Customer of the Month: Oliver of Oli Oli Pizza
Wood-fired cooking is a time-honored tradition that takes us back to simpler times from the modern-day conventional cooking that we are accustomed to today.
Not only is it a more natural way to cook delicious foods but it is also more sustainable and a healthier choice, not to mention, the savoring and flavorful taste of wood-fired food simply cannot be matched!
Catering and food truck businesses are a strong presence in the food industry. As they continue to grow in popularity, Authentic Pizza Ovens is proud to have become a staple in the evolution of their market today.
Restaurant owners and entrepreneurs alike are finding wood-fired cooking to be an essential element for providing their customers with a unique experience in a timely manner without compromising the quality of their culinary dishes.
Meet our Customer of the Month, Oliver of Oli Oli Pizza in Maui, Hawaii.
He and his wife, Naomi, have embraced their passion for truly authentic Italian Neopolitan-style pizza by using their Maximus Prime Portable oven to spread a slice of aloha, happiness, and joy around Maui!
Where are you from and a little background information about you?
My name is Oliver, and I grew up in Switzerland and have been living in Maui, Hawaii for the last 15 years. Growing up, I ate mostly home-cooked Swiss food. When our family ate out, we often enjoyed dinner at an Italian Pizzeria.
The Margherita Pizza from a wood-fired oven is one of my best childhood memories. I always wanted to see the oven fire and watch the Italian-speaking pizzaiolo throw the dough. Sometimes I wish I was Italian!
Growing up, I listened to the Beach Boys with my buddies and dreamed of living the surf lifestyle. For college, I moved to Santa Cruz to pursue that dream. During my first year of living in California, I discovered kitesurfing. I taught myself this new and exciting sport by watching VHS kitesurf videos that I ordered from Hawaii.
A few years into the sport I was looking for a new location with more consistent year-round wind. It was on a kitesurfing trip to Maui with my brother when I realized Maui was the place to be.
Ten years ago, at kite beach Maui, I met my wife, Naomi, who was a kitesurf instructor that grew up in Japan. We launched our pizza business, welcomed our son, and continued to serve Neapolitan-style pizzas on this little island.
The outdoor lifestyle here in Maui had us eat and cook outside a lot. At one point we wanted to level up our pizza game from the conventional indoor oven to an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven.
With the help of YouTube, we DIYed a wood-fired pizza oven in the yard made out of clay, sand, and cement. We loved hosting pizza parties for friends and neighbors in our backyard. Our friends and neighbors loved our pizzas, which encouraged us to keep improving our pizza-making skills.
However, we could not figure out how to stretch the dough and struggled with the dough recipe. We were thinking of going to Italy for our honeymoon and searched thoroughly for a pizza training program. We found a local pizzeria that offered an intensive program with high reviews in the suburbs of Naples. It was an experience of a lifetime to remember!
Unlike an enclosed food truck, our cart is fully exposed to the outdoor elements. We have operated in heavy tropical rain, high wind, and hot days under the Hawaiian sun.
We started selling our pizzas during COVID when not many restaurants were open in Maui. With our mobile Wood Fire Pizza Oven trailer, we specialize in hand-crafted, authentic Italian Neapolitan-style pizzas with a Hawaiian flare.
Our pizzas are thin, and the crusts are fluffy and cooked to perfection with bubble-up charred spotted crust. We use kiawe wood and the oven heats up to over 800ºF. Each one of our doughs is handcrafted using imported Italian flour. Our homemade dough and tomato sauce have no added sugar or oil.
About Oli Oli Pizza
We named our company Oli Oli Pizza, not only after our name but "olioli" which means happiness and joy in the Hawaiian language.
By sharing our pizzas, we hope to spread a little slice of aloha, happiness, and joy around Maui! As the word got out in our community, we shifted our focus to private catering such as birthdays, weddings, and events.
We absolutely love catering since it’s always a special and happy occasion. Each party is at a different location and people love to see the fire and our team making and baking pizzas.
People usually have questions about how I built the trailer. I love chatting it up with pizza aficionados and talking about the dough or pizza-making process.
Which oven did you choose and why did you choose an Authentic Pizza Oven?
We spent a lot of time researching different oven companies and chose the Maximus Prime Large Portable Pizza Oven in red for a variety of reasons.
Material: We liked the fact that it was made of stainless steel and aluminum. Our previous oven that I made was out of a mixture of clay, sand, and cement, and had started to crack on the inside. This may have been due to the vibrations from driving on the road.
We found the Maximus Prime the perfect fit for us since it is made with aluminum and stainless-steel components, therefore, it will not crack. It’s also lighter than our previous stone oven. It’s proven itself to be of great quality after a few dozen events at various locations all over Maui.
Big surface area: We can fit 3 pizzas in the oven (cook 2 pizzas in the back and warm 1 up front).
Weight: Lightweight for attaching to our mobile.
Shipping availability to Hawaii: Many other oven companies were not willing to ship across the Pacific Ocean.
Quick to heat up: Heats up in 30 minutes. Our previous oven took 90 minutes to heat up so this has saved us significant time. We use kiawe wood that we find on the beach and chop and split them into smaller pieces.
Customer Service: Amber was always quick to respond to all our emails. She helped us find the best rate to ship all the way to Hawaii and kept me updated on the tracking of the oven.
Did you build your setup or have someone else do it?
I built the trailer, thanks to my buddy YouTube for all the DIY tutorials. Our pizza cart is fully solar-powered to run the mini refrigerator and string lights that give it the ambiance.
It is equipped with a roof that covers the oven and 4 awnings that fold down. Naomi recorded the building process on our Instagram highlights section under “Trailer Build.”
I used custom brackets to mount the oven securely to the frame of the trailer. The trailer has its own suspension.
What is your favorite thing to cook in your oven, and have you tried any recipes besides pizza?
We mainly cook Neapolitan-style pizzas with Hawaiian-inspired toppings. My favorite is the classic Margherita, so simple yet so rich in flavor.
Naomi’s favorite is Truffle Bliss which is cooked with fresh mozzarella cheese, oil, and mushrooms. After it comes out of the oven, we finish it off with some truffle oil and truffle zest, and the smell of the truffle alone is extravagant.
Our customers’ favorite pizza is the Kalua Pork Lilikoi which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, shredded pork, and pineapple with a drizzle of lilikoi (passion fruit) butter. The mixture of savory and sweet hits the spot.
Our newest addition to our menu, the Garlic Shrimp, has been quite a hit. Pre-cook shrimp in butter, white wine, minced garlic, and fresh herbs, and put it on the pizza with no tomato sauce - just mozzarella, shrimp, and butter sauce.
Sprinkle some fresh parsley after and your neighbor next door will come sniffing around the corner smelling that yummy garlic!
We regularly bake bread in our oven after our pizza gigs when the oven reaches a lower temperature. We also roast chestnuts during the Christmas season.
Our friend sometimes brings over ulu or breadfruit, which we can cook in the oven after the temperature drops since we cook our pizzas at about 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ulu grows on trees in Hawaii and is full of great nutrients and when mature it tastes like a starchy potato. When very ripe, it tastes sweet and can be a dessert.
Our favorite of course is making Neapolitan-style pizzas with Hawaiian toppings.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING FEATURED AS CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH - please email Amber@authenticpizzaovens.com
- Authentic Pizza Ovens