Each pie will be thoroughly evaluated by professional judges and compared against competitor pies in its entry category based on the following criteria:

  • Overall appearance and visual appeal
  • Crust texture and flavor
  • Filling texture and flavor
  • Overall taste​

Every year we ask accomplished restaurant and baking professionals, renowned chefs, or proprietors of successful culinary businesses to lend their expertise to judge pies at the South Side Pie Challenge. We are honored to have these industry professionals donate their time to make our humble event possible.

Judges who participated in the South Side Pie Challenge in the past included Pleasant House Bakery's Art Jackson, Kendall College Pastry Expert Belinda Brooks, the Parrot Cage’s Michelle Russell, Peerless Bread and Jam's Lauren Bushnell, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants' John Aldape, Hoosier Mama's Paula Haney, and the Hungry Hound, Steve Dolinsky.


South Side Pie Challenge | Hyde Park, Chicago | southsidepie@gmail.com

Our fabulous 2017 judges panel included:

the only thing sweeter than victory... is victory a la mode               

  • Gale Gand, a pastry chef, cookbook author, TV personality, and winner of the 2001 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Kirsten Esterly, General Manager at The Medici Restaurants
  • Cliff Rome, chef/entrepreneur with deep roots in the South Side; from growing his restaurant's produce to hiring young people from the community, from operating a gorgeous event venue Parkway Ballroom, to a Bronzeville breakfast spot, Peach's, to his catering company Rome's Joy Catering
  • Jan Holt, of The Standard Club catering and banquets
  • Yoshi Yamada, chef/entrepreneur with an international reach and splits his time between consulting and themed-cuisine pop up restaurants. He's probably our most hilarious judge; previously from Lula Cafe and the Blackbird
  • Fabiana Carter, owner of award-winning and delicious Fabiana's Bakery
  • Evan Robinson, contestant on Master Chef Jr., pals with Gordon Ramsey;  just spent weeks raising money for Puerto Rico by making and selling empanadas and pies

Hyde Park's​