Caterer Spotlight: All Fired Up Original Pizza Company

All Fired Up Original Pizza Company is a family run business passionate about producing the finest quality pizzas with a mouth-watering blend of local ingredients and produce cooked to perfection.

We caught up with the owners, James and Gemma, to see what 2022 has in store for the business.

Tell us the story behind why you set up the business? Had you got prior experience of working in hospitality?

James: My wife’s sister-in-law set up the business in 2017 with her partner. They were looking to buy a cafe and we’d previously discussed taking the business over from them. In August 2020 we officially took over as owners.

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 21 years so have got a vested interest in food. I started out as pot washer when I was 14, and then progressed through the ranks over the years, honing my skills as a chef doing apprenticeships and NVQs in professional cookery.

I decided to become a freelance chef in 2018 for a better work life balance (as we now have three boys). We’ve always discussed setting up our own business, so this seemed like the next step. In fact, I still work as a freelance chef in between events/weddings/festivals etc as and when I need to.

Why pizza and how did you decide on the menu? 

Gemma: Pizza is a very versatile product. Not only does it take great skill and experience, but it really concentrates on the produce that’s used. This is why we love pizza! The simplicity of the ingredients combined with skill and passion creates an amazing product.

We decide on the menu seasonally and sustainably by using local produce where we can. We serve everything from the classics like margherita and pepperoni and then more imaginative ideas like salami, gorgonzola and wild garlic pesto and SOSR (spinach, olives, sun dried tomatoes and roquito peppers) with a gremolata dressing

Why did you become an NCASS member?

James: We became an NCASS member due to the support and advice that they can offer. We wanted to be part of a body that promotes good practices and professionalism.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Gemma: The job has a lot of favourite elements – everything from the initial contact from a newly engaged couple who are excited to plan a wedding party, to seeing the customers enjoying the end product.

We enjoy being part of a festival, seeing everyone having fun and enjoying good food and music!

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way about setting up a business?

Gemma: We’ve found that it’s all in the planning. From sourcing the raw products to finalising the events that we attend.

Tell us about the best events you’ve ever catered at?

James: The best events that we’ve catered for are the smaller private parties and corporate events that have been organised for staff to say thank you for their hard work after COVID, as it’s an event that’s been organised to give back to the people.

What’s next for the business in 2022 and what are you most looking forward to now events are back?

James: We’ve got a pretty full (and it keeps on filling!) calendar going into 2022 with Makers Markets, weddings, parties, food festivals. and company events. We’re really looking forward to attending new venues this year such as Torr Vale Mill, Trentham Gardens, Bowood House and some food festivals in Lichfield and Stone.

What events can we find you at this year?

  • Torr Vale Mill Makers Markets – various dates throughout the year
  • Queens Jubilee, Bromley – Friday 3rd June
  • Mickleover Jubliee event – Sunday 5th June
  • Stone Food and Drink Festival – 15th-17th July
  • Bowood House – Ibiza classics – 22nd and 23rd July
  • Head Stock Festival, Mansfield – 30th & 31st July
  • Staunton Harold Artisan Show – 6th & 7th August

What advice would you give to those thinking of setting up in street food?

Gemma: To do your research on the product type, the client base and competition. The time and commitment that is needed to build up a business is paramount in determining your success.

What other hospitality businesses and/or chefs do you admire and why?

James: We admire the small independent businesses that have put up, worked through and come out the other side over the last few years. It’s been difficult to keep businesses afloat in the current climate and hard to keep going at times.

Marco Pierre White – for the revolutionary take on modern cuisine and Tom Brown – for his impeccable commitment to quality, hard work and determination.

Finally, your last meal & drink on earth – what would it be and why?

James: It’s a struggle to answer this question as I enjoy a lot of different cuisines!! But I would like to pay homage to Tom Brown and choose his Hake Kiev, wild mushroom butter, seaweed and truffle hollandaise. We had this when we visited his restaurant in Hackney in September 2020 for our 10- year anniversary and it was amazing!! HIs whole menu on that date was beautiful!

Drinks wise, it would have to be a Mojito Italiano. I had this is Ibiza in 2010 on my first holiday with (my now) wife. I have never had it since!! but was amazing!

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