Operations Manager and Head Chef Mauricio Cabrera moves Mountains for real pizzas…
When Basilico opened its doors in London in 1998, there was nobody doing pizza the really authentic Italian way. Hard to imagine it now but Buffalo Mozzarella was a rarity, rocket a novelty and pesto was still a speciality product. Then, along came Basilico with homemade dough, proper Italian ingredients, Mamma’s secret recipes and - essential to replicate the true pizzeria taste – a wood fired oven. Rome had come to London’s Fulham.
Today the company still make their own dough daily and deliver it to the 12 London branches of Basilico. The stores offer top quality takeaway pizzas, cooked in the traditional fashion to classic Italian recipes with a range of more contemporary flavour combinations also on offer.
“Our shops have no freezers, no additives or preservatives are used and all our produce is fresh,” explains Operations Manager and Head Chef Mauricio Cabrera who has been with the company since the beginning. “We keep an eye on the trends in Italy and here in the UK and make sure we reflect them in our recipes. A wood oven is at the very heart of the Italian pizzeria and a pizza doesn’t taste the same cooked any other way.”
“We started our business with brick ovens built by hand in the traditional way and fired with wood. They worked beautifully for a while and the business began to expand and gain a good reputation, but then the bricks started to crumble under the intense heat and the ovens needed restoration. Often at Christmas we had to close some down, let them cool, get the bricks repointed and then fire them up again – all in all four days when we weren’t in business. We had to think again,” says Mauricio.
The answer came with the Mountain series from Wood Stone, supplied by Jestic. Big, bold and fired solely by wood or gas, these ovens are the living, breathing heart of the Basilico brand.
“Wherever possible we have the Wood Stone ovens at the very centre of the store so the customers can see the theatre of the wood and the flames. We chose the wood-fired ovens as we believe this gives the pizzas the most authentic taste – the wood imparts a flavour that cannot be emulated with gas or electric. The ovens are a big part of our layout and the most important part of our store – not only do they look fantastic, they make great pizzas.”