The Firepod story started several years ago, high in the Italian Alps. David, one of our Directors was teaching children to ski. Part of his punishment for having this wonderful job was to supervise the kids at lunchtime.
When it came to choosing where to eat, there was one very popular mountain restaurant called The Bettaforca, high on a ridge between Champoluc and Gressoney. The reason it's so popular? - They make pizzas to die for!
At the same time, David was staying in a beautiful 4-star hotel with lovely fine dining. Despite this, David and his colleagues skipped their meals and opted for a locally renowned pizza restaurant.
The big question, why were their pizzas so much nicer than the ones we cook at home?
So he asked the owner and the answer was simple...
- Oven Temperature – Authentic Pizza restaurants cook pizzas at temperatures between 290 and 320º C for 3 to 4 minutes. Ovens at home only reach just over 220º!
- The Base – A real authentic base is essential to get the true taste and the high proteins flour create the blisters that make it look so good.
- Bake on a cordierite stone - The porous nature of the stone used absorbs moisture, resulting in a crispy base
- The Toppings – Important but personal – everyone has their own favourites
Back home he had a chat with a friend about this -
Ok, so we can buy a stone to cook on, source a supplier of authentic bases and get the toppings from our local supermarket – simple - except for the last essential factor – 320ºC !! Our oven takes ages to reach 220ºC – and that is its maximum!
We needed an oven that would achieve these high temperatures, but it also needed to:
- Reach the cooking temperature quickly
- Cook pizza perfectly
- Be affordable
- Be easy and safe to use
- Be portable so we could take it to friends for pizza parties
- Be robust – so it will last for many years
- Look cool (yes, these days something very hot can be cool!)
- Be easy to clean
- Be easy to store away when not in use
- Also, we thought it would be good if it could do other things as well – but perfect pizza was the priority.
To get it perfect we had to design our own!
But maybe there was already something out there that achieved this? – so we started looking. We found electric things that wouldn’t do the job any better that a combination oven, big garden pizza ovens – these worked well but were a big investment and a permanent fixture (or hard to move). We found some good wood fired units – but they didn’t fit into the ‘Easy to use’ or ‘Reach cooking temperature quickly’ categories – too much fiddling about for us. So we concluded that the only answer was to design our own.
We needed an oven that was quick, easy and convenient. Wood and wood pellet ovens are too slow to heat up, fiddly and are hard to control the temperature. Many get way too hot to cook perfect pizzas. So gas was the obvious choice, but we were concerned that we would not get that smoky flavour. Our friends at The Bettaforca explained that it was not the wood that this comes from, but the base cooking on the hot cordierite stone and that many top pizzerias cooked with gas. Perfect, gas it was!
We approached several design companies before coming across Jedco in Weybridge. John, the MD, had all the experience we were looking for, Gavin had the exact enthusiasm and design skills we needed, and Claire who would keep us boys under control! So we handed over our briefing…
After about 18 months of testing, tweaking and perfecting, our very first Firepod was ready.
In December 2016 we then ran a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, to raise funds for manufacturing. July 2017 our first Firepods started shipping out to customers.
We continue to tweak and improve the Firepod to our growing community of dedicated fans, the journey has only just begun.