A lot of good judges predicted Wollongong pizza chef Claudio Russomanno had the right mix of ingredients to do well at the Australian Pizza Championships.
The man himself was also confident but still was pleasantly surprised when he won the hotly-contested 'pizza dessert' category.
Backed by a whirlwind of support from the Illawarra along with staff from The Fraternity Club, Russomanno created and cooked his way to pizza glory among some strong competition.
"It was a relief to win. It's the first time that I've won gold at a major event," he said.
"I've proved to myself that I can achieve and I'm now turning my attention to the World Pizza Championships in Italy next April."
Russomanno's award-winning pizza tantalised the judges' tastebuds.
"For this major event I created a different technique from a normal pizza that recalls the croissant technique. I allowed the dough to proof for six days, resulting in a light and desirable base," he said.
"On top of it I had rum and gramponier cream, with fresh strawberries, red velvet, caramel and icing sugar."
The Fraternity's general manager Greg Field congratulated Russomanno on his amazing win.
"We're very proud of him. He's an exceptional talent," he said.
Hailing from the pizza-scented streets of Calabria in Italy, the passionate 32-year-old has become a popular attraction at The Frat as a prominent pizza chef.
Russomanno is also a graduate of the Associazione Pizzeria Italiana school in Rome, which operates worldwide and produces a variety of quality flour.
It was here that he studied the science behind the perfect flour base and ingredients.
"We came across Claudio at a food expo in Melbourne and were immediately impressed by his passion for pizza. He has become an important part of our pizza team, helping to deliver the absolute best at our club," Field said.
The Australian Pizza Championships were held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on September 11.