It was a normal working Thursday at the Alan Rogers Oast. A day of meetings and routine tasks. Lunch looked bleak: various sandwiches beckoned, a Tupperware box of pasta salad and a couple of reheatable meals were tucked away in the fridge, unlikely to enliven the day.
But then word came round of a ‘free lunch’. Anyone for perfectly cooked and crispy pizza, fresh from the oven?
Well yes, but what pizza, which oven, and where is the pepperoni? And can it really be free? Well apparently it can (on this occasion at least)…
Like Super Heroes, David and the Firepod team arrived and within minutes the stage was set and all the ingredients were in place. Blue skies, warm spring sunshine, gentle blossom and the mellow, weathered brick and clay tiles of the Old Oast House provided a perfect outdoor dining ambiance.
Within 15 minutes the first pizzas were in, the thin bases crisping nicely on the stone, the cheese bubbling and the audience drooling.
We took turns rolling out our pizzas and got creative with the toppings. With the help of a pizza paddle (or ‘peel’), the pizzas were popped in for a few minutes and job done.
As we nibbled and nattered we could see just how straightforward the whole process is. Straight from the boot of the car, simple connection to a small gas bottle, one-click auto ignition. Temperature control was easy, with a temperature gauge and an inspection hole for checking the flame.
The key to success is the Firepod’s ability to reach high temperatures required for a really good, crispy pizza. Most domestic ovens will not achieve the 300-320 degrees required. Being gas-fired, the Firepod temperature is easy to control and can reach 400 degrees – ideal if you’re looking for really good flatbreads and naans.
The Firepod offers spur-of-the-moment pizza parties for kids (far cheaper than taking them all to a high street chain restaurant) and fun, informal dinner parties with a twist. It also brings new catering options to beach huts, campsites, motor racing track days, festivals, balconies and rooftop terraces.
The Firepod has a solid, high quality feel with nice touches like solid oak for all the wooden parts, dual layer pizza stone to prevent burning and stainless steel rails to keep the pizza in place. Add to all that a range of funky colours from fire engine red to aubergine purple (one of the most popular according to David) and you have a cooker to be proud of and to display with pride, not to be chucked in the shed when finished with.
Born in the imagination of pizza aficionados Tim and David, with technical input from pizza experts in Italy, and brought to life by award winning designers in the UK, all funded by an imaginative Kickstarter campaign, this is a product of passion.
Ingeniously, these little ovens also become barbecues courtesy of a clever reversible griddle, ridged on one side (think steaks, sausages) and flat like a skillet on the other (perfect for breakfast pancakes and bacon). Another option is the special lava stone which heats up and allows you to cook at the table for healthy cooking and maximum flavour.
The delicious pizzas kept coming thick and fast (well, thin and crispy and fast) and as we became more and more Italian under the midday sun, we were surprised at how much pizza we could eat - when it is this delicious and this fun to make it’s really not difficult. And if it’s a free lunch, then so much the better!
Ben deals with all things design, working on the visual design of our annual guides, Destinations magazine, information leaflets, social media and email campaigns, and much more across the Alan Rogers, Rallies and Worldwide brands. He also produces written content for our blogs alongside our other contributors.
Largely self-taught, Ben studied Fashion Media at a university in London before realising graphic design was his calling and joined the Alan Rogers team in 2016. He is responsible for the design of all our Europe guides since 2018, Destinations magazines since 2020 and the ongoing development of our Worldwide business.