Columbus Pesto Championship

Greater Columbus Sister Cities International partnered with the Columbus Italian Festival and the City of Columbus, to select ten contestants to compete for the grand prize which is a trip to Genoa, Italy to represent Columbus in the World Pesto Championship.

The ten finalists received a mortar and pestle as well as seven ingredients to produce a world-class pesto sauce in less than 30 minutes. A panel of distinguished judges, including two from Genoa, deliberated and selected Dr. Marcello Canova as the winner! Kathleen Murphy took home second place and Craig Wales came in third place.

Dr. Canova is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University. Dr. Canova leads a research program that focuses on developing advanced technologies for highly efficient, electrified, connected and automated vehicles, and he works in close collaboration with the automotive industry. He was born in Mantua and studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Parma, in Italy. He came to Columbus in 2004 to complete his studies at OSU, and has been living here since. When he is not working, Marcello enjoys cooking, playing piano, running, skiing and traveling.  

All the competitors put their passion for pesto to the test and the results were incredible. GCSCI Board Chairman and Columbus Pesto Championship judge, Jaime Sisto was amazed that the ten contestants produced such different pestos, despite using the same ingredients. 

Mr. Roberto Panizza, the founder of the Genoa World Pesto Championship and one of the Columbus Pesto Championship judges, was expecting the different flavors. Mr. Panizza and his colleague Mr. Mauro Cavallero have been to many regional pesto championships and explained to us that there are infinite possibilities for pesto. 

During their stay in Columbus, Mr. Panizza and Mr. Cavallero gave a demonstration to culinary students at Columbus State Community College, walked in their FIRST parade at the Columbus Italian Festival, met with elected city officials, attended the Columbus Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony and were covered by the Columbus Dispatch as well as Good Day Columbus.

Program Date
October 2017 – March 2018
Genoa, Italy
Supporting Partners