Meet the residents: Ffwrnes Pizza
Ieuan Harry and Jez Phillips of Ffwrnes Pizza are two friends from Llanelli (they met at school) who make traditional Neapolitan pizza - with a nod to Wales and the fantastic local produce that’s on offer.
They have both always loved pizza and always made it at home, experimenting with different dough recipes and toppings, but it was always the Neapolitan, the original style of pizza, that appealed to the two friends. “There’s something rewarding about that feeling of making an actual pizza,” says Ieuan. “We are involved in every step of the dough ball’s life, from mixing the ingredients, hand rolling and stretching and then eventually cooking it for a customer. Seeing that dough ball fulfil its little doughy destiny beats a 9-5 job any day!”
Three and a half years, two Piaggio vans and one shipping container
Ffwrnes use a pair of Piaggio vans to bring their food to festivals, events, weddings and venues in all sorts of locations. Ieuan says, “When you travel to Naples you see thousands of little three wheeler Piaggio vans buzzing around the alleyways, and that lit the spark of why not put an oven in the back of one and bring amazing pizza to Cardiff?”
Ffwrnes has been in business for three and a half years, and the friends started out prepping their dough from a one bedroom flat in Canton. They were among the first to take up a container at the Bone Yard, in August 2015. As Jez explains, “It was the perfect solution. We quickly outgrew the flat - carrying all our equipment up and down the stairs would take on average 500 steps by the time we had loaded and unloaded our van for each gig. The Boneyard was an affordable upgrade in an area of Cardiff we love.”
They use the Boneyard as a base to do their prep for a busy day of pizza making. Their shipping container acts as a kitchen, where they make their home made dough and get their local ingredients sliced and chopped. Jez adds, “We’ve even been known to knock up some flower beds and furniture for communal use at the Bone Yard too!”
Vibrant and community led
Ffwrnes are always on hand to deliver delicious food for our regular Bone Yard parties and fairs, and they love the sense of community that working here brings. Ieuan says, “The Bone Yard is an unexpected treasure of treats hidden away right on your doorstep. There’s something for everyone, from gift ideas to workshops (and we throw one hell of a party!). We also love how it has regenerated an unused industrial area into something vibrant and community led, and how it provides a platform for small businesses to establish and grow. People are amazed at the fact that we use a shipping container and it’s a great talking point!”
Ieuan and Jez are in demand to provide pizzas in and around Cardiff, and they enjoy having a busy calendar and going to new venues. Ieuan says, “It’s amazing how many events actually take place in and around the Cardiff area - and our job lets us explore and visit some beautiful locations.” They love catering at weddings and say they feel privileged to be asked to be a part of a couple’s special day. As well as catering events, Ffwrnes are regulars at the Depot in Cardiff.
Smokey Pete… and 5am dough balling
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Ffwrnes. At their very first event they had to push their little three wheeler Piaggio van (known as Smokey Pete) nearly half a mile to the venue. “Our vans are definitely charming and quirky, but being slightly unusual can make it tricky when it comes to repairs,” says Ieuan. “That first day, what started as a three man team quickly multiplied as people from the street pitched in with a helpful push. That’s one of the many things we love about what we do. People have really bought into the idea and have been so supportive.”
Jez adds, “Battling changing weather conditions can be tricky too. Our dough goes through a double fermentation process so we’ve had to learn the optimal timings to get the dough just right. Sometimes this means 5am dough balling sessions - but it’s worth it to get things right.”
If you’re passionate about something it never feels like a job
The day-to-day challenges of running a business never dampen their enthusiasm though – and they encourage anyone thinking about setting up on their own to go for it. “Just go ahead and do it,” Jez says. “Take the plunge, you won’t regret it.” Ieuan adds, “There’s nothing more satisfying than running your own business. The first steps are terrifying, but if you’re passionate about something it never feels like a job.”
Get in touch with Ffwrnes:
If you’d like to sample some of Ffwrnes Pizza’s delicious offerings, you can find them at the Depot in Cardiff regularly, and also trading at a Street food Festival on Womanby street every Sunday in August 2017.