I think it would be fair to say that building a good wood fired pizza oven is a reasonably difficult, however this project is almost in it’s third year.
We decided that the club (Mombasa Yacht Club) needs to offer more facilities and services, following the large money loss a couple of years ago we have been robbing Peter to pay Paul ever since.
David Killoran very kindly donated Kes100,000 to build the oven and we spent it on keeping the club going and holding the wolves from the door. Throughout this time we scavenged a little money each month (I mean little…1,000 here 1,000 there) and purchased the materials we needed. As soon as there was enough to pay a bricklayer we would build a little then wait again for more money. (I suppose if you worked for the council and were waiting for the allocation of funds from Nairobi you would understand the feeling of having to make something with nothing).
Over time the work progressed like the great wall of China (although that I am sure was quicker). We had already finished the BBQ and that stood in a corner under the tree like a long lost monument. It is used occasionally but successfully, we have already done BBQs for over 200 people but it was still a forlorn looking edifice as we could not even afford the paint to paint it.
The oven was in a finished condition about two weeks ago so we test fired it feeling very proud of ourselves. Sad to say the darn thing cracked and did not even get above 150 degrees ….in short it was woefully inadequate. Further conversation brought to life the fact that the top was not done with the special heat resistant cement. In addition the chimney was too big and heat was escaping.
Back to the drawing board and we then gave it another layer of the correct cement so now the walls and roof are in the region of 20cm thick and bricks inside the cement. Feeling confident that we had sorted the oven we booked a function who ordered 50 pizzas!
We test fired once more two days prior to the function and the concrete held but there was still insufficient heat. By now we are not exactly panicking…………..however………… we had all booked our flights for when the function holder arrived and found we could not feed them.
By the morning of the function we had made the chimney smaller so we fired it up once more! This time it temperature was up but still not enough, we tested again and again and the air inside and coming out the top was hotter than the bricks. We just could not understand why the floor was not heating!……………….Some frantic pondering went on and we noted that the external clay tiles were really quite warm. I called the team to see if we had any more in the store and “BINGO” we were able to lay a clay floor and the temperature soared to well over 300 degrees!!!!!
WE HAD OUR PIZZA OVEN!
That night we cooked 50 Pizzas in 80 minutes and the team did a fantastic job. (Needless to say we cancelled the flight tickets and spent the night grinning like Cheshire Cats!)
The oven opens so many more doors for us apart from pizza we can cook bread, pies oven dishes and widen our product line to our members and guests. We have some logistic work to do in the next few weeks but hopefully by mid-March we will be up and running and having fun.
If you are looking for a place to have your birthday party, wedding, corporate event or any other function give us a call and we will show off our oven.