I had the pleasure of attending an event at The Wood Oven on the seafront in Boscombe, Bournemouth.
So what was the event for? What was it all about? And most importantly, what happened?
Well the event was the chance for the Urban Guild to present the new edition to their empire and that was, The Wood Oven. The Wood Oven is part of the family owned group of businesses led by its founder Mark Cribb. I must say that the passion that Mark has shown for his business and the food industry is unreal. He loves to provide the best experience for people to enjoy.
Mark gave a lovely quote – “We help people spend time together”.
You know what, that is really nice that someone is not just thinking about how to make money for their business, Mark has a refreshing look on everything, his quote really made me smile, it has shown that he is not only a businessman, but someone who cares about his customers.
Mark did say that he really liked an American Chef called Danny Meyer, especially for a quote that he had said. Once we were told the quote, you know what, it really sat with me and made me think a lot about food and people.
“Eye contact, a smile, a hug and some food”. – Danny Meyer
So what happened at the event? What did we do?
Well it was a really nice evening; we listened to a great presentation, then handed over to The Wood Oven’s very own Head Chef, James. James went through firstly what is in a truly authentic pizza dough. It is 4 simple ingredients, flour, yeast, water and some salt. All mixed together, then portioned up and stored for 24 hours before used. James then went through how to get the ball of pizza dough into a pizza base. Now this is where I thought we would see dough flying into the air and a gigantic pizza base.
James quickly dismissed the pizza tossing, or flaring as he calls it. He did say that this does absolutely nothing for the pizza dough.
So this is where it started to get rather interesting. We were all given some pizza dough and a pizza tray. Following James’ instructions, we all made a very good pizza base, it was meant to be around 12 inches, but I think mine was a bit smaller. So you may be thinking, ok, you made a base, but that is only the first part. We were told that there will be a little bit of a competition between the bloggers for the top 3 pizza’s made by the bloggers. Each of the winner would go onto a specials board for 2 weeks each, so for me, the competition was on, as a food blogger, I feel that I have some sort of reputation to live up to and defend.
We were presented with a table full of wonderful ingredients for our toppings. Everything from 5 different cheeses, homemade tomato sauce for the base, fish, meats and even pineapple.
I’m not too competitive, ok, that may be a lie, I am extremely competitive, so wanted to do everything within my power, knowledge and skills to place at the top 3.
I decided that I would start off with a tomato base, followed by salami, caramelised onions and topped off with Dorset Blue Vinny cheese. I wanted to keep it simple but have the right balance of flavours.This is where I need to tell you something, I didn’t just decide that all those ingredients might be good on a pizza, no not at all. I did the only thing that I knew how to do, I tried the ingredients first. I knew I wanted cheese and a meat, so I tried different cheeses, found some not right, too strong or wouldn’t work with the meat.
Once the pizza was created and ready for cooking, they were taken down to the kitchen to cook. While this was happening, we moved onto the next part of the night, cupcakes!!
So we went to the Urban Guilds very own baker Kay, she works very hard, making all the cakes for the Urban Guild’s outlets. She had made us some lovely cupcakes, but was teaching us how to decorate them and pipe work. A demonstration was given, we all watched with eager anticipation and then it was our turn.
We were shown 3 different types of piping, which I did try to replicate and decorate, I have to say that I think my results were not too bad at all.
One Thing I have to say, I thought that we were given the bog standard butter cream, by oh boy, how wrong was I? It was a white chocolate butter cream. This stuff was like heaven, if I knew it tasted as good as it did, I doubt much, if any, would have ended up on the cupcakes.
Now back to the pizza. All the pizza’s were cooked in their wood fired oven, I really do mean a wood oven, this didn’t have any gas to help, it was purely wood, this oven needed as much care and attention as the pizza’s did.
The pizza’s were brought out in pizza’s boxes, our names were underneath the box, so we couldn’t tell who’s was who’s. Chef James cut all the pizza’s into pieces so that we could all score them. We have 3 tickets each, each with a number, 1, 2 and 3, for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. So after some pizza eating, I made my choices. There was some seriously good pizza, so it was hard to choose.
Once all the voting and eating was done, Mark counted up the scores and got us all to gather around. *DRUM ROLL* 3rd Place – went to another blogger with a great pizza. I was a little disappointed, but thought there are still 2 chances to place, so I will hold out. I was starting to feel a little nervous here.
Mark threw a huge curve ball, there was going to be no second place!! I thought there was going to be uproar, probably from me, but the reason there was no second place is 2 pizza’s scored the same score, so they were joint 1st place. Because there was no second place, the joint 2 pizza’s were also going to go on the specials menu for 4 weeks instead of 2. My heart was racing now, so much at stake!!
*BIGGER DRUM ROLLS* I WON!! I won joint 1st place. My pizza had been voted joint top tasting pizza!! What an achievement. I think I need to update my CV to say that I got joint 1st place in a pizza making competition.
I was so shocked and amazed, but overjoyed. BUT now the hard part came, what to call the pizza? So I took to twitter and Matt, the Urban Guild’s Marketing Manager came to my aid. Thanks for the help with this one Matt!!
May I present to you, The Big Blue:
Now the pizza is on the specials menu at The Wood Oven and will be available until 2nd December 2017. The Wood Oven does eat in, take away and also available for home delivery.
During the summer months, as The Wood Oven does their own deliveries, they were delivering pizza and beers to the beach huts along the sea front, I’m sure no other take away would do this.
I have booked in for “Date Night” to go and try my pizza, I want to make sure James does justice to my pizza, or more likely, make sure that I did a good enough job at making the pizza in the first place.
So if you are in Bournemouth and fancy trying a great pizza, I would suggest to go and check these out, and most importantly, try The Big Blue, let me know your thoughts, it would be great to know what you think.
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