Business Insight
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What equipment can't you live without? Pizzamakers share their secrets of success

Key Points

  • There are some basic pieces of equipment everyone needs, but others which are chosen and retained according to personal preference, experience and even sentimental reasons
  •  We talk to two Club Perfect pizzamakers who share their stories of the equipment they use which they see as part of the secret of their success
  • Sam Mimi of Mornington Pizza House has found the right oven brand for his pizza cheese and bases which delivers consistent results
  • Ramee Rizk of Big Pappa’s Pizza has a pair of treasured tools which are both items of personal significance and sentimental value

TOOLS OF THE TRADE are a vital part of any business, and it’s no different for pizzamakers.

But while there are certain basic pieces of equipment that everybody needs – like pizzacutters, pizza peels, delivery bags and boxes – there are others which vary widely from one pizza business to another and are chosen and retained according to personal preference, experience, and sometimes even sentimental reasons. In this story two Club Perfect pizzamakers share their stories of the equipment they use in their business which they see as part of the secret of their success.

SAM SWEARS BY MIDDLEBY MARSHALL PIZZA OVENS

Sam Mimi of Mornington Pizza House on Melbourne’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula has spent the best part of three decades in foodservice, with pizza a key part of the menu everywhere he’s worked.

Through all this time, Sam has stayed true to his choice of pizza cheese – he’s occasionally tried others, but none have proven a match for the quality of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella.

And in order to always get the best out of his pizza cheese, Sam has also stayed true to his brand of pizza oven. He’s been using Middleby Marshall conveyor ovens for many years and swears by them as delivering the best results.

“When you’re cooking pizza, you need consistency, and that’s what they provide for me,” Sam says. “I make my pizza bases fresh every day, I don’t use any preservatives, and I need an oven that will give me the right result with my base and my choice of cheese. I’ve worked at other places with other oven brands, but the Middleby Marshall conveyor is just designed a certain way that delivers the right consistency for me.”

Sam shares the story of how he came to choose a Middleby Marshall: “When I started out in my own business I had an old style burner and conveyor oven. It wasn’t fan forced and if you put in too many pizzas at once it would undercook them, but if you put in too few they would burn. So when it was time to replace it, I spoke to friends in the business, tried their pizzas and looked at their ovens, and someone put me onto Middleby Marshall. I took my dough over to their test oven and I was sold on it, and it went from there.”

Sam started off with a Middleby Marshall PS360 but now has a double stacked PS540. “You need the right oven just like you need the right cheese. I’ve tried other cheeses and some of them just dry out, but the Perfect Italiano has a blistering and stretch which is second to none. It suits my product perfectly.”

Of course he doesn’t only cook pizzas – Sam is also famous for serving ‘the best parma on the peninsula’, and again his Middleby Marshall oven and Perfect Italiano cheese are a perfect combination delivering a great result.

What equipment can't you live without? Pizzamakers share their secrets of success

What equipment can't you live without? Pizzamakers share their secrets of success

RAMEE HOLDS A PIECE OF HISTORY

Ramee Rizk of Big Pappa’s Pizza at Camira near Ipswich in Queensland has a pair of treasured tools – a spatula and wooden spoon that the business has used “since the year dot”. They are both items of personal significance and sentimental value, as they belonged to his late father who started the business off.

“We’ve had both of them forever,” Ramee recounts. “We started the business back in 2005 and it’s just thrived and gone from strength to strength. Dad passed on three years ago – he was called Pappa Joe and the business was named after him. It started with mum, dad, me and my sister and now it’s me and my wife and our staff.”

Ramee’s treasured wooden spoon has actually broken from overuse, but he has kept it along with the old spatula. “It just wore away after 15 years, so we certainly got our money’s worth out of it. The spatula has a wooden handle, it’s smooth around the edges and it has the perfect angle to slide underneath the pizzas beautifully. And of course it’s the same tool Dad used, so it has a lot of history and significance. To this day, we can’t do without it.”