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Customer of the Month: Chef Mike Smith

We're excited to launch our new Customer of the Month program which will enable everyone to engage with our customers for themselves! 

Today we're honored to introduce our very first Customer of the Month, Chef Mike Smith!

Michael Smith has more than a decade of experience as a Chef currently serving in the Florida area. He recently bought an Authentic Pizza Oven that has become a staple of their home outdoor experiences. 

Read more from our interview with Chef Mike:

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Michael Smith and I've lived in Naples, Florida since 1994, and am originally from the Boston area. 

I started my career as a Chef, graduated CIA in New York, and was a Chef for over ten years on Block Island, RI. My wife and I opened two restaurants in Bonita Springs and had them for eight years until we decided to sell them to start a family. For the last ten years, I have worked for D’Amico and Partners, a fine dining restaurant group, as the Director of Operations and Marketing Director. I have always been passionate about being a Chef and also an operator. I love working in both the FOH and BOH aspects of our business. 

Why did you choose an Authentic Pizza Oven?

Quality!! I have always wanted a pizza oven. We recently rebuilt our 1979 pool into a new pool and living area and I have always dreamed of a pizza oven. I researched as many brands as I could, but was drawn to the handmade tradition of how your ovens are built. In my company, we have 8 wood-fired pizza ovens, so I was looking for something that would give me restaurant quality, but at home. The oven works beautifully and has become a centerpiece of our outdoor experiences.


customer of the month mike smith



What do you enjoy the most about the oven?

I love that it is not only an oven but a fire feature. I think my favorite thing about the oven is that it is just not for pizza. I will be cooking everything I can in it. It is great for seafood, meat, baked pasta, etc. I started an Instagram just for my pizza oven journey at @woodfireddreams. I am going to continue to test the boundaries of what people think you can make in a pizza oven. It is limitless, for example, roast duck on Thanksgiving. I have roasted Tomahawk steaks in the oven and then shut down the air to give it a little smokiness- Amazing steaks! 



Recipes from Chef Mike

House Smoked Bacon Potatoes Gratin

House Smoked Bacon Potatoes Gratin

1/2 cook 4 slices of bacon, dice
1T shallot
1 cup cream
8 Oz shredded smoked cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
1T dried chive 6 sliced potatoes

Mix and bake when you are starting up your pizza oven 300-450 F just let it reduce and slow cook as you’re oven is heating up for pizza. I’m a big fan of cooking items while I wait for it to get up to pizza temp (700).


Piedmontese Beef Tenderloin

Piedmontese Beef Tenderloin

1 T sumac
1 T Rosemary
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp Italian herb dried
1 T olive oil

Mix and rub tenderloin. Roast in oven at 600 for 15 minutes, then shut off the air and close vents so it smokes for 5 minutes. Then give it air and let the coals come back. Roast to 125 F internal temp. Rest 10 minutes, slice and serve.


Wood-fired Shrimp and Burrata

Wood-fired Shrimp and Burrata

8 shrimp
1 ball Burrata
1/2 Oz olive oil
1/2 tsp butter
1 tsp chive
1 tsp minced onion
5 slices of jalapeño
Salt & pepper to taste

Reserve Burrata on a plate to get to room temperature.
Mix shrimp and all other ingredients, fire in the pizza oven for 8 minutes at 50 F. Pour shrimp mixture over Burrata.


For more exciting recipes, follow the Authentic Pizza Ovens blog.

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