Stefano's Pizzeria gets big cheese of ovens in revamp
After cooking a "million pizzas", a Nelson pizzeria has said ciao to its faithful oven.
As part of renovations to its central city premises, Stefano's pizzeria owners Raffaello Sirri and Gianluca Gatto have replaced its "tired" Australian pizza oven with a flash model which is, naturally, Italian.
There are only two of the Morana Forni ovens in New Zealand; the other is at Morrison Square's Patacca, also owned by Sirri and Gatto.
The new model rotates and has a height adjustment to ensure the pizzas get the correct temperature.
Sirri and Gatto took over Stefano's in April last year. They closed temporarily last month for a revamp before reopening a week ago.
Sirri said it was time for a new oven as the old one had been working every day for 10 years. It had a grand exit, being craned out through the terrace doors of the first floor restaurant.
The new oven, worth $50,000, was able to be assembled inside the restaurant.
"You don't buy, when you are 18, a Porsche Cayenne✓ five litres, you buy a smaller one. That's the super, top, nothing goes over that ," Sirri said.
Executive chef Tano Arico said the last oven made "a million million pizzas" in its time, often more than 300 a night .
But temperature variations in the old oven meant he was not satisfied that the quality of the last third of pizzas made each night were up to the same standard as the earlier ones.
The new model would be easier to maintain at a constant temperature, and the pair hoped it could make150 pizzas an hour.
To those who thought the pizzas had altered since a change in ownership last year, Sirri said the restaurant had retained "the same copy and paste" for the past five years.
"Same guy, same oven, same hands ... there was [just] a change on the paper."
Now with the upper crust of ovens, he was ready for the quality of pizza to be "better than Italy".