The Wood-Fired Blog

And so it begins….A Girl and Her Dragon!

Where the Dragon Quest all began

Where the Dragon Quest all began

And so it begins….

My quest began sometime in June 2014, sitting with a glass of lemonade and more family members than you could shake a pizza peel at.

Before I finish that story, some background information is in order. My name is Kylie, Kylie Holland if you want to get fancy, Kylie Kies Holland if you’re my mother and I’ve misplaced something rather important, like a young cousin (it happens to everyone, right?) But I digress.

I am 15, a sophomore in a Bay Area school that’s a hop, skip, and a train ride away from San Francisco. Last June, my father’s family decided to convene in Nantucket for a brief reunion. Upon discovering a well-written bike/hike map, my mother rented us all bicycles and announced a trip to a local brewery! Huzzah, some of us were underage, but, no matter, we were going to drink lemonade.

 First, we promptly got lost. That, however, is not important. What is important is that we persevered because, had we not, this would be a pretty non-existent blog. We found our way thanks to an exceedingly kind local (and in spite of some less than amiable truckers). Once at our destination, my sisters (Devon, 14, Piper, 12) and I discovered, to our utter joy, that the Brewery had a contract with a food truck.

Actually, what the proprietors had was way better ⎯ A pizza stand, but not just any pizza stand. Beneath that canvas shield stood Steve, owner and founder of Roamin’ Pizzeria. In case the name didn’t tip you off, he owns the only mobile pizza oven on Nantucket (not entirely surprising, given that Nantucket only has 10,000 or so inhabitants, but impressive nonetheless).

Now, this isn’t a Roamin’ Pizzeria advert, just a wholehearted endorsement of Steve (and his amazingly delicious pizza you MUST have if you ever go to Nantucket).  Alas I must move on from Nantucket and transport you back to my hometown circa July 2014, via an untested atom transference machine.  Provided we arrive in less than three pieces, and one of those pieces contains both our brain and our ears, we’ll be treated to a discussion about Quest.

   At my school Quest is a year-long independent study/passion project. Basically the school tells us to go find something we like and explore it for a year.  Last year, I recreated Henry Thoreau’s Walden Pond. I decided you couldn’t understand Thoreau unless you lived his life so I took up woodworking and built a chair, bed, table and cabin, learned to sew some clothes and learned about edible plants.  Let’s just say chickweed looks way too much like poison oak for my tastes and leave it at that.

After long deliberation, filled with no end of stress eating trying to figure out this year’s “passion,” I remembered Steve’s pizza, and decided to recreate his mobile pizza oven enterprise for myself, or at least try.

 Wait, she’s talking about pizza? You ask incredulously, finger hovering over the back button. Don’t go yet! I’m finally getting to the good parts! I write up a Quest proposal submit it to my school, and get the OK (provided I bring in a few pizza samples sometime along the way — for academic purposes only, of course).

 My first stop is the internet. I buy a few books on bread and pizza making, look up some tutorials…and that’s where the process ground to a stop. You see, I can build small cabins and make reasonably decent looking skirts (provided your eyes don’t linger on the hem), but masonry is not my strong suit. I needed help.

First I emailed Steve, who recommended the Fire Within to me. I checked out the website, looked at the workshop dates, realized it was in Boulder (and that the workshop season was over), and ended pretty much where I started.

Then, a breakthrough. My Aunt Sharon belonged to a club, and one of her fellow members had built himself a pizza oven and was known as a great cook (and a seriously nice guy).  I met my first mentor, Paul Molnar, for a couple of hours and came out of the meeting with a business card, three pages of notes, and another recommendation, Forno Bravo Ovens. Angelic choir

I was heading home from a Model United Nations conference in Monterey and Forno Bravo was on the way home.  So I set up a meeting with Timothy Cole on a Sunday at Forno Bravo’s headquarters in Salinas.  Yes, I said Sunday, even though they are only open M-F, Timothy Cole, Forno Bravo’s tremendous COO, was kind enough to meet us on his day off, for which I will be eternally grateful! 

We pulled up at Forno Bravo and went inside. The next hour and a half, well, quite frankly, it was amazing! So many pizza ovens! So many business opportunities! He walked us through Forno Bravo’s history, its showroom and its current business. He spent a ton of time giving me my first real tutorial on the mobile pizza oven business. I walked out knowing the oven I wanted, leads on trailer makers, tips on next steps, another ringing endorsement of Fire Within’s workshop and pages of notes (seriously, at this point in time, I’m probably a leading cause of deforestation). I also promised to blog my journey to help others as he and so many others are helping me.

That’s where I am now. A head full of ideas and a rough draft plan. With a little luck, a lot of work (and probably more than a few burns), I hope to start a successful venture. I’ve probably exceeded a word limit (and your patience), so I’ll end here but stay tuned for the next installment in the adventures of A Girl and Her Dragon Pizza.

Napoli oven in Mobile Catering Application

This photo was recently shared with us by our friends with Concession Nation in Florida.

Another mobile catering trailer built using a Napoli 120 wood oven.

http://www.fornobravo.com/commercial_pizza_oven/napoli.html

Pic_DaveStarkey1_Napoli Pic_DaveStarkey3

Concession Nation’s Roma style Mobile Catering oven

This oven was produced by our friends in Ft Lauderdale – Concession Nation.

The oven installed is from our Roma Product line, modified and installed into Concession Nation’s unique mobile catering trailer.

To learn more about their Roma style mobile catering solution, click here.

http://www.concessionnation.com/concession-nation-shop-concession-trailers.html#italian-cuisine

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Concession_Roma

 

 

Undergrad Takes on Food Truck at Cal

From the San Jose Mercury News.

Koh may be the first undergrad to run his own food truck at Cal, but street food fever is taking over not only cities, but also college campuses from coast to coast. Schools in Southern California, Texas, Oregon and Washington have launched their own versions of Off the Grid street food fests, bringing fleets of food trucks on campus. A trio of students at Bowdoin College in Maine launched a food truck in February. And law students in Pennsylvania have begun holding workshops for anyone interested in starting a food truck business of their own.

Photo from D. Ross Cameron/San Jose Mercury News

Exciting. There sure weren’t gourmet food trucks when I went to college (all those years ago).

Check out DoJo Dogs list of Asian Fusion Hotdogs:

Ninjitsu: A Dojo Dog dog topped with shredded nori, flash-grilled cabbage, teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, in a hoagie-style bun.

Kendo: Bonito flakes, cabbage, soy paste and wasabi mayonnaise.

Wushu: Pork sung, cabbage, katsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.

Shaolin Monk: Lettuce, grilled cabbage and a miso glaze, wrapped in nori rather than a bun.

More Food Truck Numbers

From WCTV in Tallahassee—Food Truck Boom in Tallahassee.

They are riding the wave of the fastest growing business in Florida. According to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, there are 60 food trucks registered in Leon County alone. That has more than doubled since 2008.

“It’s growing tremendously. Statewide in 2008 about 2500, now about 3,000 and we are seeing people embracing this new business model and they are reaching out, creating their dreams,” DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson said.

Have Food Trucks Gone Too Far?

I got a real kick out of this first-class rant by Los Angeles public radio commentator and performer Sandra Tsing Loh.

This comes from www.altadeno.patch.com. It’s just true and funny. It reminds me of the “beer flavored beer” ads that featured Denis Leary.

Tsing Loh’s radio piece, which aired on Pasadena’s KPCC station can be heard here, or you can read a transcript of the piece.

Her complaints included:

God bless my native city of Los Angeles, and its pulsing norteno reggaeton beat, but I think sometimes there can be TOO much hipness, TOO much multiculturalism, TOO much blending. Do we really NEED a Korean Mexican short rib minicrepe with mandarin oranges and coconut shavings with a side of jicama slaw marinated in Red Bull, handed through a tiny window by a tattooed Cal State Northridge student who’s reading a book on French symbolism and charging three dollars for smart water? I mean how smart is our smart water supposed to be? If it was that smart, I wouldn’t ALSO be trying the kimchi on a stick.

And:

Unfortunately, the welcoming visual mandala of food trucks will represent the height of your lunch experience. Because when you actually read DESCRIPTIONS of what is offered, now comes that familiar smoggy cloud of CONFUSION. It’s like attending an alumni REUNION of things you’ve never met. We have what the LA Weekly voted, in 2011, to be “LA’s most beloved Bacon chocolate” truck, hand-pulled venison sliders, kimchi on a stick, crazy uncle po’boy lobsterooni and those four simple letters, BOBA. I don’t know what boba is– I don’t want it– I want people to stop insisting on my getting to know it– I can barely run the SAFARI app on my Iphone– I want boba to go away.

You can read the entire article here.

Food Trucks by the Numbers

From BusinessWeek.

The new model being set by Porc Mobile in Washington and Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in New York has moved beyond hot dogs and ice cream to miso soup, lobster rolls and crepes. Mobile food- preparation businesses increased 15 percent over five years to make up 37 percent of the $1.4 billion of U.S. street vending revenue in 2011, according to researcher IBISWorld Inc.

“They’ve grown aggressively,” said Nima Samadi, a senior analyst at Santa Monica, California-based IBISWorld. “It’s at a heightened pitch at this point.”

Tuk Tuk Electric Catering Cart

I’ve been reading and writing about Food Trucks, and came across this.

From www.designboom.com, this is an electric vehicle designed specifically for cater and food vending. What a kick. I want one. Put an oven in the back, and I could deliver pizza to our neighbors.

Here is more from Design Boom.

The dutch company tuk tuk factory has developed ‘e-tuk vendo‘, a fully electric rickshaw-style van for foodtrucks and mobile catering.

More common in India, Asia, and Africa than in western countries, ‘tuk tuks’ are three wheeled cars typically used as novelty taxis and for public transportation, powered either by biking or fuel. tuk tuk factory produces some of the first electric models of the vehicles, to which the ‘vendo’ has just been added as the first craft designed specifically for food service.

You can click on the article to read more. Or you can go straight to the Tuk Tuk company web site.

Sew Hungry in Ottawa

From the The Spectator in Ottawa.

It’s the second incarnation of Sew Hungry, a food truck and restaurant rally sponsored by the Ottawa Street BIA. They say it will be the biggest such rendezvous ever held in Canada, with 15 trucks from all over southern Ontario in one place at the same time.

And yes, wood-fired pizza from a truck.

Sew Hungry takes place May 4 along Ottawa North between Barton Street and Dunsmure Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until trucks run out of food, which in some cases could happen before the final gong). You simply show up, line up, buy up what you want direct from the window, then eat up.