Self-taught Cornwall cook crowned UK's best pizza chef

Grant cooking at the UK’s Best Home Pizza Chef 2024 competition
-Credit: (Image: Grant Batty)


An amateur home baker from Cornwall has been named the UK’s Best Home Pizza Chef 2024 in a national contest, beating pizza enthusiasts from Surrey to Scotland. Grant Batty, from Falmouth entered the competition hosted by firewood brand, Love Logs, alongside nearly 400 entries via social media.

Five finalists were chosen in a public vote to compete against last year’s winner, Scott Deley, in the live final held in Gloucestershire on June 23. The competition, which spanned two days, saw the finalists prepare their dough on Saturday, while Sunday saw the intense final cook-off.

Each contestant had 20 minutes to cook two pizzas, a classic Neapolitan Margherita and their signature “doughstopper” for the panel which included the 2021 Great British Bake-Off winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno and Italian restauranteur, Jack La Smorfia. Grant’s Margherita featured locally and sustainably sourced ingredients, including basil grown by his eight-year-old son, Cornish sea salt, British flour, and mozzarella from Somerset.

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Meanwhile, his “doughstopper” pizza showcased harissa chicken, sweet peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a unique sourdough crumb topping. "I wanted to show off sourdough, so I baked a loaf, roughly chopped it and cooked it with garlic, olive oil, rosemary, red onion, and pistachio," Grant explained.

The 33-year-old is a self-taught home cook, filmmaker, and amateur pizzaiolo, who began his journey into pizza making in 2018 when he got his first pizza oven. "I quickly became obsessed with perfecting my sourdough technique," he said.

In preparation for the competition, Grant had to adapt his usual dough process, which typically lasts between three to five days, to fit the 24-hour on-site requirement. He said: "The weeks leading up to the competition involved practising the dough over and over, perfecting it." Grant's determination paid off, as he was the first-ever finalist to use sourdough in the competition, a move the judges described as risky.

Grant Batty and UK’s Best Home Pizza Chef 2024 head judge, Great British Bake-Off winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno
Grant Batty and UK’s Best Home Pizza Chef 2024 head judge, Great British Bake-Off winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno -Credit:Grant Batty

When asked why using sourdough in the final could have been risky, he explained: “Choosing to use sourdough was a bold move because it’s a more complex and time-sensitive dough to work with, especially under competition conditions. However, I wanted to showcase my unique style and commitment to quality, and I'm thrilled that the risk paid off.”

Grant described the moment he was announced as the winner as surreal, and said sharing the victory with his two sons was an emotional moment. "Making pizza at home has become such an important part of my life, and to be recognised by the judges, who are very experienced, I was over the moon," he said. “I Facetimed [his boys] on the way home and they both screamed and laughed, they couldn’t believe it, it’s a moment I’ll never forget”.

Giuseppe Dell’Anno, Bake Off winner & head judge said: “Picking winners among this lot was truly challenging. They all proved to be exceptionally skilled pizza chefs, with outstanding technical knowledge. Grant’s pizza was perfectly executed and a delight on the palate: it’s incredible that he managed to control sourdough in a frantic and stressful competition environment.”

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