Sunday, March 6, 2016

High End Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens

TBO oven (Bello!)
I don't often do 'market research'.  But I am always asked how much a particular size and design oven will cost.  I respond first with questions regarding the baking needs of the customer/chef and soon after we come up with a realistic number.

Last week, I got a typical call from someone about to open a restaurant.  He was looking for a pizza oven and was candid about a budget and the ability to tap artisan friends for some of the finish work.

When, after the set of questions needed to be accurate, I gave him the cost of the oven core I could offer him.  He told me that a high end, prestigious, company that makes oven shells, Ferrara, had the same size dome for two thousand dollars more than the price I quoted for a true brick oven.

I was glad to know that I could build custom masonry with real fire brick that was competitive with a component shipped from Italy, mass-manufactured, albeit, to high standards.

He chose the Ferrara because, as he stated, "People like to have their photo taken in front of a Ferrara."

brick set for a Ferrara dome

Bricks fitted for a TBO dome (500 year warrantee)

I get it.  A brand-name maker's oven, built well, and covered in small tile work, has a recognizable cache.  My ovens, no two alike, appeal to the owner who wants to feel like the oven is theirs alone.

Custom TBO oven in Ventura CA
I thought about where I would put a name on my ovens (presently, they are unsigned).  In centuries past, oven builders didn't sign their ovens; they certainly didn't broadcast their name across the top of the mouth.   And I don't think my name would look as good over the mouth of an oven a the name, Ferrara.

I better understand the demands of the modern market.  I remain, the custom builder, the anachronism...

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