Join me as I chat to Clive, The Wood Fired Oven Chef from YouTube, about his love for fire, food and most importantly family.
Over the past 3-4 years, Clive has inspired, educated and motivated countless wood fired oven enthusiasts around the world, with his superbly produced wood fired oven videos on YouTube.
Like many, I eagerly await the next episode instalment, which almost always leads me to try new and exciting dishes in my wood fired oven.
Getting to know Clive personally over the past month has been a real privilege and I am very excited to share my extended interview with Clive with you all. Many of you sent in audio questions for Clive - all of which he answers on the show.
Sit back, relax and get ready for an amazing Masterclass from a true gentleman and creative master.
Check out Clive's YouTube channel: The Wood Fired Oven Chef
Check out Clive's website: The Wood Fired Oven Chef
Follow Clive on Instagram: @thewoodfiredovenchef
Chefs and other influential folk mentioned on the episode:
Victor Arguinzoniz, Keith Floyd, Nigel Slater, Julia Child, Jacque Pepin, Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Colicchio, Francis Mallmann, Lennox Hastie, Alex Atala, Eric Ripert, Richard Miscovich, Steven Raichlen, Jose Andres, Joel Robuchons.
TV Shows mentioned on this episode:
Chefs Table, Top Chef, Made In Spain
Wood Fired Oven manufacturers mentioned on this episode:
Forno Bravo, Mugnaini, Ooni Pizza Ovens, Gozney, Maine Fire Brick Company, Zesti, Le Panyol, Melbourne Fire Brick Company
Restaurants mentioned in this episode:
Extebarri, Le Burnardin, El Bulli
Wine mentioned in this episode:
Burgundy, Barolo, Barbaresco, Albarino
Review Wood Fired Oven on Apple Podcasts to let me know what you think of the show.
Check out my website for episode show notes and links, wood fired oven tips and advice, pictures and recipes: woodfiredoven.cooking
Using these links helps support the show - and costs you nothing extra.
The Fire Brick Company
The Fire Brick Company specialises in producing world class Wood Fired Pizza Oven Kits.
I am very grateful to the Fire Brick Company for sponsoring the show. If you are thinking of building your own Wood Fired Oven, head on over to The Fire Brick Company website - www.thefirebrickco.com/WFOpodcast where they have a little something for you.
Hi, this is Ben.
This is Lisa.
This is Adrian.
This is Chris.
This is Clive, the wood-fired oven chef, and you are listening to the Wood Fired Oven Podcast with Mark Goston.
G'day and welcome to the Wood Fired Oven Podcast, where I take a deep dive into the techniques, recipes, and history of wood-fired cooking. My name is Mark an obsessed and somewhat curious fan of outdoor cooking, especially with my wood fired oven. Follow my podcast in your favourite app and listen in, as I go searching for the best recipes, tips, and advice to both supercharge our cooking skills and motivate you to light up your favourite outdoor cooking gear this weekend.
Well, it's a big day for me here on the Wood Fired Oven Podcast. I've been waiting for this day for some time. Now, a few years ago, when I was beginning to build my wood-fired oven in the backyard, I discovered today's very special guest on YouTube. And at the time he had about 10 beautifully crafted episodes showcasing not only his stunning wood fired oven, but also his incredible cooking skills. Fast forward to today, his YouTube channel is without doubt, the most gorgeously presented wood-fired oven channel on YouTube. It has over 60,000 loyal subscribers, all waiting impatiently, like me, for his next glorious episode to drop. Clive, the Wood Fired Oven Chef from Youtube, welcome to the podcast!
Thank you, Mark. Happy to be here.
Did I get that right? 60,000 subscribers now
Yup, yup, 63, 63 I think,
Since we last spoke.
Wow, that's just, it's shooting up. Has that, has that surprised you how fast your channel's grown?
Yeah, I mean, I think when I, when I started the channel, originally I was just going to make those four episodes that,
Episodes one through four and I just wanted to share my, the knowledge I gained from the wood-fired oven. And, and honestly, I didn't have any expectations that anyone [laughter] would follow me.
or like the episodes and everybody's been very, very generous and very supportive and, I'm very much appreciative of it.
Well, congratulations on your YouTube channel. And can I say on behalf of the podcast listeners too thank you so much for the time and effort and attention to detail you put into your channel. It, it's spectacular. We're going to take a deep dive today into a whole bunch of topics, but let's set the scene for the listeners. This is a long, very long distance interview. We're chatting now via a video call, I'm in Brisbane, Australia, and you're in your office by the looks somewhere on the planet. And hopefully we'll find out in a minute where that might be.
We, we both have wood-fired ovens in our backyard. We both love to cook, and I'm really excited to hear your story, why you love cooking in your Wood Fired Oven, why you launched a YouTube channel and, and also importantly, where this creativity comes from. Just another note a few weeks ago, you very kindly posted a video up on your YouTube channel, letting folks know that they could send in audio questions to the podcast. Thank you very much for doing that. I really appreciate that. We've got a stack of brilliant questions to sprinkle throughout the show. So stay tuned for those. Okay. Let's kick off with an easy one. What got you into wood fired oven cooking? Where, where does that passion come from Clive?
Well, I love cooking. I come from a family of, I mean, not, I was gonna say a family of cooks, not really in professional sense, but my mum and dad were good cooks and my brother and sister are very good cooks and we're all quite competitive with each other. So we've all cooked and my family, our two daughters are very good cooks, so it's just kind of, it's a passion for, for all of us. And, my wife's a really good cook when I let her get into the kitchen [laughter], so
[laughter] So you do cook in your normal kitchen
Yes a lot
at home a lot too.
Then I had, one of my best friends, he was actually best man at our wedding. He had a wood-fired oven and like best friends, you're quite competitive with each other. And, and so I was really inspired by his wood-fired oven and he had gone to Italy to do a course on using the wood-fired oven and it sounded amazing. And so I just thought, well, I want a wood fire oven. And,
And a lot of people asked me, you know, how, what's the first steps in getting a wood-fired oven? And I say, the first step is to make sure you have a fantastic wife or husband or partner who will, who will support you,
in that endeavour. You know, and my wife's been, you know, because as I say to a lot of people, you know, a wood fired oven, you know, building a wood-fired oven, it's a big investment and it needs, you need to do your research on it. You need to do it properly. And, you know, depending on what you're building, it can be, quite a financial investment. And, she's always been very, very supportive of it. And, I'm very grateful for that.
How long have you been cooking with your oven? How old is your oven?
So its about, it's about to, I feel where I was slightly late to the wood-fired oven game. So it's about 15 years old, the oven. So,
Really, it doesn't look it! It looks brand new [laughter]
Yeah, well, give it a coat of paint every couple of years, but yeah [laughter]
So we're going to discuss your YouTube channel a little bit later, but what motivated you to start the most successful and delightful YouTube channel on wood fired oven cooking?
The, business that I'm in with my wife, we held to by our clients, we hold ourselves to incredibly high standards. And, I was looking at a lot of the contents on YouTube about wood-fired oven. So, and I didn't think the content would, there was an interesting content, but I didn't think the quality of it was very good. And I really felt like I could do a better quality episodes, more consistent in the, in the way they told the story of the wood-fired oven and how to use it. And I'd been thinking about it for a couple of years before I actually did it. And then, was at a dinner one night with a friend of mine. Who's a very successful commercial director. And I told them about this idea and just really asking for his advice. And, he said, well, I'll help you do it. And that's how, that's how we got about it. I bought a camera and he came over and, we just started filming and it was, you know, I didn't think I had really any idea what I was doing [laughter].
And I think it began, I was just going to make one video, but then I thought I would divide it up into the first four videos, which was really just about the wood-fired oven, about the wood, about the tools, about lighting, you know, the different types of heat that you're using. And that's how, that's how it really started, you know? And then, I thought that the, I felt they turned out pretty good.
And, so I thought, well, do I, then it got to a point where I've done those four, is that where I want to stop or do I want to actually get into actually showing cooking in the wood fired oven.
It's been a lot of fun trying to guess where your gorgeous wood fired oven is located. Now, given the sunny spot you have, I'm guessing it's not the UK as your accent might otherwise suggest [laughter], a beautiful Spanish inspired ambience of your garden might suggest Spain, but let's settle this once and for all, where is that gorgeous wood fired oven located?
Oh thats interesting. When did you leave the UK?
A long time ago?
I spent most of my life in, I left the UK when I was 25. I spent at this point more than half of my life in California. And, one of the great things about California architecturally is that anything goes, and you know, Spanish style is very popular in California, but you see so many different styles of architecture. And we, we like, my wife and I like the romance of, of kind of Spanish Moroccan architecture. And I wanted the wood-fired oven to match that style. When, I designed it.
It is really gorgeous. So you obviously went to school in the UK. Did you do your tertiary study in the UK?
Yeah, I went to the UK. I went to art school in the UK, to learn how to be a graphic designer,
worked in the UK for several years at various companies. And then I, then I came out to, to the states. I lived in New York, for about seven or eight months. And then I drove across country with a couple of other English guys to, to California. And I wasn't planning on staying when I arrived [laughter],
Weren't you [laughter].
but I, but I ended up never leaving. So,
and then my wife and I started a company with, with our partners,
about, coming up on 30 years ago and a design company. And we do design, we do social media work as well, and we do audio visual work. And, so I've taken all the skills that I've learnt as an artist design, editorial sound, you know, and use those to, to apply, to making the episodes.
What do you miss about the UK? You must miss the weather, surely
My family, that's about it [laughter].
I love, I love going back. I love visiting, but I wouldn't want to go back.
to the UK permanently.
Where abouts did you grow up in the UK?
In South London.
Ah right, okay, London's a lovely spot.
The food is amazing in London and the UK. And, growing up in London, it was, it was around the time of, you know, influx of Indian people from, to the UK. And there was always a very, a great choice of kind of ethnic cuisines throughout London. And, I just think some of the best Indian food I've had is, has been in London.
So you talked about cooking and food and how competitive your family is with food. Were your parents creative as well? Were they artistic? Like yourself?
Yeah! I mean my dad worked in advertising, and my mother was a photographer.
So, you know, there was none of my, my brother, sister, myself really wanted to follow in necessarily in their footsteps, but I think we picked up a lot of, of what was important to them in terms of quality and standards and skills. So, and I think coming out of that, second world war generation, they knew, how to make the most of the food that was available. You know, we, I remember as a kid seeing hair hairs hanging, in the, in the larder,
going to the, going to the butcher they'd buy a whole pigs head and boil that down to make soup
Oh my gosh!
and all those kinds of cuts of meat and offal and things like that. I mean, I didn't like everything. I couldn't stand tripe and things like that,
but it was being exposed to all that, that kind of food, and it was, very much, must've had an influence on, the three of us when we were kids,
You know, you could probably fit a pigs head in your wood fired oven,
The funny, I, one episode I wanted to do a suckling pig.
and, certain laws in California don't allow [laughter], you know, the, the slaughter of young pigs. And then when I, when I started reading into it,
I was thinking, yeah, it's probably might not be a great episode to do [laughter].
Might upset a few people. So I haven't done that. So I did pork chops instead.
Oh, that's, it's safer. You don't, you don't get to see little Jimmy's face.
Now you're often joined on your episodes by another very photogenic individual, your gorgeous dog. What's your dog's name?
Oh yeah, Truffle. She's a girl
Girl, and does she enjoy your cooking?
She needs a lot of bribery [laughter].
Does she?! She doesn't look like i.t
to be being present now. No well, that's a trick of, of editing, you know
[laughter] she looks like she's bounding towards your oven. In a lot of photos that I've seen
Yeah, yeah, when she thinks it's going to be some kind of treat involved or some kind of reward she'll do anything,
but she's been a great, she's been a great companion to me,
And she'll kind of hang out with me while I film and yeah,
That's lovely. Somebody wrote into the podcast and suggested your dog needs an Instagram page [laughter].
You know she has one,
Yeah, she does.
Oh tell us!
Oh my God. I think it's called, I don't know if it's still up, us and another family who had a French, a Frenchie as well. I think it was called truffle and thistle.
Truffle and thistle
And, I don't know if it's still up I'd have to find out
Oh that's gorgeous, she's such a gorgeous wee thing
Yeah, she's great. She's a fantastic dog.
She's really great company.
Aw that's nice
Adds a level of cuteness to the episodes.
that if I can't get, if I can't get all the foodie lovers, I can certainly get some dog lovers as well. Yeah,
You can! Yeah, that's right. That's right. Actually. And, and speaking of Instagram channels, your channel is, is doing so well as well. I mean, you know, you say you didn't want to follow your parents into what they were doing, but your photography skills are amazing, you know? Yeah.
And I think that again, probably from my mother, but also over the years, we've had our business, we've worked with a lot of photographers on a lot of photo shoots. So I've learnt, you know, looking over the shoulders of some really amazingly talented photographers. So I've, you know, learnt about lighting and cameras and lenses and exposure and depth of field and all those kinds of things. So
Let's have a chat now about your wood-fired oven. Why did you choose your particular wood-fired oven? Can you describe what model it is
Well originally I had a romantic notion of a brick oven, you know, literally, you know, built out of fire brick and it's like, that's the old tradition. And they look really beautiful and, um, but it takes that kind of oven. I mean, there's a lot of very, very beautiful brick ovens out there. And part of it is, I was very much influenced when I was doing a lot of research into it by Alan Scott. So Alan Scott, there's a book that I recommend to everyone called, The Bread Builders and it's by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott.
Alan Scott was Australian, and he trained to be a welder and he moved out to California. And then, I think the story is some day he was asked by a woman who was building a wood-fired oven if he could build some, some raw time pieces to go with the oven. And that, that was the first time I think he'd seen what a wood fired oven was and piqued his interest. And he became, in California, famous for, for his wood-fired ovens he built and his, his ovens, there are restaurants in California that have, Alan Scott ovens and they're, they're so beautiful. Built by a you know, an amazing craftsman. And I, when I was reading about him, I was really inspired by what he, he did and what he, the contribution he made to the community, but it comes down to time and budget at the time. And, then I understood well about refractory derms and, most restaurants now have ovens that are made of refractory concrete, and they're very good and very efficient. And, so I decided to, and I was looking at two, two companies that was Forno Bravo, and, and Mugnaini were the two companies in California. Forno Bravo had a pre-made brick dome that you could buy.
But in the end, and both companies make very, very good ovens. In the end I decided to go with a Forno Bravo, refractory concrete, and also realising that it wasn't so much the interior of the oven. It's the exterior that I wanted to spend time on as well. So, and I had figured out the space, mine's a 40 inch oven and so about 104 centimeters, I think, in diameter and that fit very well into the space. And then I designed the oven around that, and learnt along the way about how, you know, this amazing thing about, the community of wood fired oven enthusiasts, particularly online, is such a willingness to share information and, I really appreciate it. Everybody was so generous towards me and with information and, you know, I just, you know, I just spent some time over it and I, and the chimney, I didn't, you know, being a designer as well as I would think about all the details. I didn't like just having a Chrome chimney. So originally I was thinking about a terracotta chimney, and I remember seeing, these really beautiful Victorian terracotta chimneys, but that would have been quite expensive to import one of those,
but I knew some, a couple of brothers who do copper work, really beautiful copper work. So I designed the chimney and said, well, can you build this out of copper for me? Which, which they did. And they did a really beautiful,
It's a beautiful touch your chimney. It's gorgeous. And I think it suits the whole ambiance of your, of your yards so well.
Well, thanks. I mean, I really thought about the oven from the bottom to the top, from the bottom, you know,
and where to store the wood and the doors, to the shelf, the tile around the opening, the shape of the oven all the way up to the chimney. Initially with the chimney, when they first did the chimney, they had welded, some of the pieces to it and that didn't take the heat from the oven [laughter]
It didn't, did it melt?
It started to fall apart a little bit. So they came and took the chimney and riveted everything together.
But inside the chimney, the copper chimney, is the original chimney that came with the oven. And I, and also took into account the safety features, you know, being in California and unfortunately, you know, California is the same in countries like Australia, wildfires are becoming all too common.
So I wanted to be very careful about making sure I had the right spot. What's called a spark arrestor.
So there's a spark arrestor on the original chimney on the inside of there. And then they'll have spark arresters around the copper chimney as well, just to be sure that it was all to code, you know?
Yeah. The other design feature I particularly like about your oven is if you look carefully, I think it's on the left-hand side, you've got a light switch and I'm presuming that it's controlled in the lineup.
Now, when I installed my oven in my backyard, and it mine's a very similar internal diameter size to yours, I omitted running some electricity to the oven. Now, mine, my oven's very close to our outdoor living area and it, and it works fine, but if I was doing my oven again, I'd definitely be putting in some power plugs around the oven and a lot of the lighting.
And I think that's a great touch and your lights gorgeous too by the way
Yeah that's another feature, you know very decorative, Mica lamp, and yeah, I just, I, you know, you think about most of the time you use the oven. It's, I know I film during the day because I have to use available light, but a lot of the time you have your cooking at night and you need, you need a light out in the outside.
So I thought putting the light over, it was just a nice feature to it. And then picking the tile, some of that tile you see around the oven we have in the house itself,
Oh do you? Yeah, nice.
But also I knew that the tile directly outside the oven opening had to, you know, you know, how heat travels from the fire out to the opening.
And so I couldn't use any glazed tile, there cause it would just crack.
So I bought this high fired terracotta tile directly outside the oven, but then I knew around the outside, I could do this decorative tile because it wouldn't have to, I wouldn't have to be concerned about the heat. So it's kind of, there's a lot of vanity in the oven. I just wanted it to look really beautiful and amazing. And the shape of it.
We have a lot being, having a Spanish style house, the shape of the oven, it would fit into one of the arches that we have, at the house. So I wanted it to kind of match the rest of our house.
Well, you've done a fabulous job. Well we've got a question, in from Igor, I think it's about bricks. I'll play this one to you.
Hi Mark. How you doing? My name is Igor Sheremet I'm an executive chef at Two Foxes Farm Pizza, located in Massachusetts. My question is, what are you thoughts on sourcing the handmade, the Neapolitan style bricks?
Well Igor I would say if you can afford to source them from Italy and you had the budget, go ahead and do it. It's a good thing to tell your friends, but I don't think you necessarily, if you were going to spend money, I would spend money more maybe on the exterior or other features of the oven rather than necessarily getting, bricks all the way from Italy. I'm sure Italians make, a country has such a rich, rich history of cooking in the wood oven. I don't know that it would be necessary because I do think it would become just something to tell your friends that I'm building those are Italian bricks
Yeah, it'd be nice to say that though
Yeah it would! I'm very happy to share the drawings of my oven with anybody who to ask for them, but I'm actually working on a plan not to build, but to plan where if you take the right fire brick, it could be from Italy, if you cut them to the right angles, for each ring of bricks that they would sit together with just using gravity, not using any cement at all the same way that the Romans built arches, they built an arch and it just the arch rest,
So if somebody wanted to build, it would be a very expensive oven to build because you'd have to cut every single stone, every single brick in order to do it. But I think it would be an interesting experiment to try one day.
Did you build your oven Clive?
or did you have somebody come in
I can cook but I can't build [laughter].
Well, that was one of the reasons I already knew of a great stone Mason who had done some work for us at our house. And, his name was Maro Porchia, he helped me when I was designing it. He had some, some suggestions with it and then he came and he just did the most amazing job, you know, even down to the point with the light, he, you know, I told him I wanted a light, but he knew that the conduit for the light had to be as far away from the oven as possible because of the heat to take into consideration. But, and I don't know if I really realized that at the time, you know, the size I was building it, that it would meant that I would have a huge thermal mass because it's around, around the dome.
And I learned, I learned more about that from him as well. So yeah, he's, he's amazing. I don't know what happened to him, I tried to contact him over the last few years, but he's just kind of disappeared, but he did such a beautiful job, you know, real, a real craftsman, you know,
Planning the location of your oven at your property, can you just talk us through your thought processes behind that? I know when I did my oven, I must've spent three or four months with my wife figuring it all out. We, we drew up our own plans on grid, paper, and practice walking to the oven and it took us ages. It took me three months to build the thing, but it took me probably the same, just trying to figure out how it was going to flow. Can you, can you talk about that? And, and I guess for the listeners who are thinking about building their own wood-fired oven, what considerations they should consider?
Well, one thing is about what space do you have outside your house anyway, you know, in your, in your garden about where you place it. And I think probably consideration with would be neighbors as well. So the location, your house and the location of neighbors, because no matter what, with the wood wood-fired oven, you're going to create some smoke, especially usually when you're firing it up, it's creates some smoke. So for us, we already had a kind of a outdoor barbecue area. So I knew it needed to be there close to that. I wanted it far enough away from the house that when that initial firing and the smoke that the smoke doesn't, you know, you can't totally eliminate it, but some smoke will kind of travel around depending on the wind direction. So I wanted to put it but far enough away that it wouldn't fill the house with smoke, but also close enough to where the kitchen was that it wasn't that far to walk to, to, and fro.
But, what I try to do, and I'm not always successful is when you're gonna use the wood fired oven, I think preparation, not just to the oven itself, but of when you've got your food, try to have everything out where the oven is, you know, so you're not running backwards and forwards to, to the kitchen,
but close enough to the house. And we have our outdoor dining area with a circular table there that the oven's close enough just to be easily bring food to the outdoor dining area as well. So it's, it was partly soon necessity, the location. And just partly to do, I thought that was the best place for,
So do you have neighbors that are close, is that smoke a particular consideration for you? The reason I asked that is for me, I've got neighbors on three sides of our property and they're close. So I have to modify how I do my light up a little bit, when there's a bit of smoke generation, particularly at the start of the day, is that a, is that a problem for you in your location?
We got a neighbors on, I think bit like you, you know left and right, and in front of us, but not behind us. But there's a fair bit of distance. We're lucky to have a fair bit of distance between us and the neighbors.
So it's not been an issue in terms of smoke. I would say the different issue with smoke would just be because California is susceptible to wildfires, and there was a period, and I don't know if it was last year, a year before or somewhere, you know, there was a ban on outdoor open flame.
I have had one time, I fired the oven up and somebody came to the house because they thought, they saw some smoke and they were concerned about, and then I explained had wood oven and it was fine. So,
yeah, I didn't invite them in for dinner [laughter]
But that was nice that you...[laughter] Yeah. Yeah. We've got a question in from Jay. Thank you, Jay, for sending in your question. Let's take a listen.
Hello. My name is Jay, and this question is for the wood-fired oven chef. I was wondering if you could talk about seasoning your oven, at the very beginning when it was first built, mine's actually getting completed this week. It's a 41 inch inner diameter. So it's a very large oven, but, there's a lot of information online about how to season it. And I was just wondering, you know, what you went through, how many days you took, was there a buildup of larger fires every day? You know, that type of stuff. Give me some ideas.
Oh, well, thanks for the question, Jay. Yeah, seasoning your oven, curing it what ever you want to call it. It's one of the most important steps, of your oven. And I know that there's, when you, when your oven is built, there's this excitement to just start cooking. And, and I totally understand that, but I, if you don't cure your oven properly, you can, you know, and this is something that you've built and you, like I said, you've invested money in something and it's taken time to build, assuming it's maybe taken a month or two months to build an oven. If you don't cure it properly and there's still moisture in, you know, in the cement and everything around the dome and you heat it up too quickly, you're going to put a crack in, into the oven. And, I spent a week, which is long because I think, I think the recommendation that I had was five days, from the manufacturer. But I took a week to slowly build up. I started with a tiny fire, almost seemed pathetic to even light it, but it was a tiny fire, then did slightly bigger, the next day, slightly bigger until I'd done it for seven days. And I know a friend of mine, who built an oven and he tried to cure it way too quickly. And he has this hairline crack that runs right through the oven, outside the oven, a little crack in the granite, he used a granite, shelf outside, this little crack that runs through it. The oven's fine, but you know, that's really from just being in too much of a hurry to start using it. So I just, I say to everybody, it's just, it's very, very important step. Don't rush into it cause if you cure it properly, you've got to think long, you know, you might be in a rush, but an oven is something that will last you for your lifetime, wherever you are, you know, and I think the better we treat it from the very beginning, the longer it's going to last you.
Yeah. I think, I think I took about seven days curing my oven. And I think too, it probably took another month or two before I was really getting that great heat retention and all the, and all the brick work. It just, I mean, mine's an individual, a brick oven and there was obviously a lot of mortar, a lot of water, moisture, right through the oven probably for a few months until it was all evacuated, until it all disappeared. But it does take time, it requires patience doesn't it
Yeah. It does, quite a lot of patience. And I, you know, and I get asked, people who live in, very moist climates, shall we say, a few people, particularly from like Canada and the UK and up in Scotland, you know, where the, where there's a lot of moisture in the air. And, particularly you have the winter time, I would say if you're, if you're in an area like that, I would say, if you want to use it in the winter, my advice would be just heat it up very slowly. Don't start with a massive fire. And then if you haven't used it for the winter, I would say spend a few days re curing it, just to get that moisture out.
Over the last couple of days we've had a few questions come in via Instagram and tied and trail asks if you had to build the oven again, what would you change?
Nothing. I don't think so. Maybe slightly bigger.
Bigger yeah, what the internal diameter?
Yeah, the internal diameter, maybe slightly bigger, but.
It's about a meter, it's pretty big [laughter].
Yeah, it's fine, I have nothing. You know I thought perhaps I would do a slightly deeper shelf in front,
but then a deeper shelf means you have to lean in.
further to use the oven. So I, I don't think, I appreciate the question, but I don't think I would change, anything
Would you build another one if you moved? Surely
If we moved. Yeah, definitely.
Yeah, okay, alright
And I would probably just try to replicate the one I have [laughter]
Yeah. Keep it simple.
Yeah. Nice one. Here's a question, from Brazil for your Clive.
Hello Mark! Hello Clive! My name is Martinez I'm from Brazil. And my question is about the position of the flu in the wood-fired oven. I can see there are models which have the flue on the very top of the dome and others, which have it positioned next to the door. I see companies selling both models, but I'm not sure which one works the best. And if there is any functional difference between them, for cooking, I would appreciate if you guys could share your insights into this. Thank you.
Okay. Interesting question. So traditional oven, the flue is always going to be in the front. And when you put the door on, the flue will still be outside of the, outside of the door. Outside of the oven is where traditionally the flue will be. I know there's some ovens where the flue, rather than going straight up, like it does on my oven, it goes back over the dome and then goes up once it gets to the central of the dome. So I think it's the same, the same idea that the flue is still an outside the oven outside the door, but its just, the flue goes back. I honestly, I don't understand why you would do that.
I've seen that in restaurants too. Maybe it's a space thing?
Yeah, it could be, it could be. Cause of restaurants, only thing I'm not sure about is when you have the flue going back over the dome, does that limit the space for your thermal mass for your installation? I don't know if that affects like that. In terms of actually, the chimney right in the center of the oven. I know I've seen a couple of ovens like that. I don't really, I'm not an engineer, I don't really see the point of a flue or a chimney being actually inside the oven or inside the door because it's probably fine if you're not worried about using retained heat. So you, cause you would just lose so much heat when you're cooking. But I think, I think to answer the question, I think it's usually, you'll see, I think you're right, Mark, I think in restaurants, it's usually cause the flue just goes back over the dome.
And then, and then it goes up once it gets to the center
N faced, N faced Instagram asks, have you tried Ooni pizza ovens? Have you tried the smaller, I'm not overly familiar with this brand, are you familiar?
Yeah so I'm familiar with Ooni, Gozney make a small oven, then they operate usually with pellets. I've never used them. I think anything that gets people into cooking.
in a, in a wood oven is great. It's a start. I mean, I have to assume that anybody who has an Ooni or a Gozney or one of these other smaller ovens, that's the first step to getting something larger, more permanent. But I think if it's an introduction and it pique's
their passion to using it, I think they're, they're a great idea. You know, I think a lot of those, those smaller ovens are used for making a single pizza each time, and they're great for that, but there's so much more you can do, you know, you can put pans in their skillets and there's so much more, you can cook in those things, whether it's your budget to begin with or whether you're just nervous about getting into investing in something bigger, try one of those small ovens out and see how it feels. You know,
We were speaking before we came on the show today, about Adrian's oven and he was the guest on a couple of weeks ago, he has a smaller oven. It's a Zesti style oven.
and this, that the amount of amazing food that he pumps out of his small oven. And I know that he was constrained by space in his place. And you can do amazing things with a smaller oven.
Yeah, yup, yup.
Incredible. Email came in from Jim. Thanks for your email Jim, fan of your YouTube channel Clive, and one question I have for you is, is there any kit wood fired ovens that you would recommend for a homeowner to build? Or where did you get yours and what did it cost? I grill, he says, I grill a lot and also bake sourdough bread so I think it would be a wise investment.
Good question, Jim. Mine's a Forno Bravo and it's been a great oven to me, Forno Bravo, again in California's Forno Bravo, Mugnaini it's named, there's a few more manufacturers in California, but those are the main two. I think. They make, they make kits. They make pre-made ovens that, you know, already tiled that they'll deliver, they make smaller ovens, that, those little smaller ones that are on a little stand that you can wheel around your yard, wherever you're going to go. I just spent, I think just depends where you live. I know for instance, in Australia, you know, the Melbourne Fire Brick Company, I think Ben
That's the oven I've got
Great company. Yeah. He has a great company and.
he does a variety of, I would say, find a local manufacturer. There's a, on the east coast, there's the Maine, their called the Maine Firebrick company I think. They make beautiful wood, wood ovens, very artistic ovens. They have this completely copper exterior to them. They look really beautiful. So I would just say, try and find a local supplier in Europe as there's lots in the UK and France. There's a company called Le Panyol who make very nice kit ovens out of refractory clay. I think you just have to come up, what is your budget? And maybe your budget starts with something small and one of the pre-made ovens. So then you use, you can, if you enjoy it, then you can maybe start saving up for something much larger. But I think a lot of it depends on, I know for instance, I know Ben at the Melbourne Fire Brick company, I know they ship all over the world as I do think for Forno Bravo as well. So,
I think Ben has a company in the States, or there's some relationship there,
so you can get his ovens in the states too. So yeah
I think, I think I have to say, I would say find a good manufacturer. Somebody like Ben or like the people at Forno Bravo.
Talk to them. They're, they're just fantastic people, passionate about what they do and they'll really help you figure out what you, what you need.
What w ould you say would be the single most important consideration that you would advise somebody building, building a wood-fired oven.
Oh boy, other than having an amazing wife?
Or husband, or partner
That's assumed, right? Yeah. Yeah I'm very blessed too, yeah [laughter]
I would say how much you going to use it? Once you get the passion I think, I don't know. It's a very good question. I just think you've got to have a passion for cooking, first of all. I don't think a wood oven is something you just, well, you could just build it and just have it as a, an ornament in your garden if that's what you like. But I think if you have a passion for cooking, the wood-fired oven is just an amazing way to cook. It's so it's, it's very different, not to say the kitchen, I cook in the kitchen all the time on the stove, use the oven and you can produce great, great food using that, but there's something very elemental about cooking in the wood-fired oven. If you think about the, the elements, you know, the wind, we love it when we are somewhere really windy. And you get blown about, or you're on the coast somewhere and there's huge waves. There's a such a power to it all. And I feel the same when you, we've all sat around a big bonfire,
and you just stare into the flames and there's something really hypnotic about it. And, and very it's that original element that used for cooking.
And I think when you, when you fire up your oven, this, this connection that you feel, you really become a slave to the fire and you have to respect it because if you don't, if you don't treat it well and you get careless with it, you'll soon find out.
Yeah you will! [laughter]
what fire can do, you know? And, but I just think it's, it's probably easier to just to put something in the regular oven and close the door,
you know, set the temperature, close the door.
Yeah electricity is an amazing thing right? But fire is so connecting.
I find it really connecting and I'm not sure why,
Well, you don't, you don't sit around, you don't have people over and stand around the oven in your kitchen talking [laughter]
They might when they first came out though, look at this oven [laughter]
Looking at the food, but you're right. When you have a wood fired oven, there's such a, a great social side to having an oven.
People gather around and, and, you know, we stand there with your glass of wine and you talk
Ah stop it! [laughter]
You're talking, and there's a great, it's a great focal point.
You know, sometimes it gets too socially forget about the food you've had in the oven, and then you realise [laughter]
Have you had that problem, you've had a, you maybe had two glasses of wine. Yeah. I've gotta be a bit careful
I've had my, I've had my wood oven disasters [laughter]
[laughter] I haven't seen those on YouTube yet, Clive
No, you only see the good stuff [laughter]
[laughter] Now your cooking style is an absolute delight and it's been described to me by a podcast listener as bringing romance, to cooking with fire and wood-fired ovens. The James Bond, the 007 of wood-fired oven cooking. I read one of your commenters on one of your videos. It's very true. How would you describe your style of cooking in the wood fired oven? It seems very refined to me.
I think wood fired oven cooking is rustic cooking. And I like rustic food. I love rustic food with big bold flavours. And, it's not, I mean, you could do fine dining. So Northern Spain, there's a restaurant where, it's on the top Michelin list of restaurants. It's called Extebarri, and it's run by a man called Victor Arguinzoniz, Arguinzoniz, I think his name is, you know,
and he just makes amazing food, all cooked over fire, not necessarily a wood-fired oven, but over fire and it's fine dining food, and it's really beautiful. But, I think when you, you cook that kind of rustic food in the, in the wood oven, you just want to pull it out and serve it up. You know, whether it's steaks or potatoes or vegetables or whatever it is you're cooking pizza, you know, you just wanted to pull it out. And, and it's, wood-fired cooking is not the food doesn't have to look perfect. You know, pizza never looks perfectly round or,
you know, you always have one side that's slightly more burnt than the other. And, but it's a part of the charm I think, of cooking. I tried to do kind of fine dining, fine dining dishes, and it's just like, no, this is not worth the hassle.
Just, you know, people want to come over and they want to have food that really tastes great.
Really great, yeah
Yeah, I just, I think my food is rustic.
Yeah. Favourite chefs? Folk that have inspired you specifically with your wood fired oven cooking?
Well, I, I'd say that comes in phases when I was younger, there was a crazy Englishman called Keith Floyd who had a great TV show and he loved his food. He loved his wine. He very much, he cooks a lot of French food. His show was all, you know, he cooked out in the open a lot. And I like to follow chefs that make me feel like I could do that.
Not you know, the, the Joel Robuchon. So, I mean, you've got to admire the skills of, of people like that. And, El Bulli, not Jose. Oh my God. I can't remember the name of the guy from El Bulli, but that kind of food, it's incredible food, but I couldn't do that.
And so I liked the people like Keith Floyd and Nigel Slater, and I think that, you know, for technique being in the States, there's Julia Child who had one of the most influential cooks in America, Julia Child, and Jacque Pepin. I learned a lot about technique from them and basically skills, you know, Italian food, you know, you can't go wrong with Marcella Hazan, middle Eastern food. There's Claudia Roden, she's amazing. Spain, I love Jose Andres. I mean, if you want find somebody whose enthusiasm is infectious, Jose Andres is just incredible cook.
And then there's a Israeli chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, his name is, and, he's in, he's based in the UK, but he does a lot of middle Eastern food. And it's really is fantastic books. And, he's been an influence on me, you know, and also there's a, there's another chef in, the States called Tom Colicchio. He's, probably more well known for being on Top Chef, but his restaurants, their craft restaurants, he does a lot of braised food, and I think that's, the wood oven is perfect for doing braising.
Have you, do you watch a Chef's Table on Netflix? Have you seen that? There are some fabulous chefs on there
Yeah, so Chef's Table was a huge influence on me in terms of the way things looked.
so beautifully done.
And you think about food. Food is, requires really all your senses, you know, the sight, the smell, the sounds, and then ultimately the taste of the food when you're doing stuff for you to, well, you have the sight and the sound, you know, you don't, you can't necessarily convey the smell or the taste. I mean, I have had some people say, well, why don't you taste the food? And I, I dunno, I just can't see myself.
getting in front of the camera and eating food.
Actually thats a good point
that tastes amazing, you know?
Yeah. I don't think you've ever done that, actually.
No I haven't. No I can't, I've tried it.
Lots of folk do though. It's like on Instagram, it's a thing. People just, they munch into their
Yeah. I tried it. I felt like such a prat [laughter].
[laughter] Oh did you? [laughter]
Because every chef who cooks food, when they taste it, they go, oh, it's amazing. You know,
so I think, and that was one thing I liked about Keith Floyd, I remember an episode he did where he did something with abalone. He spent the whole episode cooking abalone and at the end he tastes and goes, ah, this is terrible [laughter].
Really? At least he's honest [laughter]
Let's go down, let's go down to the pub, you know.
I just thought, yeah chefs make mistakes. So I, I think part of what I want to convey when I make each episode is just visually make it as beautiful as possible.
because I'm trying to, the videos are sort of aspirational. I want to inspire people to, to use the oven. I want to inspire them to, go beyond pizza. And pizza is fence, making pizza is fantastic fun, you know, and it's what the oven is made for. But the oven is such an amazingly versatile bit of kit. You know,
there's so much more you can do. And, I think people, when they look at food, they want to go, oh my God, that looks amazing. I bet it tastes good.
So I spend a lot of time just making sure that everything just looks as good as it can. And that's, that was very much influenced by, Chef's table. And some of my favourite episodes on that, actually cooking with fire. There's a, there's the episode with Francis Melman, who's an Argentinian chef and Lennox Hastie who is in Australia.
Oh great episode
Yeah, is stuff is very inspiring. And, I think my favourite episode is with this Brazilian chef Alex Atala, and he has a restaurant in, in Brazil called Dom. D-O-M.
And, his lifestyle is so amazing [laughter].
[laughter] Is it?
and he dedicates himself to his food, you know, so it's all very, very inspiring to me.
And it's the same when you watched those episodes, you watch it because of the beautiful cinematography and the food, just the way they present the food. They really, they really craftspeople.
the chefs, not just the chefs, but the people that are making those episodes are just beautiful craftspeople.
Yeah, and wonderful stories on that, on those shows too.
It really is. Ramal, Instagram, sent me a message during the week for you. He asks, it takes a while to heat up a wood fired oven and cook. And he's interested to know how often do you actually use your oven and do you cook in it, ordinary meals or ordinary [laughter], I mean, YouTube food, surely you don't cook like that every weekend.
No, I don't.
I know. I mostly cook in the oven to film for the YouTube channel.
You know, I used to cook in the oven just to cook and make food, but now it's the YouTube.
Every time I put a new episode up, people have two comments; That looks great, when's the next one?
Yeah correct! I was about to say well, clearly you're not cooking it enough.
because I think every second comment is, come on, Clive. [laughter] I had somebody just yesterday, text me on Instagram and saying, can you just tell Clive to hurry up and put out more content?
And I just burst out laughing. I think, ah, no, I'm not going to tell Clive. No, actually I am. Can you just hurry up and put out more content?
I will, I'll try, I know
It must be hard though, because it's time consuming, right. To put together these episodes.
It's very time consuming. So the way I work is because, you know, I have a real job [laughter].
that I have to be the main focus and my job and my responsibility to the company and our employees. But usually what I'll towards the end of the day on Friday, I'll spend Friday setting up my camera, cameras and lighting. I have some lighting and figuring out how I'm going to frame shots. So that's Friday. And then when I'm filming, which is usually on a Saturday and a Sunday, or maybe just one of those days, being out doors is great. It's vantage, but at the same time, I have to wait for the sun to go down. So I'm not cooking in, you know, not trying to film in direct sunlight. And then once the sun is low enough in the sky where I can start filming, I only have a few hours before it gets too dark to film.
So that's quite a small window to get everything right.
Exactly. And it doesn't always go, right [laughter].
I have to say, I have to start over, you know, on the next day.
And so it takes time and, you know, writing the script, figuring out what I want to make, filming it, editing it. I'm doing everything myself,
One man band, eh?
Yeah. Considering, taking into consideration the way things look the way things sound. And I'm never happy with the final result, but you know, it has to get to a point where I can't work at anymore. I've just got to get it out.
You just got to push it out, otherwise you're going to get us knocking on your door, where's the episode?
Ah Vanessa has got a question. Thank you, Vanessa, for sending in your question to Clive. Let's take a listen.
My name is Vanessa. My question for Clive is what has been the most challenging dish you have cooked? What did it teach you about your Oven's performance and what lessons learned do you have from it that you would like us to know? Thank you.
Oh, thank you, Vanessa for the question. I'd say, interesting, they've all been challenging. There's a French chef, Eric Ripert, who has a restaurant in, New York city called Le Bernardin and it's one of the top restaurants in the United States. And he's a very, very good chef. And I seem to remember, I think it was him that told the story of he went to a dinner party once and, he didn't mention names. There were a lot of very well-known chefs there. The hostess was very well known. He didn't mention any names, but the hostess asked a very well known chef if he would cook a leg of lamb and he burnt it and he was very embarrassed about by it. And, his point was that chefs or like anybody you, you're good at what you do because you've done it before. And you've done it many, many times. It's that whole 10,000 hours theory of, you know, you do things, something over and over again. You can just be, get very good at it. You know? So a lot of dishes that I cook in the wood-fired oven, if, unless I've done it before, I'm never really sure how it's going to turn out. And so it's always a challenge and it's not just the dish itself. It's, it's knowing that I have to film it and push the record button and then put the food in there [laughter].
And it has to look good on camera!
Yeah. And it's, the pizza episode, that was such a huge challenge.
It was one of my favourites, it was gorgeous. I've tried some of your toppings. I just love them!
But it took me months,
Did it? [laughter]
because I think there's no other food, people have more opinion about than pizza, I think. And, knowing that I wasn't gonna make everybody happy. I just had to find the way tha I like to make pizzas and, and trying to figure out what dough recipe I liked the most. And it just came down to the simple Neapolitan dough recipe.
I didn't, I didn't feel like I needed olive oil or any other ingredients in it.
And, getting the right ratios right, and then figuring out what worked best in the oven and then figuring out the toppings and, you know, it took, it took a long time to make it [laughter], and then realizing that with pizza as well, you know, I was going to make one episode with pizza and then I realized,
you can't do that, there's so much. It's very important how you set your oven up. I think with pizza, I think dough is obviously very important. How you, how you make your dough, having your stations set up for toppings, because I think we've all, any of us who make pizza in the oven, you know, you're just running. If you're not, if you don't have your, your mise en place set up, you're running backwards and forwards.
Yeah, oh yeah
and that episode. And then, and that's actually that's episode three and it's actually probably, I think it's the least watched episode, funny enough.
Really?! That surprises me!
Yeah, and, I think it's one of the most, I think it's the most, one of the most important aspects of pizza, assuming you're going to make more than one.
and you're going to make a variety. And then the final actually making pizza itself, you know, that it was all, and I learned so much, I've made pizza many times, but when I was getting ready to really make that, whole series, those four episodes, I learned so much about how to cook. So, and anything is, and that's the other thing I think with the wood oven, anything that you, again, if you cooking in the kitchen, you set the, the oven temperature, you put the food in there, you know, it's gotta be in there for 30 minutes and you take it out. The oven is, you know, you never really sure. It's hard to control the temperature of your oven. Once it's at a temperature, you can't bring it down. And, so you got to keep, you dedicate yourself to the food. You can't just turn away from it.
Yeah, yeah [laughter].
And next thing you turn back and it's, it's, you've cooked the steak too long,
or the pork is burnt or whatever it might be. So,
You do, you have to pay a lot of attention.
I mean, I've got a huge Sage plant, thanks to you in my backyard now.
Ah yeah, mushroom and Sage topping on those pizza, at the time when I was building my oven, I was writing notes upon notes about the processes that, you described [laughter] in those episodes,
with pizza and really for folks out there, if you haven't seen those episodes on pizza, it's an absolute go-to. If you're learning how to use your wood oven, lots of great advice, yeah
The great thing about pizza is, I think of pizza as like an artist's canvas.
And look, there are some pieces that I don't particularly like you could, you can put whatever you want on a pizza.
What's your favourite topping?
Oh, I make up the pancetta pizza. It has a layer of a fontina cheese. And then I just put slices of pancetta.
Simple. It's really, yeah, put the dill on afterwards. You know,
that's simple ingredients and it's just, that's my favourite pizza. So just think of it like the canvas who, who cares, what anybody thinks about,
what you put on your pizza. If you enjoy it, then it's a great pizza.
We had friends around not long ago and we did a pizza night. They've got little toddlers or wow five or six year olds and they just had a ball making their own pizzas. You know, every ingredient under the sun ended up on their pizza.
That's half the fun. And of course, then it doesn't really come out of the oven. It sort of becomes a permanent fixture.
I know [laughter]
in the oven
Yeah. That's the great thing about kids with pizza. They want to put every single ingredient on top [laughter].
and you end up with this little mountain.
[laughter] you do.
in the middle of the
[laughter] Smoking away
you put it in and it just, you can't move it around. But they feel like they've done something, so
They do, and it's so social for them. Have you made your own mozzarella? I make a bit of cheese. I make mozzarella. Have you tried making it?
Yeah, time is not on my side
Yeah, you can do a 30 minute mozzarella, which is okay. Or the eight hour version, which is pretty good
Yeah but in 15 minutes I can go down the market.
[laughter] Yeah thats right.
Yeah. Okay. Fair. Fair enough. We've got a question from Mike now. Mike's from, Cockermouth in the UK. It's up near the Lakes District.
My gosh. That's a lovely spot up there.
Have you been up, you must've been up that way?
Yeah but not in decades. I imagine that's a great, a great place to have a wood fired oven, great location.
Yeah, it gets pretty cold. It really is a gorgeous little town. I remember buying sausages from Tony Harrison's butchers on main street there picked up some lovely sausages.
Oh, it's lovely. Anyway, let's have a listen to Mike's question.
Hi Mark, it's Mike in Cockermouth here. I'd like to leave a question for Clive the Wood-Fired Chef. As to his pizza dough recipe, I've been using his Neapolitan dough recipe for about 18 months and it's the most successful pizza's I've made in my wood fired oven. I've been trying recently to use a sourdough recipe and have had little success in making those pizza's work. I wondered if Clive had tried the sour dough.
Uh, yes, I have tried sourdough, and not as successfully as I just doing the Neapolitan dough. And, I wished, I know I've had a lot of requests about sourdough pizza dough and I will get to it at some point, but I'm not ready to actually have a recipe yet that I think will work. So, and plus I've got too many other things on the list I have to cook to satisfy people [laughter] to get more episodes out.
[laughter] Oh yeah. We're all very impatient.
Yeah. If anybody out there is, has a successful sourdough pizza dough recipe, I'd love to hear about it.
What about light up methods, when you cook your food, do you always like to clear the dome and perhaps cook on falling temperatures?
So it was originally as I do in the episode two, no, I can't remember which episode now. Oh four, I think, the first episode, episode in that series, episode four, when I actually light the oven up and you make that kind of log cabin out of your and I fire it from the, from the bottom up. And it creates a huge fire and it pretty much clears the dome out, but it creates quite a bit of smoke,
or can create quite a bit of smoke. So lately I've actually been starting with much smaller fires, mainly because I don't want to create and just slowly build a fire up and move it around the dome to kind of clear the various areas that they are.
But some episodes I'm working on now, I'm doing a series of episodes about cooking various potato dishes, like potato gratin,
actually mashed potato using, baking the potatoes first and then scooping out the, the cooked potato to make mashed potato stuff like that.
And I've actually found that because you want a lower temperature for those dishes, that I'm using the fire up period to make them.
So I'm firing up the oven, not with a huge fire, with a smaller fire, getting it to around that 400 between four and 500 degrees Fahrenheit kind of temperature. And then using that temperature to make these potato dishes, and these are dishes that can then be reheated later, once those dishes are made, then I'll add more wood to bring it up more to that 700 degrees Fahrenheit range that I'm used to really cooking out, you know? So I think when firing up your oven, it doesn't have to be a big fire from the very, very beginning, whether you prefer the bottom up lighting method or the top-down lighting method. And I, I must admit there is sometimes I don't get the dome completely clear,
because you have to get it up, you know, over 600 degrees to get the dome clear. I mean, you can, you can buy a wire brush and brush it all cleaned if that's what you want to do.
So it's, I think it's just basic temperature you need. That said, you know, when you get your oven up to the high, high-end temperatures, again, something I really tell everybody is, you know, the great thing about the wood oven is you're going to have a variable temperature between the fire, wherever the fire is. The hottest part of the oven is going to be where the fire is.
and the coolest part is going to be where the opening is. And it's very, I think it's really good to learn how to use those very variable temperatures to cook your dishes. You know,
It makes it so versatile doesn't it?
I mean that there's a huge temperature range in the oven really. And it makes it very, very flexible. I've been experimenting with the top-down light up method and I'm finding with my neighbor's, it produces very little smoke.
I think it, the disadvantages that perhaps, the heat is further away from the oven floor might take the floor a little longer to heat up, but, but well, that's working, that's working for me.
I like to clear the dome when I cook. I mean, I spent three months building it. It's nice to see.
I mean, having a, having a beautiful, clear dome, especially when you're filming,
Oh, of course!
you want to have a clear dome when you're filming.
Yeah, yeah absolutely
I think my point is it's, it's like the time that you take to heat the oven up, you know, that usually takes about an hour or more. You can use that period to do a bit of cooking.
You know, you take advantage of the full time that you've got a fire in there.
A question in from Barry, from Canada about using the oven door. Actually, Barry has an interesting, incredible story, actually, he, his story involves his 88 year old father-in-law who opened the first pizzeria in a town called Hamilton in 1957.
It is, they're coming on the show. And I'm very grateful to them, both. They're going to come on the show and discuss that,
that story, which is great, but let's take a listen to Barry's question.
Hello, this is Barry from Canada. I've just finished building my own oven. And, I've learned a great deal from both your podcast and of course, Clive your, incredible YouTube channel. I'm very keen to know your thinking around the use of a door. I've done the pizza bit. It's going really well, but I'm very interested in the use of the door and how it can manage heat and so on for longer cooks and bread and so on. Really interested in what you have to say around that. Love it all, looking forward to your answers boys.
Well, thanks for the question, Barry. I really don't use my door very much. I know there are a lot of wood-fired oven enthusiasts who use the door, to vary the opening that they have in terms of the airflow into the oven. I never do that. It's partly because I just don't, I don't want to have one other, another thing to think about. I just want to be able to use the oven and cook my food and be able to pull the pads in and out of the oven and use the peel without having to think about moving the door. But I do use the door for two things. One is just to seal the oven up when I'm not using it and two retained heat for cooking. I think that for me, that's what the purpose of the door really is. Particularly if you have an insulated door, is when I've, when I'm done with the oven, at the end of the night, I pull the coals out over the floor, all the embers over the floor. I seal up the oven with the door. And I know when I come back in the morning, it's going to still be around 600 degrees, 600 degrees Fahrenheit. So that's about 300 degrees centigrade. And, then I'll use the oven on and off if I want to bring the temperature down in the oven, I'll kick the door off. If I want to maintain a certain amount of heat, if I want to put something in the oven, like doing bread, which it's around that 500 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 centigrade, sweet spot, you know, with we're doing bread, you want to keep the oven sealed up, so once the dough goes in, you have some steam put the door on and then hope, hope that it's going to turn out good. [laughter].
And that's why, you know, it's not like in the kitchen where you have some glass, you can keep peeking into the glass and see,
I think it's a cooking, you know?
So you have to trust your instincts a lot more, but I, I, not that I think that the door is, there's a lot of people use the door and they find a very, useful method for cooking. I just not, I don't see any reason to hide the fire when you're using it and hide the food, and you've got to keep an eye on the food while it's cooking. So that, yeah, I hope that answered your question,
It's not quite the same when you have a glass of wine and you're sitting,
back in your chair watching an episode on your iPad of Clive, and you're looking at your oven and if you can't see the flame, it's just not the same. [laughter]
Exactly. But for retained heat cooking it's an, it's an essential part of your kit.
Tell me a little bit about, your preferred placement of the fire in your wood-fired oven.
Um, so, uh, was that it?
Oh that was it.
On the very long list of episodes to do on the oven. So, usually I have it at the back, because I like to be able to use the variable temperature that, that gives you the, the much more, versatility within the back.
You know, and it's going to slowly drop off as you get to the opening that gives you great versatility. A lot of the time I'll use it either, if you think of the back of the oven as 12 o'clock, I'll put the fire at around nine thirty,
or one thirty, you know, if you can imagine that. So it's not quite to the side, it's kind of between the side and the back. I find then that with the fire there, it's the same if you put the fire to the very side, which is mostly only really do that for, for pizzas to the side, but you have the heat from the oven and you have the reflected heat from the wall as well. So if you put your pan, if you put the fire around, let's say nine thirty, so it's slightly to the left of you, as you're looking in the oven, you can then use either half the dish your cooking out near the opening, where you have much more cooler air and you have the convection air coming in, or you can have it pushed in a little bit further. It's still reachable, but you're having the heat, the reflective heat from the radiant heat, from the wall of the side of the dome as well. I don't know if I'm explaining it very well,
No you are, yup
and I think I'll do it when I do this episode, it'll be kind of an addendum to the retained heat episode. But I think mostly it's that kind of nine thirty or one thirty kind of placement of the fire still gives you a lot of floor surface,
to cook with. You can still get you the variable temperature to work with. But it changes based on, on the dish that I'm cooking, you know? So, yup
Well, speaking of your retained heat episode,
I think that was episode 19, amazing graphics,
in that episode, did you do them yourself?
Yep. Did everything myself.
That's where my graphic design.
skills came in.
It was a great episode, really. And if you haven't seen that episode, check it out. It's a great education on the inner workings of heat in an oven.
And it it's incredible. You mentioned in the episode, having a, a graph is a great way to help understand.
the fall off of temperature in your oven. How did you, how did you plot that?
For the longest time, I was just kind of winging it with the retained heat. I knew the oven would be hot when I opened it in the morning. And I knew that it would, and I have a lot of thermal mass around a lot of installation around my oven. So I knew that it takes a lot, you know, if I leave the door on it takes a long time, almost 48 hours before it gets really cold. So I thought, well, I need to just, I need to record this. You know, when I, when I was planning an episode again, that was, that was an episode I thought, well, if I do this, I better know what I'm talking about.
[laughter] And that's where
Cause we'll all let you know,
won't we on youtube, that comment feature [laughter]
Yeah, so that's where actually Ben at the Melbourne Firebrick Company was very helpful. I had a really fantastic call with him. You know,
you talk to someone like him who, you know, his world is, is wood ovens and building them and he's you know, he's like a mad scientist, you know,
Yeah, yeah [laughter]
he knows about the wood oven
and then also the people over at Forno Bravo, were great. They were very helpful in the information. And, as I wrote down, I was writing the script for that episode. And then you can't, you can't explain that just verbally. So I thought, well, I better start making some drawings and graphs. And, and I thought the graph was the best, the best way of actually figuring out, how the oven cools down with the door on.
and how the cools down, without the door, without the door on. And then looking for those windows where.
you can for the windows for bread, you know, the windows for doing a roast pork or something slow roasting, you know,
that kind of stuff. So, so I learned a lot from Alan Scott about the full heat cycle, and as a way to get the most out of your oven. I mean, if you think about you fire up your oven, one time.
you can cook for as, as many hours as you want with the fire going. And then if you have a good retained heat without fire, you can cook for another almost at least another day, maybe two days.
So for three, you got, you can get three days of cooking out of
the wood fired oven with,
with one firing. So I learned a lot of that from Alan Scott, but there's also there's, it's a guy called Richard Miscovich. I've hope I get his name, right. Richard Miscovich. And he has a book called From the Wood-Fired Oven. And, he explains very clearly and I would recommend if you want to, that's another book I'd recommend,
in addition to the Bread Builders, I think he does a good job of explaining that.
In the episode you discussed, the three different types of heat, you talk about
radiant heat, you talk about conduction heat, and convection heat, and for folks who haven't seen the episode yet, can you very briefly just describe those three for us?
Yeah, so the radiant heat is going to be the heat coming off the fire, and the dome and the floor. So you light the fire, the fire is transferring heat into the floor and into the dome. And like we talked about when the dome goes clear, which is, it's around that 300 degrees Fahrenheit, no the 600 degrees Fahrenheit, about 300 degrees Centigrade clear don't, you know, that, that the dome you're going to have all this radiant heat.
And you just, if you stick your hand in there, you know, you have to, you'll, you'll feel the heat. And if you use your, if you have a an infrared thermometer, you know, you place it in different areas around the, around the oven, and you'll be able to see where the various temperatures are, and that's going to be your radiant heat after radiant heat, you have conduction. And that's exactly what it sounds like. It's, you're conducting, it's pushing heat from primarily the floor, that's the only place you're going to place a pan or the food once, once the pan or the food comes in direct contact with the floor, pizza, obviously with the floor or the food you're putting in the pan, that's the heat, the conduction heat, and usually whatever the temperature is in the oven that you place your pan, if it's there long enough, it's going to match the temperature of that place in the oven. And that's the conduction heat. And then the convection heat is the heat that's drawn into the oven. And I try to show that if you wipe the opening of your oven with a damp cloth, you can see the kind of the steam,
as it's drawn into the oven.
drawn inside, yeah
it goes across the floor and then it circulates around the side of the oven, and then it's drawn out, should the chimney, the chimney creates this vacuum that pulls the heat out of the, of the oven. And so all those heats are working. You can't choose between one or the other, they're all working together [laughter].
And even with, with retained heat, you're still going to have some radiant heat, cooking with retained heat, you're going to have some radiant heat that's left over. You're going to have still have conduction. Less so, the convection heat, because if you close the door, you're, you're not, you're, creating a very still environment in there, but I do think it's an important thing to understand. It's why, you know, traditional ovens in the kitchen, you have, you have a bake setting and you have a convection,
Yeah [laughter] nice and easy
but, you know, basic. Yeah, the convection bake is basically blowing air around the oven, you know,
and, and you're doing that kind of naturally with the wood-fired oven.
Well, speaking of temperatures, Brad has sent in a question for you and let's take
a listen to Brad's question.
Hi, my name is Brad. What are the best ways to cook in the five to 600 degree range. Every time I cook and try to stay in that range, my temperatures eventually end up in the seven to 800 degree range, closer to what I would use if I were going to cook pizzas. It also seems when I'm trying to cook in that five to 600 degree range, I get more smoke than I do when it's in the hotter temperatures. Thank you.
Okay, it was a great question, Brad. So I think when you, when you're firing up your oven, most of the time you're looking for that sweet spot, which is the 600 degrees Fahrenheit, 300 degrees centigrade, where your dome is going to go clear. Once you get there for temperature, the oven is going to keep rising even with a small fire. So just at that point, stop feeding too much fuel to the fire, add small pieces to the fire at that point. Again, I found when I'm experimenting now with these lower temperatures that starting with a small, small fire if I just keep it small and just add small pieces of wood, it maintains that certain temperature.
Yeah, that's a great tip, actually. Yeah.
I think an oven with a good thermal mass and good installation is going to need less fuel to maintain the temperature and less fuel means a smaller fire, which gives you much more surface area to cook with. And, I'm very big on just keeping, once I get up to temperature, and an oven will hold its temperature really, really well. If you've got good thermal mass, you've got good insulation. That oven will hold its temperature very well. You don't need to have a big fire to maintain that temperature. So I would say when you get to that, like I said, the 600 degrees Fahrenheit, 300 degrees, centigrade, temperature, just reduce the size of your fire, remove a lot of the embers from the fire. I use my peel, for everything.
Do you [laughter]? Yeah
And once, once I get to about the temperature, I want, I have a metal bucket that I put up on the shelf. I use my peel to scoop out a lot of the embers are still in there, make it very, very clean, keep a small fire going and to maintain the temperature.
Ah, great tips
Yeah. The more you use your oven, the greater your understanding of how it performs. Most ovens are different. My oven is different from your oven Mark, is different from somebody else's oven
and the more you use it, the more you understand, how it maintains the temperature, how long it will give you retained heat. So if you just keep using it, and I think fire management is just very, very important. You can't control the temperature in an oven, wood-fired oven that much, but you can control how hot it gets
by not by, by not going over the top of the fire.
Not continuing to feed it, yeah
I think we were going to, we're going to talk about the Andiron at some point.
We are it's coming up.
So we'll wait for that. Okay. I'll wait for that.
Yeah, fried potato cakes from Instagram, great Instagram name,
by the way. Says ask him for a bread episode [laughter]
It's on a very long list of things to do,
Haven't you done, haven't you've done, you've done something though.
Yeah in the retained heat episode, I showed some of those, the bread that I'd made in the oven, but I haven't done it.
Didn't you do a bread? Oh, I forget the name
Oh I did focaccia
Oh yes, you did too.
I did have a focaccia episode.
Yes, yeah, well there you go. So you've, you've done a bread episode. Tick!
must admit, I'll say this I'm, I'm kind of scared of doing a bread episode [laughter].
because there's such a, there's such a amazing, and I probably shouldn't be scared about doing it, again it's just the fear of not getting it right. If I'm going to do a proper bread episode, I better get it right. So, um, but, um, I don't.
Practice, practice, practice
Yeah, I think honestly, I think it's not, I have so many other things I want to show in the wood-fired oven other than bread. So,
[laughter] Alright, Gary sent in a question, while we're talking about baking, let's have a listen to Gary's question.
Hi, what is the best method for a commercial pizza restaurant to utilize their oven for bread production? The ovens getting used for pizza during the lunch and dinner. How do you fire the oven for bread, say sour dough loaves. You know, at the end of the shift at the beginning of the shift, what's the temperature, do you inject steam so on and so forth? Thank you.
Well, thanks for your question. That I think goes down too, as well as understanding your oven and its thermal mass and its installation and how it retains heat. So I imagine if you're cooking pizza, let's say up till 10 o'clock at night, I think you just have to start by doing lot of, of research and note-taking to figure out how to perform. So if you're cooking up to 10 o'clock at night pizza, that's when you let the fire die. In the morning, you want to take the temperature of the oven and see how long it takes for the oven to cool down between the morning and then lunchtime, when you've got to fire it up again for making pizza, how, how quick does it lose temperature with the door on, how quickly does it lose the temperature with the door off? You're looking for a temperature of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or 260 centigrade. That's about the sweet area for cooking breads or loaves of bread or baguettes. So when does your oven get to that point? Does it get to that point? Is it at that point at six o'clock in the morning? If it's little too high at six o'clock in the morning, which is usually the time, you hear all the time that's when people bake bread is very, very early in the morning.
If it's still too hot, when do you take the door off to let it come down to a roundabout that, that's that that right temperature. So I would do a lot of experimenting first to find out when you get to that right temperature, with the oven. In terms of adding steam, there are very, you know, I know there are some wood ovens that have steam injection systems, in them. If you don't have a steam injection system, then there are methods like filling a, a skillet with metal chain, with lava rock, putting that in the oven. And then when your ready to put loaves in, you pour a cup of water in there and allow the steam to, to fill the oven at the very beginning. So I'm, I'm not a baker, so I couldn't give you exact advice on how to bake bread, but I think it would start with just understanding your oven and the temperature management. I would start there. And I'd love to know how that goes. I mean, if you want to email Mark or email me through my website. I'd love to hear how it goes, because I'm very interested in how certain ovens perform.
I use a garden sprayer and I load it
Oh do you?
up with water, pump it. And then if I'm doing bread, the next day I'll you know, this, all the pressure inside the squirts all the mist
inside the oven,
put the door on. I mean, I'm not a baker, at all, but it seems to work.
I think there's, I think there's a fear, there's a slight fear of, you know, water and wood, wood oven,
you know, it's pretty refractory oven. They don't seem like they would go very well together.
And, I think if you put too much moisture in an oven, you can actually probably damage it, you know? But I think, yeah, using a spray bottle, or doing the pan in the oven,
or something like that, I think the other, I tried, I took a damp cloth and I covered, I laid it over the door and then put the door on
Oh did you?
the there, and it worked pretty good except that eventually the cloth burnt.
Oh did it? [laughter]
So I can, it was only, I could only use it once each time, but that's another method. Yeah.
Do your other family members use your wood fired oven?
Really! It's your domain is it?
Nobody's allowed to touch it
Oh fair enough. My wife bakes muffins does sausage rolls, all those sorts of things. But yeah okay so no, it's Clive's domain.
Hands off. Yeah, no, fair enough too. Episode 14, you poached peaches in your wood-fired oven.
That's a glorious episode. What other desserts have you done?
I've done the peaches, I've done, I have lots of episodes filmed, with the food part of the episode. So I did a peach galette, that I made in the oven. I did use and retain heat, I've done scones and cookies and things like that. It's interesting. I tried this episode using, I posted on Instagram doing a tomato tart using, puff pastry.
Yup, was that yesterday? Was that the one you put out yesterday?
Yeah, it's beautiful.
Store-bought puff pastry, that I've experimented with that, cause I thought I could do that on the floor of the oven, like pizza, but pizza dough cooks very quickly and, puff pastry needs longer time to cook, you know, so it started burning the edges and by the time it was burning the edges, the bottom of the pie hadn't cooked enough
and it was hard to move around with the peel.
So I had to experiment with that, I think, I have to try heating up a metal pan and putting the pie in the pan, the hot pan, so it cooks the bottom.
I don't know yet. We'll see things don't always work.
No, no. And look, you, you were telling me a couple of weeks ago, when we were on a zoom call that you were working on a particular recipe involving sausages,
Yeah, the toad in the hole
Yeah, was that, yeah, that's right, so that was, is that a Clive fail? Is that
It, it was a disaster.
Was it? [laughter].
Well, the sausages and the next day looked really nice [laughter].
The sausages were great, the sausages were great, the great thing about,
So what happened with that? When's that episode launching, cause you know
I don't know if it is going to,
Oh come on bloopers would be great, it would make all of us feel like you're human and not wood fired oven,
That's true. I wasn't sure if toad in the hole was going to work because, the traditional recipe for toad in the hole, making it in a traditional kitchen oven is, you know, you get it up to, get it up to a very high temperature, which you can do in the wood oven. Make sure you have plenty of, lots of some kind of oil in there or fat. And then you pour batter in, close the door and leave it. You don't, don't touch it and let it,
No peeking, and you can watch through the glass, you can watch it rise, you know, it's back it up.
I wasn't sure if it was going to work in the wood-fired oven and it didn't. So a few things happened, I think maybe because of the convection heat, and the, you know, if you have your pan facing in one direction, that's the side, closer to the opening, it's not going to get the same amount of heat. So you have to keep turning the pan, maybe something to do with the convection air that's being drawn in, so there's movement inside the oven, and by the time, the batter had risen up over the edge of the, of the side of the pan, the heat from the fire was weighted. So burning the top of the, of the batter,
and that the centre of it wasn't cooking. So I called time on it [laughter].
Pulled it, pulled it out of the oven
I don't, well,
At that point, I just don't know whether to keep trying, because maybe someone out there has done it successfully. I'd love to hear how you did it. And maybe doing small individual Yorkshire puddings in a, in a little muffin, tin would work. But at that point I figured, well, how much work do I want to put into this? Because I need, I need to do this maybe three or four more times to see if I can make this work.
And that's a lot of time and it's time,
I could be filming things that I know.
It's a lot of sausages, yeah
Yeah, and the great thing about toad in the hole is that you can pick the sausages out, they tasted great.
That's great, you improvised, adapted and overcame that. And, you ate the sausages [laughter]
Yeah, yeah. People, people only see the good stuff on the YouTube. They don't see the disasters [laughter],
Well, you starting to do a few bloopers though, and they're funny, they're great, you know, at the end,
I just think, I just think you need a whole episode of your bloopers, your fails, that'd be,
Maybe, I didn't, I didn't do an episode 13. Um, and some people ask, well, where's episode 13 and I think we'll make that.
No, I didn't.
That, that'll be the,
maybe I'll make it do an episode 13 at some point that'll be the blooper episode,
The blooper, the blooper reel. I think one of my most favourite episodes, episode five, the porterhouse or T-bone steak you did,
in your wood-fired oven.
It is, it is definitely one of my favourite episodes. Talk us through, what was involved in filming that episode? Was it, was it a tricky one to get right?
How many T-bones to get through?
So after I'd done the first four episodes and put that out, you know, I'd said my friend, Bruce had been so helpful in helping me do that first episode, but at that point I was kind of doing it on my own, it was very hard, because I was figuring out how to film by myself, setting up the cameras. And honestly, I don't mind saying, I think I had to make that steak four or five times before,
Oh, you're joking, really?
before I got it right. Because again, it just goes back to, it had to look amazing. I just had to look perfect,
And it did, my gosh, it's inspired me to cook that one.
Good, there was a, it was a learning and I'm learning every time I use the oven, I'm learning something, I'm learning something,
about cooking. I'm learning something about filming and camera angles and cinematography and lighting. So, it's funny. I'd love to reshoot some episodes just because I've learned so much since then.
Yeah, I know, I bet. Have you tried hay smoking, recently I've started doing the T-bones in the porterhouse, in the oven, and then for the last two or three minutes, kissing it with a bit of hay smoke from the pet store. It's great. I know other chefs do it, have you tried it?
Nope. I heard about it from you, so I will give it a try
You should try it.
And it's gorgeous. It's lovely. And you did that, porterhouse on your Tuscan grill, tell us about using the Tuscan grill. What other foods have you used it for?
I used it for doing the branzino. I've used it, I mean, not everything I've cooked on the Tuscan grill you see on the episode. So I've used it for doing lamb, I've done pork, I've done some, some vegetables on it. I think it's a, it's a fantastic piece of kit,
Yeah, isn't it!
the Tuscan grill.
because it doesn't matter what temperature you get it to. I mean, you want to get that to a really high temperature,
and, it doesn't need seasoning. It doesn't need any care really at all. And you can cook with it using some of the embers underneath. You can cook, just using the floor itself. You can put a pan underneath to catch some of the dripping if that's what you want to use as well. It's a great that, that one I have is made by, a very well known chef, in the US he's very well known for his barbecue work. His name is Steve Raichlen, or Raichlen. And he manufactured that you can't buy it anymore. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it anywhere, but it's a fantastic piece of kit, I think
Vinnie's got a question from Connecticut.
Let's have a listen to Vinnie's question.
Hi, I'm from Connecticut. And I was wondering if you could give a little bit more detail on the types of wood that you're using in the wood-fired ovens, thanks.
So, oh great question. I primarily use olive, cause being in California, there's a lot of olive, a lot of almond and a lot of Oak and they're readily available. And, I have a guy that, I can call up and say, look, I need, I need some wood, one of those three. He'll actually cut it for me.
I used to cut it myself.
I think, I remember you and Adrian talked about,
using the Kindle cracker.
Yep, I used to
Well I think he's got one. Yeah, I would never cut my own,
wood again now I'm over it [laughter]
Me too [laughter]
It's hard. It's hard enough work, you know.
We had an olive tree on our property that died and thought, oh, well, sad to lose the tree, but the benefit is it's lots of wood there, you know,
but it's gotta be chopped down. I rented a, hydraulic log splitter, you know,
and I just don't care to do all that stuff now. I'd rather, if somebody else can do it for me then [laughter].
Absolutely. Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more
But I think you've got to have, the best wood is the wood that's going to be native to your area.
And, I would call a local firewood supplier and just ask them what what's, what are the good hardwood? Good, hard seasoned wood. I mean, that's what you really want. You want, see, I, think almond is a great wood, but I find it's not as hard as Oak and olive, you know, and a harder wood is going to burn longer. It's going to burn hotter.
You're going to use less of it. So you want seasoned hardwood to put in the oven.
And I think when you, depending on how much your having delivered, you want to make sure you store it in a place that keeps it dry? That's why I have that, space underneath the oven,
keeps it very dry down there. I have the doors on there that stop any kind of creatures from, from nesting, from nesting,
in there as well. So, but whatever's native to your area, I think is the best wood to use.
Ah the US is famous for its cuisine and in particular barbecue and smoking foods. And I, I love my smokers at home as well. Have you, have you done any smoking? Have you got a smoker? Do you do any of this
stuff? Nope. Does it interest you?
[laughter] I just,
Have you gone to some smoke barbecue joints in California.
Yeah, I mean yeah
Do you like,
There are some good places, actually I've been to Texas a couple of times.
Oh lucky thing!
They have amazing barbecue,
down there, you know, but it's, I think it's, I know some people, some friends who love to do smoking, and I'm just not interested in learning another skill. I've got such a long list of things to do in the wood-fired oven, and, I'm just going to stick with, again, it's that whole idea of, you know, stick to what you're good at.
Yeah. Good on you. Let's have a chat about, tools that you use for your cooking. You've done an episode, I think it was 22 on cookware, I'm a huge fan of my cast iron cookware cazuelas. I've got a couple of tagines and my andiron, my flambeado, which I love to use as well. What tools would you recommend to somebody just starting out? There's so many things to choose from.
Yeah, as far as I'm concerned you need three things, you need a peel, the small, the small long-handled peel, you need a brush, and you need an andiron, and that's all you need.
I know there are other things like Ash scrapers, which I'm sure are great people love to use them, but I use my peel for pretty much everything. I use my peel for, if I open up the oven and I've had, I haven't used it in a week, but there's still Ash, and, you know, things in there I'll use the peel to clean up the Ash out of the oven. I use the brush to sweep everything, you know, to try and get the floors clean as possible. I use my peel to place far logs on and off, when the fire is on, for moving things in and around the oven. I just don't think you need, you know, you don't, I don't think you need to have four or five, six pieces of tool, you know, pieces of, tools outside of the oven, and you have to pick which one you're going to use. The small, long handle peel is, I think I said in the episode, is my Excalibur. You know,
that's the tool. You, you need more than anything else.
And the andiron, I, that was a revelation to me when I first started using the andiron, it's such a great tool. You know, it helps with the airflow, with the wood in the oven, so you're not sticking wood directly on top of, of embers. You know, it's sitting on the andiron, it, lasts for the better air flow, which, keeps the, maintains, maintains the flame. So those are the three tools I think you really need in terms of maintaining the oven.
In terms of pans, as I said in the episode, my favourite's are my carbon steel pans from this company called Blanc Creatives,
They're beautiful, my goodness,
I mean, they're a little, they're a little pricey, because I think they made the guys at Blanc Creatives are real artists there, and they make these really beautiful pans, but they're going to last you a lifetime.
So if you're an accountant, you can amortise the pans. If you think, well, I gonna pay this much,
[laughter] that's right!
If I'm going to use it for the next 10, 15, 20 years, it doesn't sound like so much money.
I use those more than any other pan that I have. Next I use, Tuscan grill and the skillet. I don't think you can beat the skillet for cooking a steak,
even, I actually, I prefer the steak on, from the skillet more so actually than I do from the Tuscan grill.
Do you? Okay
Yeah, because I like when you cook a steak, I liked that the whole surface, hits the pan,
and it gives you a crust over the whole thing. So those are the main, main dishes that I use.
How did you learn about the different shapes? Because on that episode, you show us a whole bunch of different pans and skillets and shapes in terms of the, the shapes and the materials, was it really just trial and error finding what, what worked for you in your oven?
Yeah, and what am I cooking, again I love about the, Blanc Creatives carbon steel pads is the loop handles on it. You know, I think the stainless steel pans are great. I was just using the same steel pans the other day to cook.
But you know, with a long handle, pan with a long handle, it's harder to move around in the oven. You can only kind of move it one way with the, with the loop handles you can keep rotating the pan in the same area of the oven. That's what I love about those and the skillet has a nice short handle, so that's much easier to move around as well.
Those are the pans that, I mean, I have some small Staub oval shaped dishes that I've used. I'm only used those,
the stainless steel oval pans for mainly presentation, food presentation, yeah
Your commenters on YouTube, have applauded you for your precision and quality of production, we've discussed that already. Be interesting to hear a little bit about the process of putting one of these episodes together. Can you just discuss the, the overall process? You've talked a little bit about, you know, you're on your Friday, you're going to be setting up your gear, on your Saturday, you tend to do your cook, and then you got the whole editing process that goes on after the event.
Is that a time consuming process for you?
[laughter] Totally, it's so time consuming. So it begins with me figuring out what am I going to make. So, when I, when I did the steak with the green peppercorn sauce, you know, so I'm going to do steak green peppercorn sauce,
So I got, I know how to cook a steak. I have to look, you know, figure out the right ingredients for the green peppercorn sauce, sourcing ingredients. Write a rough script about what I think I'm going to do. And then I spend a day kind of setting up the cameras and the lighting and figure out what angles, you know, if it's something I'm cooking into a deep dish, I need a higher angle,
on the camera to look into the pan. If I'm doing a shallow dish, I can bring the camera's down lower. How hot a fire am I going to use? How much light is that fire going to create in the oven? And then I cook. And, if it's something I'm making for the first time, it might not go the way I want it to go [laughter],
but usually it goes, it goes pretty well. And then once I've gathered all the footage, of the food, of the cooking inside the oven, outside the oven, am I going to, present the food, you know, a separate shot of the food, actually serving the food.
So have you got multiple cameras that you're using? You shoot with Sony, don't you?
Well I, yeah,
it's interesting cause I'll set up, I'll set up to shoot the food with the oven, and then I have to set up again to, for the food presentation. Sometimes food can kind of,
So time consuming!
Yeah, it is. And sometimes food, you know, it doesn't, it'd maybe take me 15, 20 minutes to reset the cameras for the presentation. I can do that, but I found with something like the gambas, the shrimp episodes,
it doesn't look good when it's not bubbly right out of the oven.
And so when I, I, even though I shot that presented it, you know, on the table, it's just sitting, the shrimp is just sitting there and still liquid. It just doesn't look very good.
You got that two hour window to shoot too,
And then I have, once I have the footage and the dialogue and then I sit down and start editing altogether, go through the footage, picking the shots, I think, work best. I use Adobe premiere, to edit and it does, it takes time,
to do and then mix the sound so it all sounds good and making sure everything's colour corrected the same, and then finding where to get it done. I had to do title cards and the other thing I had to shoot is all the ingredients as well.
I usually shoot those, earlier in the day. So yeah, it's a, it's a long process and I really appreciate the feedback I get, you know, everybody's been very kind and their feedback and saying how, how good everything looks and like that, that means a lot to me to hear that.
Has it been challenging through COVID, putting together, your episodes, has it had any impact on you?
I thought, you know, when we were at home that I would have more time to do things, but honestly the last year, you know, 2020, was a very, very difficult year for us, for our, for our company. And,
that, that was our focus last, you know, 2020 was our main focus is keeping our company afloat because,
we weren't sure certain points what we were going to make it or not as,
as it was for so many other companies,
in America and around the world. And, I feel like now we're just kind of starting things, things are starting to get back somewhat to normal. And, I'm finding a little bit more time to start filming and, and cooking.
Aw, that's great. What's, what's one dish that you, your family would agree is the best that you've done. What do they really like? You cooking for them?
You'd have to ask them that,
Are they there, hello? No [laughter]
[laughter] Yeah, well, I cook, as you know I cook a lot of meat,
in the wood-fired oven and, I'm doing that a lot for the audience because my wife's a vegetarian.
Well you've got to eat a lot of T-bone then, a lot of porterhouse steak then aren't you.
Five of them? Yeah [laughter]
And, my eldest daughter, she's vegetarian though she will eat chicken,
and my other daughter she'll eat almost anything. So,
she has the same kind of taste as I do. So I don't know what they were,
Okay well my follow-up question then is what's the worst dish that you've made that they don't like have they told you that?
I've got quite a few,
[laughter] No I'm sure there is.
My girls are possibly a little younger than yours, and they're very honest about,
dad's cooking, yeah they don't hold back [laughter]
Yeah. I don't, maybe I'm just blanking it out because I don't want to admit to anything,
but I've had my, usually when I've had my fair share of disasters, whether it's in the wood oven or the traditional oven, it's usually because I've either undercooked or overcooked something.
All right. Very good. On your website, you mentioned World Central Kitchen, which is,
for those who want to follow that up ; wck.org. And you mentioned that your net proceeds from your YouTube channel go to this great cause. Can you tell us a little bit about it and why you chose this, to support this cause?
Well I think mostly because, so it's a charity founded by Jose Andres, the Spanish chef who, he worked at El Bulli with, Juan Andrea who runs, who ran El Bulli, meaning that guy is amazing. He's like part chef part scientist. But the thing about Jose Andres the guy has incredible amount of energy and passion for anything that he does.
And, I, I was very inspired by him and not only is his passion for the food, but his passion for humanity. And, I can't remember which, which particular disaster, started World Central Kitchen, but, you know, wherever there's a disaster, he's there, with his team of people, feeding people. He doesn't care where they're from, what nationality, what religion, he doesn't care any about it. He just brings food to people in need.
And I just so admire him for doing that. And, I want to try and support that as much as I can. And, and I actually, I would love to not have any advertising on YouTube [laughter].
But that's not really much of an option. So I figured, well, if I'm going to have advertising,
I might as well take the proceeds from that and support his charity.
It's a great cause.
But I would say if you can watch, he had an amazing series called Made In Spain, where he travelled around Spain, his home country, looking at foods, and then he would, it would cut back to him and his house in the United States, and he would cook various dishes. I'd encourage anybody to watch Jose Andres he's just, and follow him on Instagram. I mean, he's just, he's a real inspiration.
I love my music. I studied classical composition at university and I believe really strongly in the power of music to communicate. And, the piece of music that you have chosen, for almost all of your episodes, by Mark Hannah is a, is a divine piece of music. And, and I think it has beautifully set the scene for your episodes. And wow. It communicates to me a very thoughtful, calming, I guess, romantic, inspirational episode to come.
And I think we all recognise this piece of music as Clive's wood-fired oven track. But, you've changed up recently. Are you going,
Well just, just [laughter]
to be mixing it up going forward,
because I mean, some of your commenters on YouTube they love it, but you know, all the way back to episode, I don't know, 15, when are you going to change music? When are you going to change? No, it's a gorgeous piece of music, but anyway, I thought I'd asked you about that.
Well it's just a, most people like the music. I get asked a lot,
where can I find that piece of music?
It's hard to find.
Some people, don't like it, that's fine.
Really?! How can you...
You can't please, you can't please everybody.
No you can't
And then I just thought I had one episode,
I was doing a Spanish dish and I thought, well, I'll try a little bit of Spanish music, and I thought it was great,
It was lovely, look it was a nice piece of music,
I had a bad reaction,
it's a nice piece of music
I had a bad reaction from some people on it.
You unsettled us, you unsettled us
People don't like change very much.
We do not
But, but I, you know, I have, I have, the great thing about that one piece Charango by Mark Thomas,
Hanna, it kind of goes with anything so I could have used it on the gambas episode,
and one episode on the long list of things to do, I want to do a tandoori chicken.
Cause I think that the wood oven, I kind of see it as a tandoor oven on its side.
[laughter] yeah it is!
I think, who knows, I might try a different piece of music with that, you know,
to go with the food itself. Maybe,
I don't know, just prepare, I'll warn people now in advance that,
might change the music for one or two episodes.
Okay, so we're prepared for that. Are you a musician yourself? Do you play?
I can play the tambourine.
Phil Collins plays a great tambourine too, actually
I play the triangle.
Did you? [laughter].
In the school orchestra in the UK, in south London. I can just,
that image. I can see, [laughter].
I can see that [laughter]
I play the peel
The peel, okay [laughter].
Very, very musical dance you do with your lovely dog. Wine, you love your red wine, obviously.
Me too, love my south Australian reds, my goodness. Tell me a little bit about the wines that you do enjoy
Well being in California, California produce amazing wines and I drank California wines for a long time. But as I was getting older, I found the, because they're much, a lot more body to California wines, I think, then the European reds and,
I was finding them a little heavy,
and, we went to the UK and this must've been around 18 years ago or so and, I went to this amazing old wine shop in London called Berry and Rudd.
You walk into this place and it looks like you're in the Dickens novel.
It's an amazing place. And I told them that I like California wines, which are predominantly Pinot Noir, and they didn't carry any Pinot Noir, and the guy says, 'Well, what about Burgundy?'. And I said, 'I know nothing about Burgundy wine'. She says, well, so he gave me a selection of wines and it really changed my wine tastes for me a great deal. It's fantastic. You know, I love Burgundy wines. And, I came back to the states and I went to, a local wine place, it's a very large wine, wine store and they have a Burgundy section and I went over, and I was looking around, I had no idea what I was doing, and the very helpful store clark came up, and he talked me through the Burgundy wines. It was amazing. And then I, I left, he left. I was just still staying, I don't know what to do, and then this elderly gentlemen who had been standing close by, came up to me and he said, 'Look, I couldn't help overhearing your conversation, but I just want you to know if you want to get into Burgundy wines, that a drug addiction is cheaper'.
Oh is that [laughter], oh bless him
Yeah, yeah [laughter].
So, and he's right. It's,
you can find some great Burgundy wines for a reasonable price, but most good Burgundies are quite expensive. And then I actually got into, Italian wines, and I find Italian wines, a little bit more, from a budget point of view, a little bit more accessible than,
than wines from France. And, I love Barolo's and Barbaresco's and,
a great, you know, now going back to the States though, I do like, the Pinots from Oregon,
Being further north, they're a much lighter wine, a less alcohol content in them. And I think those are fantastic wines. And, I must admit Mark, I'm sorry, I don't really drink much in the way of Australian or New Zealand wines, but, I've heard great things about them.
Oh, look, you know, New Zealand produces, some world-class white wines.
My wife really likes them.
I like my South Australian reds. They are big though, they're, like you were saying, you know, they are big, heavy wines, we visited Italy a couple of years ago and, tried some wine from Montepulciano,
it's a beautiful, beautiful region. Ah, do you enjoy cooking with wine?
Yeah, its a bit
You've done it a couple of times
It's essential, you can't, I just,
Yeah it's so good isn't it?
I can't cook without having a glass of wine,
by, you know wine and food go together.
I think it was Julia Child said, you know, I cook with wine, sometimes they even put it in the food.
and, she it's just yeah, wine and food.
It's a great marriage.
What about an episode with food and pairing some wines to your food? Have you thought about doing something like that?
I tried doing that on the last two episodes which was the gambas one, which I showed a really beautiful Albarino that I did with the, with the, and then, I think, with the steak with green peppercorn sauce, there was a, there was a Burgundy that I did with it. So yeah, I think more about that, but yeah we'll see
Speaking about different regions around the world, you've obviously traveled to the UK and up through Europe a lot.
Have you been, have you been down under, have you been to Australia or New Zealand? My, my home country.
So mostly on work. So, I went once to New Zealand.
What did you think?
I loved it, the greatest coffee I've ever had.
Yeah, it's fantastic, coffee,
Wellington, oh my gosh.
The coffee in Wellington is divine
Yeah Wellington is so, the food was amazing. People, fantastic.
And we had a day off, we had a day off work and we went to some of the wineries around, and you're right, the wines were fantastic.
And then the one time I've been to, I've been to Brisbane and, on business. And, I loved it there too. Food was food, well food and wine were fantastic, but you know, but I haven't really been, one time to each one, once to New Zealand and then once to,
Australia. I should go more.
Yeah. Australia is, I travel a lot for work and Australia is so big. It's about the same,
size as the US it's massive. It's filled with a lot of desert, but it's what an amazing place, it's gorgeous. Ah Pompei, have you been to Italy and seen the,
brick ovens in Pompeii, that was a moving experience for me.
Yeah. That's great. And that's what inspired me when you think about the look at those wood ovens there, and their, they seem to me, I'm not an expert, but they seem to me constructed based on gravity in a way the stones fitting together, you know,
and that's what inspired me to come up with this idea of creating a brick oven with brick that was held together by its own weight rather,
than cementing it together.
Oh that's neat
We've got a question from Scott. Let's take a listen. Thanks for your questions, Scott.
Hi, this is Scott from Rancho Mirage. I'm wondering if Clive would ever consider hosting a wood fire classes and tastings. It's certainly a bucket list item for me
When can we come and visit,
at your backyard and come for a weekend and stay with you and [laughter] do a cooking class?
Oh, how good would that be? Is that going to happen?
Well, Scott thank you for asking [laughter]. I think I have had several people request, you know, would I give personal one-on-one, lessons for wood-fired oven and, my way of sharing my cooking and how I use the wood oven is in the episodes I put on YouTube. That's my way of connecting with people and sharing. I feel so much pressure now, Scott's, it's on a bucket, his bucket list.
I know, can't disappoint, ah
I can't disappoint.
Maybe, maybe you could put a book out. Have you thought about putting book?
Yeah, again, that's on a very long list of, of, actually designed the first few pages of a book,
but I think I need to see if I can find a publisher who would be interested in doing it. So,
But that would be great though,
you know, you could do all the backstory, the, all of the scientific stuff that you're starting,
to touch on in some of your episodes now that would be fantastic.
I realised it, because a book is not, it's not going to be just about, recipes. It has to be about the science of wood-fired, the oven, it's construction, all that kind of stuff. So it's a, and again, I would put my, the same standards of quality I put into the episodes I'd want to do that in the book, so,
One day. Think, well, we keep our fingers well crossed for that. Question come in from London. Let's have a quick listen to this one.
Hello. My name is Karan. I live in London and this is a question for the wood-fired oven chef. What would you recommend I do in my wood-fired oven, a pizza oven, as a surprise for my family at Christmas. So it could be a meat, it could be a pudding. But your recommendations would be highly appreciated. Thank you.
That's a great question
It is a great question. I would say, if you want to surprise them, do pizza,
for Christmas [laughter]
That would surprise them, wouldn't it?
Yeah, that's a great question. So I'd been asked about, if traditionally, if you do a Turkey in the oven, I would definitely do the Turkey. If you're gonna do it, do it in pieces or do a spatchcock because I think,
Turkey needs a long time and you need the heat to penetrate it. I think if you were, if you were using retained heat is probably the best way to cook a Turkey. If you're gonna use the fire, I would say, do, you should spatchcock it. What else could you do? I mean, Christmas pudding needs to be steamed, so I don't know about that.
There's certainly lots of vegetables. Like, again, I'm doing these, currently working on these episodes with baked potatoes, I'm doing a potato gratin, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes. There's those dishes. Oh my goodness, pressure. You could do a cranberry sauce in the wood-fired oven,
but I guess if you're going to do Christmas, you want to try and do as much as you can in the oven. Yeah, I don't know.
Yeah. Two years ago we had 12 of our relatives descend upon our house and I decided to cook in the wood-fired oven on Christmas day. It's very, it's very busy. And we did, spatchcock chickens, we did bread, we did flatbreads, it was something really easy and quick to do in the wood fired oven. We don't tend to have traditional, food for Christmas day, at our house. It's always very hot for Christmas where we are, so standing in front of the oven was warm, but it's so fun, cooking for a lot of people. But it took a bit of planning, cause you're,
cycling through all these different signs, sorts of foods. Do you have particular family traditions for Christmas at your place? Are going to be cooking in your oven this year?
No, I'm sorry [laughter]
[laughter] Are you going to use the electric oven perhaps you,
Probably, probably you know, maybe I'll think about something to do. Christmas is big with our family,
Is it? Yup
Yeah, because as a kids, it was, it was like the holiday of the year, you know?
And, here, you know, Thanksgiving is a very big,
I love Thanksgiving and Christmas yeah we, we get a tree and we decorate the house and do lights. I love that. I love the biggest thing I love about Christmas is just family together.
It's good, isn't it?
just having lots of food available and,
and, cause I've been asked about the Christmas thing quite a few times.
Have you ? [laughter]
I'll be honest about Thanksgiving, I feel like I've failed people [laughter].
by not really doing it,
[laughter] But do you have traditional food on Christmas or traditional British American food?
You do that?
I mean, I actually, I do, because again, I got, we have various diets in the house.
We might, nobody's really a fan of Turkey in our family.
No, me neither, we don't like it, no
We might do a chicken or I do a Beef Wellington,
love doing Beef Wellington,
Do you, yeah
and I don't think Beef Wellington is something you could do in the wood-fired oven. You could do it during retained heat, you couldn't do it with a live fire, I don't think.
Yeah, lots of vegetables. I love sauteing brussel sprouts with grapes and walnuts and,
creamy mashed potatoes.
Aw lovely, aw gosh
They're great, yup
Yeah, very nice, very nice
Christmas Pudding, I love Christmas pudding, not many [laughter],
not many other people in my family do, but
Don't they? Yeah, okay.
Is Christmas Pudding a thing in the US? Very big, obviously in the UK.
No it's not a big thing [laughter]
It's not, it's not a thing [laughter]
I think, I make, I usually make Rum baba, cause that's another thing you can, you can set up alight, a Rum baba,
the same way you do a Christmas pudding.
[laughter] Well, that's great. Well, we've come to the final segment of this episode, sadly. But, this is quick fire question time.
All right. So I've got a bunch of questions. Don't think too much about these though Clive. Just spit them out. All right?
First thing top of your head sort of stuff, are you ready? Okay, here we go. How many times have you repainted your wood-fired oven?
About five or six times. I usually,
give it a new coat of paint every couple of years
Always looks very clean. What's your favourite movie of all time?
Lawrence of Arabia,
Aw. Food you would never cook in your wood fired oven again, maybe? [laughter]
Toad in the hole
Yeah [laughter]. Craziest thing you've ever done?
God, build a wood fired oven, yeah I guess.
Build a wood fired oven. Craziest thing I've ever done? I dunno.
Parachuted, no? Nothing
No. I try to avoid any, physical activity that would cause too much injury, you know?
Yeah, why would you jump out of a perfectly good aircraft. Are your string lights over your pool from Costco? They look so similar,
Yes they are
Ah, yes! Same as me.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
That I should marry my wife.
Aw, perfect. Who's the best 007 of all time?
I think Daniel Craig.
Average number of hours to produce an average YouTube episode?
Oh bloody hell.
It's like months
A lot? [laughter]
Yeah. What is the most ridiculous fact Clive knows?
That, marmalade, it, this one that comes to mind, marmalade is named after, from what I understand, I could be wrong,
that it's from the, it's French, they use,
yeah I think because it's marmalade is something for Ma'am and Madam and lard is the words sick in, or malady is they,
used marmalade or orange to if anyone had a malady that they thought that orange, orange jam or marmalade was a way to bring someone's, restore someone's health, I think, well, I'm sure you might get a lot of people saying what a load of rubbish,
[laughter] But that's a cool fact. All right. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 16 year old self?
Don't change a thing.
Perfect. What's up next on your YouTube channel?
I'm doing a series about cooking with potatoes and I'm doing a tri-tip
Oh nice. That'd be lovely. All right. What's your favourite takeaway food?
[laughter] What's your, what was your first job?
Oh my goodness, my first job. I think I, oh, hang on Mark I'll try and think what was my first job in the,
UK working in a, working in a kitchen in London. Yeah,
Yeah. While I was at coll-, while I was at school
While you're at school?
Well, yeah, while I was at college, I was, I worked in a kitchen, in this job at London
No I was actually cooking.
Oh wow, okay. How would you describe yourself?
How would I describe myself?
A guy just was lucky enough to marry the right woman, have two amazing kids and make it look like I know what I'm doing.
[laughter] If you had one super power, what would it be?
Yeah, super power. What would you want?
Well it'd be nice to be able to turn back time when things don't go very well when you're cooking [laughter],
in the wood fired oven, that would be helpful.
It would be. And lastly, what is one thing that you cannot live without?
Ah my wife.
Clive it has been an absolute pleasure to get to know you over the past few weeks, sitting with you today and on our zoom calls has been such a delight and so educational for me too, on behalf of everyone out there, listening to this show, thank you so very much for coming on Wood Fired Oven Podcast and allowing us to get to know you a little bit better. So thank you so very much.
Thank you, Mark. I don't say, can I just say something?
Yes, of course.
Yeah, I know I said this at the beginning, I think as I've done these episodes and the amazing feedback I get from the wood, well I call it the wood-fired oven community, whether they're putting comments on the, on the videos or sending me emails, I just think it's an amazing group of people all over the world, you know. And I think you're doing a fantastic thing,
Aw, thank you
by, with these podcasts of any way to share people's knowledge of the wood-fired oven. I'm learning, like I'm learning every time I use the oven. I'd learned things on your episode with, listening to your episode with Adrian was fantastic.
You know, learning things for that. I'm sure, I'm really looking forward to your episode with Ben,
Yeah, oh me too
because I think he's a master of,
what he does, you know, so I really appreciate you, what you're doing and I appreciate you having me on
Well, thank you so very much,
And I hope, and I hope I answered enough of your questions [laughter]
You did [laughter], and there were a lot of questions, so you did very well. Thank you so much [laughter]
Alright, thanks Mark
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