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Spokane chef has shot at $15K in national pizza bake-off contest

Category winners in the pizza contest will receive $5,000 and the Grand Prize winner will receive an additional $10,000

Editor's note: Above video features Spokane chef Ricky Webster after he won $10,000 on Food Network's "Christmas Cookie Challenge"

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane chef Ricky Webster was named one of 11 finalists in the 2019 Real California Pizza Contest – a search for the best recipes using Real California Cheese.

The contest awards $25,000 for the most innovative use of California cheese in three categories. Category winners will receive $5,000 and the Grand Prize winner, selected from all category winners, will receive an additional $10,000

Recipes submitted between Feb. 1, 2019 and March 25, 2019 were blind-evaluated by a panel of three pizza professionals.

Webster, who works for SYSCO Spokane, is one of four contenders in “The REAL California” category. His creation, called the “The Chard to Resist,” featured ricotta cheese, hot honey and shallots.

Finalists will travel to the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, California, for the live bake-off finale on May 9. Their pizzas will be prepared and baked onsite for a blind judging session.

Webster is no stranger to winning food contests. In November 2018, he won $10,000 and the title of “Christmas Cookie Champion” during an appearance on Food Network’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge.”

RELATED: Spokane baker takes home $10K prize on Food Network show

RELATED: Spokane bakers compete on Food Network's 'Christmas Cookie Challenge'

Webster later competed on “Food Network’s Holiday Gingerbread Showdown” alongside Spokane baker Megan Gaines in December.

Webster and Gaines made headlines in 2017 when they took part in building a life-sized gingerbread house at the Red Lion Hotel to raise money for Blessings Under the Bridge. It took months of work – and lots of icing – to finish the house after Webster pitched the idea.

RELATED: Local chef constructs life-size gingerbread house

Webster also appeared on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" in 2012.

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