Pizza Pizza! Avalanche’s Joel Fair to Judge Prestigious Pie Competition

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Avalanche Pizza managing member pose with a fresh pie. (
Avalanche Pizza managing member pose with a fresh pie. (

Even if you aren’t a foodie, chances are, you enjoy a nice slice of pizza.

Whether it’s extra saucy or gluten free or even “Grandma style” (a type of pan pizza native to New York that consists of a crust stretched over a pan with lots of olive oil,) it’s pretty safe to say that when most people smell some fresh pie — they think “How can I get some?”

Joel Fair has been a foodie his entire life, and a purveyor of pizza since 2005, when he joined the crew at Avalanche Pizza. Within a few short years, he was promoted to Managing Partner, and soon he was accompanying Avalanche owner John Gutekanst to the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.

The expo is the largest gathering of pizza-heads in the world, bringing in pie makers from across the globe for a week of talking pizza. Not only do pizzerias have a chance to get their hands on new tips to further their business, the expo also hosts the International Pizza Challenge, which has been called the “most prestigious pizza competition in the world.” Fair has been selected as one of the judge’s for the 2017 edition of the competition.

“I have been coming (to the Expo) with John for a while; to make pizzas and assist him, and last year a spot opened up in the pizza competition for a judge in the gluten-free division,” said Fair. The gluten free division was just perfect for Fair, as he kick-started Avalanche’s specialty gluten-free crusts and breads when he took on managerial duties at Avalanche. “Many people think that it’s going to be some cracker crust with no flavor when it’s gluten-free, and it just doesn’t have to be that way. When I went into that judging panel, I was really expecting something spectacular for every pizza – especially in the dough.”

Fair enjoyed the experience, and the Expo was happy to have him back, this year judging the American pan division.

“I think that I’ll enjoy this competition just as much as I enjoyed the gluten-free one,” said Fair, who said he is particularly interested in the pizzas that will be competing in the American pan division since that is the type of pizza Avalanche serves to Athens all year long. “Each style of pizza is different, and I look forward to seeing multiple types of each.”