One of the UK’s first dedicated pizza equipment demonstration kitchens officially opened in Preston on 15 October, with stretched dough replacing traditional ribbon at an official ‘toppings out’ ceremony.
Holding the dough stretch were Andrew Manciocchi, of Orchard Ovens by Valoriani, and Linda Lewis, of Linda Lewis Kitchens, the two brains behind a new facility that enables chefs to test wood-fired, gas and electric pizza ovens, to help with their buying decisions.
Cutting through the dough with their pizza wheels were Dino Manciocchi and Viola Valoriani, the entrepreneurs driving Orchard Ovens by Valoriani. Viola is based at her family’s pizza oven manufacturing business in Reggello, Italy, and had flown in for the opening.
Catering equipment dealers, chefs, restaurant owners and pub chain managers all attended the launch, as well as Luciano Vendone of Deli Conti, who made pizzas onsite for the day.
As well as being home to wood-fired and gas Tuscan pizza ovens by Valoriani, and electric pizza ovens by Cuppone, the kitchen houses a Cuppone dough mixer, two Friulco dough ball rounders and dividers, plus a Friulco pizza former roller, a Cuppone pizza press and a Valoriani Forno charcoal grill.
In terms of accessories, pizza chefs can choose between ranges produced by Lilly and GI Metal, whilst pizza refrigeration equipment is also on show.
Lewis commented: “We have invested heavily in this demonstration kitchen and believe it to be a completely unique facility within the UK catering market. Linda Lewis Kitchens and our Italian manufacturer, Cuppone, recognised the value of working in partnership with Orchard Ovens by Valoriani, as chefs often have a definite idea whether they wish to buy a wood-fired, gas or electric oven, and so there is no competition. We believe we have created a marriage made in heaven and that’s certainly the feedback we have had from our launch day.”
Manciocchi added: “Being able to offer a chef or restaurant owner the opportunity to try an oven before making a purchase decision is a huge advantage. We can analyse what it is they want to achieve with their menu – bearing in mind that all of our ovens cook far more than just pizza – and then offer a full consultancy service that will help them make their final decision.
“We can also train chefs, to get them up to speed with their oven, before it arrives in their kitchen, or assist other employees who later come on board and require training.”