The plan for GoreMade Pizza has always been to have a wood fired pizza oven as the cooking device. It's highly regarded in the business and the heat source is super abundant in our area. Not to mention that it's a completely renewable resource! I'd never had the privilege of using a wood fired pizza oven before and was having trouble finding a way to get in front of one just to know what I'm getting myself into. I was beginning to think I'd have to get a job somewhere that has one just to get to know the art form.
A couple sundays ago, I was invited... actually I invited myself, over to a friend's house who had mentioned having a small wood fired oven in his back yard. I brought 5 dough balls and a bunch of topping over to play. Holy Pizza Pie, you guys... it changed my pizza life!
The control of the heat, the art of the cook... it was all so amazing. Tending the fire in and of itself was such a thrill. The way the pizza cooks is so vastly different from a conventional oven! There's definitely a learning curve, and I'm sure every oven takes some getting used to, but the fact is that I need one! ASAP!!!
As you can tell by the above "maybe I shouldn't put this on the internet" excited photo, I really enjoyed myself. I may have crapped my pants a little... I don't really remember. This event single handedly convinced me that I need a wood fired oven as soon as possible. It was the biggest game changer in my journey thus far and I would stop at nothing to get one as soon as possible. The following week was a frenzy!
In january of 2007, when my pizza dreams were still just that, I met a guy named Bill Yerke (of Bono Pizza) who was operating a mobile wood fired oven at an art event at junctionview studios. I asked him where one gets an oven such as his and he told me that he was the creator of said oven, and I could purchase it for a mere $3,000! This was of course completely out of the question at the time, but he gave me his business card and told me to get in touch with him if I changed my mind. Nearly 4 1/2 years later, after this newly discovered love for the trade, I finally used that business card. For those of you who know me, you will know how ridiculous it is for me to keep a business card for 4 1/2 years. I'm lucky to keep track of a business card for 4 1/2 minutes! But when I checked my wallet for his business card, it was there, screaming to finally be used!
Bill has agreed to sell me his oven (though the price has considerably gone up in the last 4 1/2 years), and I couldn't be more excited about the venture. There is so much other than pizza that can be done with it, and I can't wait to explore every avenue of the oven's cooking capabilities! And you can be damn sure I'll be documenting the journey, both failures and successes, in this blog.
With the purchase of a wood fired oven, I have a whole new beast to tackle. There's the tool set, including brushes, peels, pokers and whatever else I don't know I need yet. I've got to get the proper tow hitch for the Subaru. Also, I've got to start adding wood to the equation. I've talked with my father-in-law who owns a wood burning furnace and he's agreed to help me harvest fallen trees for the cause. We're gonna start my own (not so) little wood pile!
Another thing is that my entire savings (his asking price was exactly the amount I had in savings... literally to the penny!) is being invested in this, so I'm going to have to start using the oven to make some money (PIZZA CART!), which is a whole nother can of worms! There's just so much to learn and understand that it seems impossible! Thankfully, I'm passionate and determined, and I've got a plethora of help coming from all over. Bill has promised to help me understand the pizza cart game, so that's awesome! I've got an appointment with the Small Business Development Center next week to begin dealing with the dizzying task of making the whole thing legal, and they're FREE! It's going to be an interesting ride! I can't wait to see the light on the other side of the tunnel! Here's to diving in!
Nick Gore was a corporate peon by day who just made the leap to full time pizza geek. Follow his path to world class Pizzaiolo right here on the GoreMade Pizza blog. Also, check out the facebook page.