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CiCi's holds first Pizza Throwdown contest

CiCi’s Pizza, the 625-unit buffet chain based in Coppell, Texas, crowned Elizabeth Cruz of Roeland Park, Kan., as its “Ultimate Pizza Artist” in the company’s first Pizza Throwdown finals earlier this month.

Michael Shumsky, CiCi’s chief executive, said franchisees fostered the idea of the Throwdown contest to instill and recognize quality in the chain’s pizza makers.

The contest began in November with more than 300 contestants and eight regional competitions to determine four finalists who competed Jan. 11 in the Throwdown finals in Frisco, Texas.

Each finalist had to prepare 21 different CiCi’s buffet pizzas. The finished pizzas were donated to the local Salvation Army.

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