Meet the Doncaster man bringing authentic Naples pizza to his home town?
When Lee Oglen decided Doncaster was lacking an authentic taste of Italy, he took matters into his own hands by launching The Rustic Pizza Co in the town’s revamped Wool Market.
The business, which started as a successful mobile food venture, has been running since May 2017 and lays claim to being one of the only places in Doncaster that people can experience ‘real’ pizza.
Lee, aged 34, of Barnby Dun, said: “Neapolitan pizza originates from Naples, the home of pizza. There are certain ingredients you need to have to make the pizza authentic, the dough is extremely important.
“We prove the dough for between 48 and 72 hours. We use San Marzano tomatoes which are grown on a volcano, Mount Vesuvius, in Italy.
“We use Fior Di Latte cheese, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil which will give you the perfect Margherita.”
It takes just two-and-a-half minutes for a Neapolitan pizza to be ready, from the time it takes to order to the moment it is served. Timing is everything – they are cooked at 485 degrees for 90 seconds – and diners can watch their pizzas reach perfection in a massive oven right in front of them
Neapolitan pizza is made with no oil, which makes it a healthier alternative to the type commonly offered in the UK.
Lee’s passion for cuisine has been a part of his life since he was young; so much so that it drove him to quit his job in the corporate world and focus solely on food.
He has grand plans to travel to Italy later this year and train to become an official Neapolitan pizza chef, learning among the masters. There are currently only five certified Neapolitan pizza chefs in the UK.
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“When we started The Rustic Pizza Co, we wanted it to be proper pizza. Not the normal takeaway pizza. I’ve always been a foodie, we had a pizza oven in the back garden and you could say that’s how this all started. After a lot of practice I realised I could do this, went out and bought a mobile pizza oven and then we started touring.”
The company is also looking to expand in the near future with possible stalls in Barnsley Market and other potential projects on the cards.
Alongside the food, the business has a full bar stocked with popular Italian beer Birra Moretti and Malfy gin, which is ideal for the Wool Market’s late-night openings with live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Gelato – a frozen dessert similar to ice cream – is another favourite at The Rustic Pizza Co, with flavours such as rainbow, Peanutella and cherry Bakewell.
The new Wool Market has only recently opened, but according to Lee business is booming. It took just three weeks to hit the level of custom he thought would take 12 weeks to achieve.
“The reaction we’ve got from the Doncaster public has been amazing, being in the Wool Market is great. I’m from Doncaster, I was born in Doncaster and to be part of this new venture is fantastic,” Lee said.
A standard 10-inch pizza starts at £5 – but of course, an array of toppings can be added to enhance the flavours, the most popular being mushrooms, a great vegetarian choice.
The Rustic Pizza Co is open six days a week. On Tuesday and Wednesday it is open until 3.30pm, Thursday to Saturday until 9pm, and 4pm on Sunday.