how seasonings & marinades can be used to elevate it, and how they could make the halloumi go further in terms of cost and health factors.


The YAMAS! Halloumi category received 36 entries from chefs all over the UK, each providing their own unique take on how halloumi could be celebrated on a pizza and what other ingredients to pair with it.

We saw halloumi being used in a variety of ways, from grated to crumbled, poached to battered, and even turned into halloumi crisps! Chefs were equally creative when it came to the flavours used to compliment the halloumi. From marinades that included herbs and spices through to pairings with fig, courgettes and lamb, there was plenty of variation on show.

After a tough judging process, the top 5 have been put through to the live final in November, being held at Pizza Pilgrims. The chefs will use Pizza Pilgrim’s Pizza Academy facility at their Camden restaurant, normally used for staff training and as a social enterprise for offering to upskill those looking for a fresh start.

Each finalist will have to recreate their pizza and serve them to the judging panel that includes top chef Theo Randall, pizza expert Marco Fuso, and members of the Futura team.

The winner of the YAMAS! Halloumi category will then go up against the winners of the four other categories in a bid to be crowned the overall PAPAs Pizza Chef of the Year 2023!

Meet the Finalists

Last year’s double category winner and overall Pizza Chef of the Year champion, Nicola Jackson-Jones, returns to defend her crown. Chris Glenn, a finalist last year also returns, and with three new finalists the competition is sure to be strong.

Here’s the five finalists and the pizzas that they’ve created:

Yam-yasss – by by Nicola Jackson Jones from Two Cents Pizza

YAMAS! Halloumi, tomato sauce, lamb koftas, red pepper charred onion, & pickled chilli.

Chef’s comment:
“Good quality San Marzano DOP tomatoes, milled by hand and salted.”

What the judges said:
“Wonderful looking pizza, with ingredients that will all complement each other.”

The Cyprus Fig by Vahid Rostami from Romeo’s

YAMAS! Halloumi, fig jam, pistachios, walnuts, honey & mint.

Chef’s comment:
“I marinated little pieces of the halloumi cheese in the homemade mint and honey dressing.”

What the judges said:
“We love the idea of the homemade fig jam and how the sweetness will complement the halloumi.”

Greece Lightning by Chris Glenn from Whisk & Pickle Pizza Kitchen

YAMAS! Halloumi, kefalotyri, feta, olives, red onion, tomatoes, pepper, dill, & basil.

Chef’s comment:
“I choose the sweet red pepper sauce to cut through the saltiness of the cheeses and olives.”

What the judges said:
“Turning some of the halloumi into crisps sounds ingenious and will give a great variation of texture.”

Hallouminati by Guiseppe Ferraro from Pizzaland Bristol

Instagram: @base.face.pizza

YAMAS! Halloumi, pistachio cream, mozzarella, caramelised onions, & basil

What the judges said:
“The nutty pistachio cream flavoured base sounds very intriguing”.

Turista by Giorgia Riggio

YAMAS! Halloumi, courgette escabeche, fresh mint, & a mint sauce.

Chef’s comment:
“My dough is a very thin crunchy crust . It’s very light with little yeast.”

What the judges said:
“Courgette and halloumi is a great combination and should work brilliantly on a pizza”.

The Pizza Chef of the Year finals is being held on Thursday 9th November 2023 at Pizza Pilgrims Camden, with the winners revealed at the PAPA Industry Awards Dinner that evening at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

For more information, visit: https://www.papaindustryawards.co.uk/

Get in touch

If you don’t see the product that you are looking for it is possible that we could develop or source a product specifically for you. Want to find out more about how we make it easy to find dairy solutions?


Futura Foods UK Ltd.
The Priory, Long Street, Dursley,
Gloucestershire GL11 4HR