The Wood-Fired Blog

Pizza Ovens, Photographs, and Photoshop

We had a funny interchange on the Forno Brave Facebook page a while ago, when we posted a photo of the Andiamo oven with what looked like a photoshopped background of an business park. The basic question was — “why would you Photoshop an oven in front of a business park background?” The answer to the question was, “we didn’t.” We just used Photoshop to get rid of a couple of unattractive things (like cars and power lines), and the rest of the background was real. But the overall effect was not great.


So a little time has gone by, and we are now focusing our marketing energy on photography. One of the first changes is that the business park background is now gone.

Stay tuned. We are going to be doing a lot of work to make the quality of our photography higher, and to give you (customers and potential customers) better images and more views of our ovens, to let you really know what they look like — which is important particularly if you can’t see one of our ovens at Forno Bravo in California, at one of our dealers, or in the wild.

Chef’s Wanted

We are looking for a few good chefs. You might have seen that we announced a new program today on Facebook, where we will be making a free Primavera oven available to professional, working chefs in exchange for some great recipes and photos for the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook.


So, if you are a pro chef who loves wood-fired cooking (or who wants to learn to love wood-fired cooking), or even better if you know a couple of great chefs in your community who would be interested — get in touch with us!

Send us an email at, and we will get right back to you.

Nice Forno Bravo Newspaper Profile

We had a nice profile in the Salinas Californianour local newspaper. As you might guess, they were very interested in jobs for the local community, still it’s always nice to see your company’s name in print! We’re getting a copy framed for the showroom.

Californian Logo


The article is only available in their “archive” at this point, so here is the text.


February 9, 2013

Pizza Oven Maker Moves to Salinas

After nine years of impressive growth, Forno Bravo, a global manufacturer of residential and commercial pizza ovens, has found a new home in Salinas.

Forno Bravo, which is still decorating its new headquarters on West Market Street, employs about 30 skilled workers, and plans to bring that number to more than 40 in about a month as the company ramps up to meet spring and summer demand, said Brent Wooldridge, engineering manager for the company.

While it can no longer be called a start-up, the company has grown from a boutique maker of ovens in 2003 to having a global presence in just nine years. The brainchild of retired Silicon Valley marketing executive James Bairey, the company has a network of dealers in North America, the United Kingdom, Holland, Denmark, Australia and Asia.

“And we are in the process of selling a unit in the Maldives,” said sales representative Amber Cuellar, who was out helping guys load a unit for a customer Friday afternoon. The Republic of Maldives is a chain of islands about 250 southwest of India.

The company started moving to Salinas from Marina last month after deciding it needed a single building — it was spread out over two buildings in Marina — and space to grow.

Bairey knows his way around the world of high-growth companies. As a high-tech marketing executive, he worked with companies that included Microsoft, Intel, Apple, 3Com and Novell, as well as scores of successful start-up companies. While he has lived in Spain, England, Austria and Italy, he now lives in Pebble Beach and consequently set up manufacturing in Marina and now Salinas.

Forno Bravo does much of its marketing online, which affords them the ability to market internationally. The gas- and wood-fired ovens range from smaller residential units for about $1,200 to large commercial ovens priced just under $10,000. The company also sells everything from gourmet basalmic vinegar and pizza-making kits to terracotta bakeware and outdoor fireplaces.

The company started out marketing solely to the residential market, but the commercial side is what is currently driving growth, Wooldridge said. The reason is obvious. An August 2012 Packaged Facts survey shows that 97 percent of U.S. adults eat pizza, and 93 percent have gotten food from a pizza restaurant in the past 12 months.

Making pizzas at home, where consumers can control ingredients, has also been trending up. According to NPD’s National Eating Trends survey, pizzas prepared at home increased to 6.4 billion in 2010 from 5.4 billion in 2009.

The success of Forno Bravo — Italian for “baked good” — is also a plus for Salinas in terms of tax revenue and the up to 45 jobs the company brings with it.

Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, writing in the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce publication, said he requested an expedited permit process for the deal, something Daniel Vorhies, an associate vice president at Cassidy Turley, a commercial real-estate brokerage in Salinas, said he appreciated.

“Absolutely,” Vorhies said. “Joe (Gunter), Jeff Weir, Robert Latino and Courtney Grossman (all with the city of Salinas) understood what we needed to get the deal done.”

Before the lease by Forno Bravo, the building at 251 W. Market had sat empty for roughly five years, Vorhies said, adding that the building’s owners also “worked hard to lure the company from Marina.”

DC Elite Pizza and Forno Bravo in the Washington Post

DC Pizza Elite

We had a really nice article about Dave Konstantin (Forno Bravo DC), and his DC Elite Pizza group in the Washington Post. Dave’s group, primarily wood-fired oven owners in the Washington DC area, has been meeting for years, and has grown to about 60 members.

WaPost logo

Konstantin is a lighting designer and the leader of DC Elite Pizza. The Arlington resident began selling the posh pizza oven kits part-time in 2007 and formed the club as a kind of informal support group: “I thought it would be nice for people to share pizzamaking tips, recipes, learn about new techniques.”

His e-mail list stands at 60. Folks who have come on this day own ovens, or might be on the verge of doing so — a few with wives and kids along. Here, they trade notes on sources for the necessary 00 flour. They compare peels (wood vs. metal with slats) and hydration percentages while they check out each other’s application of sauces (thin, uncooked) and toppings (Patrick Moffitt’s smoked mozzarella, lemon, basil and olive oil combo draws instant attention). Just about everybody swears by an almost-translucent, stretchy amoeba of Neapolitan-style dough that will puff and blister in under two minutes while remaining chewy and soft.

We need more groups like this around the country. If you want to start a local chapter, drop us a note at Forno Bravo. We will help you set things up!

100,000 eBooks

We’re making the world a better place one pizza oven at a time — and we’re now past the  100,000 mark for eBook downloads. Very exciting! Today there are many thousands of Pompeii ovens (and nearly 10,000 Forno Bravo ovens) installed across the globe, in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The Pompeii Oven eBook is free, so if you have been wondering why pizza ovens are so great and how you could put one in your backyard, you should take a look.

Pompeii Oven Cover


Mobile Forno Bravo in Des Moines

Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Parlo Pizza (I really like their name, Parlo Pizza — which means, literally, “I speak pizza.”) is now live in Des Moines, IA, and they have received some nice press and a fun video from the Des Moines Register.

Turner makes his public debut June 4 at the Beaverdale Farmers Market, and hopes to pop up at other events around town. But before you start planning the super-duper supreme, double cheese, wood-oven pizza of your dreams, know that Parlo Pizza doesn’t work that way. Because the oven is so hot, Turner says, pizzas with loads of toppings just don’t work. 

“The crust is incinerated before the toppings are cooked,” he says.

Parlo Pizza will sell three main “flavors” of pies: margherita (tomato sauce, cheese and basil), marinara (tomato, garlic, olive oil; no cheese), and Napoletana (tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, olive oil, oregano). 

A limited number of toppings can be added to those (think homemade sausage). He will also sell bruschetta (say broo-SKET-ta, not broo-SHET-ta) using bread made from balls of pizza dough that have been allowed to rise overnight before being baked and topped with a traditional tomato-basil mixture.

Nel bocca del lupa!

Pizza with Central Milling Tipo 00 — very nice

Our older daughter is home for spring break, which is a real pleasure. She’s relaxing (and not in Florida), and it’s great having everyone together. Which is as good a reason as there is for a pizza party.


I used Central Milling Tipo 00 (rather than our usual Molino Caputo Pizzeria flour) and really enjoyed the different. The Central Milling flour is very fine and it’s a pleasure to work with, and the pizza crust has a nice crunch and a lot of texture and flavor. It’s a real manly (muscular) pizza, if you know what I mean.

That’s the good news. The not so good new is that I made a 1.5kg patch of dough in my KitchenAid stand mixers, and just about killed it. It made that burner gear small and shut itself off after about seven minutes. Though it came back on later.

The formula was 65% hydration, so 1.5kg flour, 30 gr. salt, 15 gr. yeast and 975 gr. water. I still have three 275 gr. dough balls left — so I get to make bread tomorrow.

Enjoy your spring break if you have one coming.

Vancouver’s Most Famous Chef Loves His Forno Bravo Oven

Here’s a fun story from the Vancouver’s The Globe and Mail.


David Hawksworth owns and runs what is often recognized as Vancouver’s best restaurant, but he keeps his favourite kitchen toy at home. Six months ago, he bought himself a Forno Bravo wood-burning pizza oven, and he has been playing with it ever since. “I get it really hot with three types of hardwood: maple, alder and birch,” he says gleefully. “It makes a great pizza!”


Here’s some fun background information on David from his Hawksworth Restaurant website. Wow, what a talented guy:

David Hawksworth

Chef David Hawksworth realises his culinary vision at his first eponymous restaurant, in the very heart of downtown Vancouver. At Hawksworth Restaurant he has created the ideal setting to deliver compelling contemporary Canadian cuisine; a demonstration of his European-trained technical ability, deep appreciation for local ingredients and an absolute insistence on only the very best quality.

A native Vancouverite who spent a decade honing his talents in Europe working in Michelin-starred kitchens such as Le Manoir aux Qaut’ Saisons, L’Escargot and The Square, David Hawksworth soon emerged as one of Canada’s leading culinary talents upon his return in summer 2000. With Hawksworth at the helm, Vancouver’s West restaurant became a perennial winner at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards and drew attention from international media who immediately recognized his talents.

In 2005, Hawksworth was named Vancouver’s Chef of the Year and in 2008 he was named to Western Living’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ and became the youngest chef inductee in to the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. Hawksworth has travelled extensively as a guest chef, most notably to the James Beard House, in New York City , Masters of Food & Wine, in Carmel as well as Sevva in Hong Kong. Hawksworth has donated his time to a number of charitable causes and continues his long-standing commitment to Fishing For Kids the West Coast Fishing Club’s annual charity tournament benefiting the Canucks Autism Network and BC Children’s Hospital.

The New Forno Bravo Showroom

We’re looking forward to seeing you at our new office and factory at 251 W. Market St in Salinas, CA. We have come a long way in 9+ years (I can still remember meeting customers at our first small warehouse in Windsor, CA), and we have lots more planned in the months ahead.

Here is a photo of our new showroom — the colors are really nice, and there is lots of space to look around and get a good idea of which oven would work best for you.


Brick oven painting on Spanish ceramics

We spent our spring break in Spain this year (it’s always early because of our daughter’s school schedule). It was seriously cold, but the food, the countryside and the people were great. We started in Madrid, and drove through Toledo and Cuenca to the Costa Blanca, where my wife’s parents retired many years ago. It was great reviving some fond memories from the past, and I got to enjoy a great Paella at Calpe harbor, a coastal village.

Spain does not have a big wood oven culture (the ovens sold by the local building supply stores and ceramics outlets were made in Portugal), or a history of great bread — but I still found this at a bakery in Toledo! I really like it. Spain has a wonderful history with painted ceramics and terracotta bakeware (which is where the bakeware we sell in the Forno Bravo Store is made).