The UK’s first ever ‘Pizzaiolo Census’ is being undertaken by the man credited with pioneering wood-fired cookery and pizza ovens in this country, when he first introduced wood ovens back in 2003.
Andrew Manciocchi, head of Valoriani UK in Preston, wants to demonstrate how wood-fired cookery has come of age, by establishing just how many pizzaoli (wood-fired pizza chefs) there are in Britain, regardless of whether they originate from Italy, or have been trained in the art of wood-fired cooking here in Britain.
By creating a ‘pizzaiolo census’, he also wishes to help the Italian restaurant sector avoid the fate that has befallen Indian eateries – that of not having enough trained, ethnic chefs with which to deliver an authentic dining experience.
“With the rapid adoption of wood-fired ovens in the dining out sector in the UK, there could, in the near future, be too few trained pizzaioli to fill available jobs. Unless the number of trained pizzaioli is established, action will probably not be taken in time,” said Manciocchi.
The move to create a head count of wood-fired oven chefs follows YouGov research that Valoriani UK (then Orchard Ovens) commissioned in 2015. This discovered that 27% of British adults would prefer to eat wood-fired food, rather than barbecued, if at a garden party and demonstrated the degree to which pizza ovens are eating into the barbecue market.
“We want pizzaioli to be proud of their skills and their role in changing the nation’s dining preferences,” added Manciocchi. “We are asking restaurants that cook with wood to get in touch, let us know that they are part of this revolution and tell us how many pizzaioli they have. From there, we will attempt to discover how many skilled wood-burning oven chefs there are in the UK.”
To help connect customers up with wood-fired eateries, Valoriani UK will promote eateries that cook in a wood-fired way as part of its census. It will then publicise the full list, so diners can specifically head to wood-fired eateries, if they wish.
Operates that wish to add their eatery’s name to the wood-fired list and have their pizzaioli added to the census numbers can fill in the online form HERE.