Sunday 27 April 2014

Lighting a fire / Starting a business

Friday morning was cold. Cold and damp. We’d not lit the fire in weeks and she was sulking. The rain got heavier as I carried the logs over to the Landy and my t-shirt clung to my back - even the northerner in me was starting to concede this was a poor choice of clothing. The first match didn’t take. Nor the second. Nor the third. I was damp at best.

But we got there, eventually the kindling took, then the logs, the oven warmed and we had a great event that evening. It stuck me though, while standing there nurturing the flames, that lighting a fire's a lot like starting a business. Here are the notes I jotted down in the rain:

The initial spark, that first idea burns bright but struggles to take hold

You need to convince those around you, the body of the oven has to warm. Your energy pours into the surroundings

If you don’t work at it, if you don’t keep working at it, you lose that heat, that momentum and have to start again

Early on one damp log chokes the flames. You need to work with the best, be it people or wood 

There will be damp days, cold days, days when you have to cup the embers and blow to keep the dream alive

When the flames are roaring, when the idea’s established things get easier but we’re not there yet

Thursday 17 April 2014

The fire’s lit

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It’s quite likely a dog’s peed here

Residential North London isn’t the easiest area to cure an oven. I’m sat writing this while tending to the fire. And what a fire. The Dragon Oven team have done us proud. Setting that first match to the inside of my first car was still pretty surreal but with a month or so of regular fires required to drive out the water there was no hanging about.

So what have we been up to?

Well needless to say the last couple of months have flown by. I’ve now quit my job and the transition from banker to baker is underway. We spent sometime with the Honest Crust guys helping them out on their stall and can’t have been completely hopeless as they floated the idea of nipping off to the pub and leaving us to it a couple of times.

We officially live in a pizzeria

We’ve spent a lot of time ordering equipment and boy do you need a lot of equipment. There’s no hiding the fact we’re launching a pizza business now, but unexpected perks include giant domino rally.

Meeting suppliers

The real joy comes from meeting suppliers though and we’ve already teamed up with some amazing talent. The Cobble Lane lads really are meat meastros and it was during one particularly gluttonous tasting session where a smile was etched onto my face on realising that this actually counted as work.

We’re hoping to source our tomatoes from the Isle of Wight, not only are these closer to home but they taste incredible. It’s a learning curve for all of us, their largest passata container was previously 500ml so we’ll be upscaling somewhat, but we’ve no doubt all the work now will pay off and the plan’s to host a pizza party on their farm to celebrate the collaboration.

Bristol Bound

We’re now officially members of BEATS, the coolest sounding organisation which has ever let me amongst its ranks. Bristol Eats or BEATS is Bristol’s street food collective, an affable bunch focussed on bringing the best food, music and art to Bristol’s streets.

Whilst last in town I also got to meet up with the team behind Bristol’s St Mungo’s homeless centre. Our first event in Bristol is looking to be linked to their centre and we’re particularly excited about a partnership whereby unused dough balls from the markets would go to make bread for the homeless.

Where to find us

Our soft launch at the Arch last Friday was awesome and we sold out within a couple of hours. The main event will be a couple of weeks later on 25th April linking in with their last Friday of the month competition so why not come along for a climb and a pizza. If any more incentive’s required both nights tie into their charity push and we’ll be donating £1 from every pizza sold to the charity of the month.

After that it’s to the hills, to a wedding half way up the Old Man of Coniston. I will be engaging diff lock and low range gearbox purely because I can as we trundle up the track to the venue. Keep an eye out for pictures, we can’t wait to see the Landy churning out pizza with views of the Lake District stretching below.

The fire’s building, watch it glow...