The story of Pizza Revolution began many years ago when I was about 17 years old. I was working as chef at a well-known pizza chain. I had this harebrained idea to start an on-the-move pizza cart, which I would push around festivals with a big wood fired pizza oven attached to the top.
The plan being I would cook up small handheld rustic pizzas and sell them for £3 or something. Now, I think back this definitely wouldn’t work but an 18 year old me wouldn’t be told any different, so I got to work. I wrote out a business plan, drew up designs for the cart and oven, wrote a menu and started sourcing suppliers. It was all going well until I realized.... things cost money and money I really didn’t have. This little project was going to cost me way over what I could afford and as soon as it had begun it ended.
I continued working as a chef, until a few years later when I moved to London to study and found a home away from home in the big smoke. The London food scene is, in my opinion, the best in the world. There’s so much to be inspired by and apart from Italy it probably has the best pizza places in the world too.
Once I finished university I was involved with a few food based start up companies, it was here I found a real passion for business. One of the owners took me under his wing and taught me as much as he could about the ins and outs of building up a business. The most important advice being IT IS HARD, VERY HARD, which I certainly found out over the 4 year period of running around London like a maniac trying to get businesses off the ground.
One day, walking through a small market in south london, I came across a tiny pizzeria. It could seat about 20 people, it had only 6 pizzas on the menu, they cost half the price of “normal” pizzas and a big, beautiful, tiled oven sat bang in the middle of the restaurant. The atmosphere was super relaxed. I grabbed a seat, ordered a pizza and watched the theatre of the kitchen come alive. I watched as the chefs carefully handled the dough out of the wooden trays, slapped the bases open to a wonky round shape, swirl the bright red tomato sauce on, adding to it an array of greens, reds, pinks and purple toppings, pulled on to a wooden peal then boom, thrown inside an oven and to the flames. The dough instantly beginning to rise, the crust turns brown and swells like a balloon. In with the peal again, a metal one this time, slicing under the dough spinning a new side of the crust to the flames. In less than 90 seconds it’s done, on a plate, sliced into 4 and in front of me. A piping hot, fresh, beautiful, Neapolitan pizza. The crust has all these strange spots on it, the mozzarella is bright white and gooey and I’ve never seen a pizza look so good. I was in awe!
I was going to cook good pizzas and sell them. I let the idea go around my head for a few months as I have a great tendency to get very excited about something, spend loads of money on it, then let it create dust... However to my surprise that didn’t happen. Once I was 100% on the idea I figured I was ready to begin my own thing. So I came home from work one day and told my wife that I had quit my job to make Neapolitan pizza. She responded by telling me she was pregnant...
This wasn’t the most ideal situation but I figured I should probably find a new job and quick! I applied for about 60 pizzaiolo roles and received a reply from a pizzeria in Streatham for a trial shift. I walked into the restaurant all confident, given I had been a chef for a few years and managed kitchens I figured I’d get the job easy. The boss told me to get changed and come back to the kitchen.
“Av you worked in pizza kitchen before?”
“Me? Yeah, loads” I replied. Obviously I hadn’t, well, not one that took an ounce of skill to produce the pizza, anyway.
“Open the pizza.” He threw a dough ball in to a heap of flour on the counter.
“Ok. No problem.” I must have pressed my fingers about 4 times each into the crust of the dough before he said... “Pick up your things an go!”
Needless to say, I didn’t get that job. All the trial shifts and interviews that followed went a similar route. Often I would turn up, they would look me up and down, ask if I was Italian, then abruptly ask me to leave. I did manage to get a trial shift one day at a family run restaurant in Tooting. The head chef had broken his hand and needed assistance in the kitchen. I arrived at 10 am in the morning and left at 11pm that evening, no pay and no phone call back. I began to realize this was going to be a bit more difficult than I had imagined. For weeks I went around London on my bike handing out CVs to restaurants selling Neapolitan pizza...Nothing.
One day I get a phone call. It’s a trial at a Neapolitan street food place. I arrive and the owner is a young English guy. I get the job on the grounds that I start as a pot washer and learn how to do the pizzas in my own time with the intent that I would eventually move up the ranks to pizzaiolo. Result! Once inside the kitchen I did everything I could to learn the pizzas. The head chef of the kitchen, a sixty something guy from Naples who had been making pizzas from the age of 11, really didn’t take a shine to me. He didn’t understand why in the hell I wanted to learn how to make pizza so badly. He treated me as suspicious, even accusing me for being a spy that the boss had sent in to make sure the kitchen was running correctly! HAHAHA! That’s a true story!! Over a few months I worked really hard to get as much knowledge as I could for making authentic pizzas. I also tried hard to butter up the head chef because if I was going to learn how to do this properly he was going to be the guy to show me. I quickly began to realize that for the Italians making pizza was a sacred art and because it was sacred they weren’t going to hand over the knowledge to me anytime soon, in fact even in Naples young aspiring pizzaiolos aren’t allowed to touch a pizza until they have been rolling dough balls for at least 4 years!! At least, that’s what I was told.
6 months in and my best efforts to make the head chef like me begin to pay off. He can see that the pizzas I’m making for myself at lunch aren’t looking too bad, and he even begins giving me a few pointers! Things are looking up. A few more weeks and he’s letting me open the pizzas until eventually he’s on the phone to the big man saying he wants me to work in the kitchen full time! Boom! We’re in. Over the next few months I’m learning a lot, the pizzas are looking good, well, in my opinion, they were bin worthy to the head chef but I’m well on my way. One day I get a massive stroke of luck... The boss calls me. He’s re-read my CV and sees that I've done a lot of managerial/operations work in my previous job and asks if I want to manage his street food sites. I snap up the opportunity just in time for baby Eli to be born. From there I was juggling 6 street food sites across London. 2 on the South Bank, 1 in Camberwell another in Crouch End, one at Camden Brewery and a few day events. A restaurant in Waterloo had just opened and I was partly managing that too. It was all hands on deck. I would travel everywhere by bike, I was a new dad running on zero sleep, just sheer will, I was totally exhausted. I must really, really, like pizza.
I learned a lot about the business of pizza over the year that followed. In early 2018 my wife and I decided we didn’t want to raise baby Eli in London, these’s something very special about growing up in the countryside that you can’t get in London. I felt more than ready to give things a go myself, so we moved back home. So here I am back home ready to build my own pizza empire. What does the future hold? Well, I hope a business that doesn’t fall flat on its backside. Ha! But honestly I want to grow the business and make Pizza Revolution accessible in all towns across the region. I think it’s really important that everyone has a chance to be exposed to great tasting food without having to pay extortionate prices for it. For me, Pizza Revolution ticks a lot of boxes, it’s fairly priced, it’s the healthier alternative to your standard high street pizza, all the ingredients are premium and of high quality and it’s easily accessible. As we grows I’ll be extending the menu to keep the masses happy. Gluten free bases, vegan options, dips, milkshakes, desserts, chicken wings...GOOD chicken wings, focaccia sandwiches, salads and so much more. Stay tuned!! Exciting times ahead.
Use only high quality ingredients full of flavour!
Make our pizzas affordable so everyone can enjoy them
Be creative with our pizza and have fun making it!Order