MAKING THE MOVE TO CORNWALL
PUBLISHED: 16:04 30 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:19 30 August 2017
Entrepreneurs move to Cornwall to live the dream in the UK's most popular county
There are few things more delicious than a wood-fired pizza - and the couple behind Kernowforno can serve up to 50 an hour. CAROL BURNS meets the couple who have made Cornwall work for them
After redundancy, life can feel a little uncertain - but it can be the perfect time to make the leap to living the dream as Simon and Sarah Pryce discovered when they moved to Cornwall to start again.
Cornwall has a reputation as a place where people work to live, not live to work: a theory that belittles the incredible talent and entrepreneurialism that exists here. But many have found that there is a need to diversify in Cornwall. And the Pryces decided to create a business they would really be involved in the doing’ of.
Cornwall has a reputation as a place where people work to live, not live to work: a theory that belittles the incredible talent and entrepreneurialism that exists here
For us it was about creating a business where we could live and work in Cornwall - that was the driver really,’ Sarah tells me. They set up Kernowforno (although we’ve been told it should be Forn Kernow,’ admits Sarah; forn’ meaning oven), their portable pop-up’ pizza business that features a clever wood burning oven and prep marquee in a trailer that can be set up within an hour with the first pizzas following minutes later.
Originally based in Dorset, they moved down here properly’ in the summer of 2013 to Lostwithiel. It’s been really fantastic to be part of the whole community,’ says Sarah.
Simon is a keen sailor, and both are members of their local sailing club. Simon also works as a volunteer for the RNLI which employed him in Dorset. Sarah’s background is in human resources and she now works with a couple of charities focusing on leadership development and coaching when not serving. Simon is also now a qualified woodsman, a great winter job when (if) demand for Kernowforno drops off; already they have embraced the Cornish entrepreneurial spirit.
Their wood-fired oven heats to around 450c top and 320c on the floor - although Simon’s son got the temperature up to 600c and invented his 40-second pizza (not to be attempted!).
Alongside events, pop-ups and festivals, Kernowforno can be hired for parties and weddings - and will alter their menu to suit.
I think we have come into this at the right time,’ says Sarah of their first months in business. People seem to be really embracing festival style food and entertainment.’
The pizza dough is handmade ready for the oven - it is then hand rolled, topped and cooked on site fresh to order. The toppings include many local ingredients - meats from their local butcher in Lostwithiel and salami from the Deli Farm Charcuterie are among their favourites.
We believe really good food can be really quick and really affordable so we want to make it accessible to people.
We want to get the right balance between local ingredients and keeping the price affordable,’ explains Sarah. We believe really good food can be really quick and really affordable so we want to make it accessible to people.
With the toppings we try to be quite authentic,’ Sarah tells me as Simon cooks up a classic pizza margherita. The first event we did was at our sailing club - and someone said “it was very nice but you should have brought pineapple”. We thought it was very 1970s, but the next time we took one and everybody went for it - and it remains one of our best sellers!’
Sarah’s favourite is their roast chicken, sundried tomatoes on a pesto base, while Simon favours the salami. The salami is so good, that’s what makes that one,’ he’s says. Another favourite is the roasted butternut squash with pine nuts and goat’s cheese - which has had great feedback, Even from dyed in the wool carnivores,’ adds Simon. Their full English’ on a pizza has also proved a success, as has their pulled pork pizza, including crackling and the meatball bonanza with baby mozzarella is.
But perhaps the most important ingredient is the laid back style of the chef and his assistant. People congregate around the oven to watch it, there’s something very hypnotic about watching the oven,’ says Sarah. We have worked really collaboratively with other businesses trying to promote them and them trying to promote us in return. Social media has been particularly useful.’
Great fun is had in coming up with special menus for events. For weddings the bride and groom lead the way with a Mr and Mrs Pizza - which has the bride’s favourite toppings on one half and the groom’s favourite on the other half. The men always go for the meat feasts,’ jokes Simon. For pudding try their desert pizzas: chocolate and banana or apple crumble pizzas with a dollop of clotted cream. There’s also their strawberry pizza with balsamic.
People down here are so creative - I love Cornwall for that. We are surrounded by creative people and it think it’s wonderful,’ says Sarah.