The Secret Behind …

IN TODAY’s highly competitive foodservice marketplace, the businesses that last are the ones which have carved out their own niche and found their ‘recipe for success’. We asked two proprietors of successful pizza outlets to share the secret of their success.

BARWON ORANGE, located in the coastal township of Barwon heads on the Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong, is an award-winning café right in the heart of town which prides itself on showcasing the best of the area’s local produce. The vibe is bright, vibrant and funky, serving breakfast, modern Australian cuisine and woodfired pizza in a contemporary venue with a sunny and inviting outdoor area.

Owner Judy Stewart says the woodfired pizzas are a key attraction of the menu and says the key to their success is that they’re “totally different from the traditional approach”.

“I think a pizza should have more on it than just the standard toppings and napoli sauce. So for example, our BBQ Chicken pizza is made with a whole chicken breast, onion, pineapple, Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and barbecue sauce as well as napoli.”

Other signature menu items include Barwon Orange’s Pulled Pork Pizza, with Asian style pulled pork, basil pesto, onion, capsicum, mozzarella and pork sauce, and the Little Bo Peep, consisting of Moroccan spiced lamb, garlic oil, onion, feta, Perfect Italiano Mozzarella, rocket, mint, pinenuts and yoghurt. Judy came up with all the pizza recipes herself and says the point of difference is in the choice of ingredients and the way the toppings have been layered.

“It’s all about making customers feel they have had a complete meal,” she emphasises. “Our pork is shoulder which has been slow roasted for eight hours, then pulled. Our chicken is 100 per cent chicken breast. We have a Wild Mushroom Pizza which is a real gourmet presentation, with thyme, spinach, caramelized onion and white truffle oil. And our Prawn Pizza gives you a generous helping of prawns topped with chilli jam, rocket, red capsicum, onion, feta, Perfect Italiano Mozzarella, fresh chilli and garlic oil.

“We use a nice, crunchy base and cook in a pure wood fired oven – it’s a bit of a nightmare to cook in but the difference to the quality is amazing. And with the wood fired oven you need a really good quality cheese, otherwise it will burn, because we have to really toast the pizza base. So we use Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and it’s wonderful, it melts and browns beautifully – it’s much better than the cheese we used before, which would just shrivel up before the pizza was cooked.”

Judy says that a competitor pizza business recently opened across the street, but since then, “we’ve been even busier! I think it’s because we’re different in what we offer – it’s important to stand out from the crowd.”

JASON O’BRIEN, Chef/Owner at Amici Restaurant and Pizzeria in the popular beachside tourist spot of Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, says his success is down to ensuring a casual vibe and appealing venue, and keeping everything fresh.

“If there’s any secret to our success, it’s the quality and consistency of the ingredients we use,” Jason says. “Everything’s fresh and made to order. We use local ingredients wherever possible and try to make the menu as extensive as possible, with all the favourites that customers love. Amici means friends in Italian so our focus is all about making the restaurant a place where friends and family can come together and share not only a meal but a memorable experience.”

Amici’s pizza selection includes both Classic and Gourmet varieties, with the signature Amici Special consisting of ham, bacon, mushroom, capsicum, olives, prawns, mixed seafood, oregano, parsley, Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and napoli sauce. There’s also a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza, with the chicken topped with sliced brie, sliced roma tomatoes, smashed avocado and cranberry sauce.

Other contemporary offerings include Hickory Pork Pizza – which as the name suggests features barbecued pork that’s been marinated in hickory and brown sugar, topped with a tangy rocket slaw and Perfect Italiano Mozzarella; and a Pumpkin Pine Nut Pizza with baked pumpkin, baby spinach, red onion, crumbled feta and pine nuts topped with Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and napoli sauce.

Amici also offers an extensive range of pasta and risotto, from homemade potato gnocchi with a cream and gorgonzola sauce, to Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli made with semi dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, roast pumpkin and baby spinach in a cream sauce.

“It’s all about creating somewhere you can bring your friends and enjoy,” Jason emphasises.