Frequently asked questions for the Fist of Flour Pizza Company.
Are you selling pizza here today?
If you do not see the trailer and oven behind Shorty, we are not making/serving pizza. No oven, no pizza lovin…
What made you decide to do this?
Well I felt there was a growing need for a mobile wood-fired pizza oven. There are others here in the Bay Area, and they appear to do a robust business, not to mention the numerous other street-cart foods popping up all over. I felt I was ready, and a series of opportunities I accepted have led me here. I am quite happy. Pizza for the People!
Is that thing a military Van or an old Schoolbus?
Shorty is a 1991 Ford E350 Custom Diesel 1 ton van with a Mini Schoolbus Body built by the Collins Bus Co. It went out of Service in the Early 90’s and spent many years sitting in various lots across California. When I bought it, it hadn’t been registered since 2002, and needed a fair amount of work to get it running smoothly again. She only had 23,000 miles on it. Custom paint was done by my good friend Pete Mercurio and his top notch crew.
What kind of oven do you have in the van?
We do not have an oven in our van. Shorty is the main transport vehicle for our mobile oven, which permanently lives on a trailer. We do not cook pizza in the van.
What is the oven made of?
The original oven is composed of 5 different layers (not including the hand-built, steel sub-frame), starting with the floor and going up: Support Floor (Cement backerboard, thermal insulated fiber panels, cement backerboard), firebrick floor (cooking/fire surface), Thermal Chamber (Hardware Cloth Wireframe, Custom Refractory Cement Mix), Insulation (Hardware Cloth, 10 minute Kraft paper and Perlite), Outer layers (Darjit, Portland Cement, Fine-grained Sand, plastic fibers, acrylic paint, finish coats).
How did you come up with the idea for all of this?
It started at the Institute of Mosaic Art and a guy named Brent Sumner. He offered a class at IMA to make one of his wood fired Darjit Pizza ovens back in November 2009. That oven, BTW is for sale still, I believe its asking price is $2k, it has never been fired. You can contact IMA directly about that…
From there, I was inspired by another pizza vendor doing it at a street fair thing/farmers market, and I was like, hmmm. I built the backyard test oven in December 2009. Then the mobile oven appeared to me in a vision, and from there the design and plan just flowed forth like melting cheese running off of a freshly cut slice.
What kind of wood are you burning?
Due to the abundance of almond farms in the nearby central valley area, Almond wood is readily available, relatively cheap, and burns amazingly hot and clean. It also smells really nice during the pre-heat when the fire gets a bit more smokey. I get it delivered by the truckload.
Who makes your dough?
We do in house, from scratch, every week, well at least 3 days before an event.
And that is usually followed by Who makes your sauce? your ingredients?
We do in house, from scratch, in good sized smallish batches. We use organic tomatoes grown in Hollister, CA. Our Garlic comes from the Gilroy Area, and the Basil is locally grown year round in hothouses.
Most of my produce comes from a little family place in Alameda Ca, Dan’s Produce. I’m picky, so everything I buy is top quality. I’ve been shopping here for years and dig it. Dan’s moustache is cool too!
If it has to come in a can, then it only contains what I want in that can, not preservatives, extra salt, old wilted basil, or anything with a latin-root word I cannot easily pronounce. I don’t have people shopping for me, I get it all, I pick it all, and I won’t serve what i wouldn’t eat myself.
This section will grow as questions come in.