Wood Fire Dine,  is celebrating  after it’s chef and owner, Mark Baber was named Pizza Chef of the Year at the prestigious national PAPA Awards.

Mark Baber was selected to compete in the Pizza Chef of the Year Grand Final which took place at London Olympia as part of the European Pizza and Pasta Show. Cooking in front of a live audience, Mark made four pizzas in the competition but it was his gluten free, vegan pizza, The Millennial Special that wowed the judges and gave the chef the prestigious Pizza Chef of the Year title.

Mark Baber is the chef and owner of Wood Fire Dine, an artisan pizzeria he opened with his wife, Victoria just two years ago in Rothwell. Mark was working as a Golf Psychologist and Victoria as an Audiologist but driven by a passion for food the pair set up a mobile pizzeria in 2015 after buying a pizza oven. With the demand for local events growing the couple realised they could no longer keep working out of their kitchen but when they looked at a production unit in Rothwell they realised that the building could potentially be a great spot for a pizzeria. From there, Wood Fire Dine was born – a 47-seat restaurant with a kitchen.

Mark may not have years of experience making pizza but his passion is evident. The judges were impressed with Mark’s pizzas throughout the competition but it was his ‘free from’ pizza, free from gluten, meat and dairy that really impressed the judges. Mark’s Millennial Special topped with butternut squash, vegan goat’s cheese and vegan Cumberland sausage was an instant hit impressing the judges with his gluten free pizza base which the chefs described as “perfect, as good as the real thing.”

This is the first time in the history of the Pizza Chef Competition that a chef has won with a gluten free pizza and really demonstrates developments in the industry within the free from market.

The PAPA Awards recognise the very best of the pizza, pasta and Italian food industry covering every aspect with awards for companies large and small.  The Pizza Chef of the Year competition is the UK’s biggest Pizza Chef competition with the Grand Final being held at Europe’s number one B2B event for the pizza and pasta industries.


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