On the eve of its 10th anniversary, things are looking very bright for Pizzéria NO.900. With 30 successful franchises, including one that opened in Lyon, France last winter, the brand’s leadership just returned from Atlantic City where it secured first and second place finishes at the International Pizza Challenge.
Executive Chef Mirko D’Agata and Research and Development Chef Fiodar Huminski were the winners in the STG (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed) Neapolitan category. Huminski was crowned champion, clinching ﬁrst place with his delicious Margherita pizza, while D’Agata secured second place with his delectable Marinara pizza.
I was invited to meet Huminski to try slices from both pizzas at the impressive Rockland Centre location, owned by Patrice Tremblay and managed by Lucas Golzio. I did not have long to wait as the pizzas were cooked in their special ovens in a remarkable 90 seconds. The oven is at 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hence the name of the chain. The pizzas measure 10 inches in diameter and they recommend one pizza per person. The Margherita and Marinara are lighter options, suitable for those with smaller appetites. These pizzas are thin crust and crispy, so very light to digest. Of course, there is a wide variety of other pizzas on the menu, but I wanted to try the title winners and I have no regrets.
“We are very proud of our achievement,” said Huminski. “Usually at this competition, you have eight minutes to make your pizza. This time we had 90 seconds in the oven – not an issue for us – and about a minute to dress the pizza. We traveled there with our own ingredients such as cheese, flour, tomatoes and olive oil.”
There were over 100 brands competing, so this indeed was a significant accomplishment. “We competed against brands from all over the world,” Huminski said. “The pressure was high, but we brought home the title. It’s an incredible honor to win ﬁrst place with our Margherita Pizza. We work tirelessly to maintain the highest standards of quality and authenticity in our pizzas and this victory is recognition of our ongoing efforts.”
Added D’Agata: “Participating in the International Pizza Challenge is always an unforgettable experience, and I’m thrilled to have secured second place with our Marinara Pizza.”
Huminsku notes that No. 900 enjoys AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) certiﬁcation with a commitment to the tradition of Neapolitan pizza.
The No. 900 team has expressed its deep gratitude to its partners who made this victory possible: AVPN, Peroni, Caputo, Charlevoix Organic Meats, Saputo, Boldwin, Marra Forni, Gaspor, Forbita, Macchi Inc., Simply Juice, Barista, and Boréale.
Huminski was born in Belarus and came here with his family as a teenager in 2004. Soon after he fell in love with cooking. Eventually, he purchased a No. 900 franchise at the Quartier des Spectacles, subsequently buying locales in Vieux Terrebonne and Verdun. The head office quickly got wind of his talents and put him in charge of R &D.
So, besides running his three restaurants Huminski is constantly on the move visiting different franchises, working with staff and sampling the products. The menu changes four times a year. “I like to keep our menu sexy and exciting,” he says. “We always want our guests to come back.”
No. 900 will next expand to Toronto. Ottawa is a possibility down the line, as is Paris, France.
For menus and locations, go to https://no900.com.