I cook Neapolitan style/inspired pizza. When starting out on my pizza making journey, I genuinely had very little knowledge of all the different styles of pizza. After doing some research it was clear that Neapolitan pizza was where it all began. So that was the style of pizza I decided to learn first, and that was the start of the rabbit hole I went down.
I was hooked with the history of this style and the fact that it is so simple in terms of ingredients but so complex at the same time. There’s no hiding with this style, if your dough or ingredients aren’t up to scratch it will stand out. I love all styles of pizza but for me, Neapolitan style is always my go to.
I was born in Worcestershire and grew up in a small village with literally nothing going on.
As a kid, I was such a fussy eater and my favourite food in the world was chips! I always remember my nan making proper homemade chips. I’d always bug her to make them but she didn’t often agree. When she did, I’d go over and it felt like the best thing in the world. Proper homemade chips with a generous amount of Heinz ketchup for dipping.
I moved down to Brighton when I was 18 to study music of all things!
It was all just a bit of an accident if I’m honest. I’d started making pizzas at home and got a bit obsessed with it all. After about a year of cooking at home in my oven I decided to invest in a proper pizza oven. I bought a Gozney Roccbox and it blew my mind. I spent another year making pizzas in that oven and getting more and more hooked. I think it was probably down to me talking about pizza all the time but my friends asked me to make some pizzas at a party and I obviously jumped at the opportunity. It went well and lots of guests asked me if this was a business. That was the moment I realised that I would absolutely love to make pizzas for a living but the ideal of doing it full time seemed so far out of reach.
I set up in November 2019 as a weekend hobby to earn some extra cash whilst working in a full time office job. I was booking in private events for 2020 and had planned to do 2020 as a bit of a building year to find my feet but whilst keeping the full time job. Then Covid hit and everything changed, I got put on furlough (later made redundant), had a baby on the way and a my diary full of pizza events all got cancelled.
Our daughter was born in April and 6 weeks later I jumped into full time pizza mode. I set up a reheat at home pizza delivery service, I’d cook them in my back garden in the morning and then go and deliver them all myself in the afternoon. That was such a crucial point for the business as it was when I realised that I had a good product and I was determined to make it work however I could. We had a baby with colic and another daughter who was 3, so I was savagely sleep deprived and stressed out in general as I suppose everyone was at the time. But making pizzas in my garden and getting to meet and connect with so many people are some of my happiest memories. Looking back, it was genuinely mad though!
I’m still lucky that making pizza doesn’t feel like work so I’d say making pizza. And spending time with my family.
I guess the first time I ever worked in a proper kitchen and we had our first order! That was last March, again another business change of direction as the reheat deliveries had slowed down. The finish at home market was now so over saturated and to be honest, with much bigger businesses that had more marketing money than I could compete with. I couldn’t do events due to the lockdown in place so had to get thinking. I took the gamble on hiring a dark kitchen and running a delivery kitchen in Hove. Up against some incredible pizza places I was running a kitchen with a team of three and it was insane. I think the opening night was the most nervous I have ever been. But the feeling when that first order came through was amazing!
Having the realisation that Uber/Deliveroo don’t actually care about you, your business or your food. That hit hard especially because I care so much about every single pizza I make. The main issue is that these companies literally have no accountability for drivers that mishandle your food or give you the runaround when they don’t show up etc. It is heartbreaking when a customer receives a pizza that has been carried sideways or delivered cold because the driver hasn’t transported it properly and you can’t do anything about it.
Probably chasing that high salary and being generally pretty miserable.
I’ve never been to Naples. Not out of choice, I’d always planned to go but then obviously Covid hit. I’ll go one day, I have to! I’m also vegetarian.
One day I’d love to have my own place. A casual pizza place that I can stay involved in and make dough, eat pizza and drink espresso all day. Somewhere that I can get to know my customers and they can get to know me. As boring and unambitious as this might sound, I’d just like to be here in 5-10 years time making great pizzas, however that might look.
Focaccia. It’s like the gateway bread and is so good for gaining an understanding of fermentation and how it works.
I like to go and eat different cuisines to see if there’s anything I can steal/borrow that could work on a pizza.
I’d love to do a pizza tour of London, there’s so many amazing pizza places right here in our own country. Of course, as soon as I can, I’m jumping on a flight and going to sample some of the delights on offer in Naples as well.
Things have changed for me over the past few years having turned vegetarian. I’d have always said Lost Boys chicken wings with Wendy sauce, man I miss those… Their veggie and vegan offerings are great though. FIKA hits the spot every time for me! I’m also a big fan of Baby Bao at The Pond.
Published: 22nd March 2022