Andy Hamm grew up on the border of Italy and from his youngest years was ‘obsessed’ with pizza. He migrated to New Zealand in the early 2000’s where to his surprise he found it impossible to purchase a genuine Italian-style pizza.
That started him on a course in life, firstly building pizza ovens and then later recreating the woodfired pizza experience in New Zealand through food trucks and two Auckland restaurants: one in Titirangi and one in Dominion Road.
Andy and his partner in life and business, Katie, live on ten acres in Karekare. Much of their produce is sourced from the ten-acre block: windfall manuka fires the oven. Tomatoes when in season. Abundant basil and fresh herbs. And Andy’s favourite: Spanish Roja garlic. A small species with intense flavour that powers Stumpy’s pizza sauce.
“You put one toe in a pot of sauce and it changes the flavour,” he enthuses. “I never thought growing garlic would be a thing for me. It’s so cheap to buy. But Spanish garlic is a complete different level.”
Making pizza is a labour of love for Andy. He was born with one arm but is still one of the fastest pizza makers in the business. He is a master of simplicity in ingredients and specifically sources local ingredients that he can’t produce himself: flour a small mill in Otago. New Zealand mozzarella sits alongside Italian water buffalo cheese. And a sourdough starter kicks off each batch of pizza dough, matured for several days to create a nutty flavour and also, incidentally, easier to digest for those with sensitive stomach.
As for the sauce? The recipe is a secret. “The secret is that there is not a lot to it,” says Andy with a smile.
Visit Stumpy’s at Street Feast in Titirangi Village. Dine in or order online at www.streetfeast.co.nz