The Power and Joy of Collaboration

My dad enjoying some seriously good sourdough.

In 2009 I received a phone call out of the blue from this bloke Warwick Quinton from the Sourdough Baker. At this time I had been building domestic pizza ovens for around 3 years and was having a great deal of fun designing and building different ovens and barbeques for anyone that wanted something different or bespoke.

At this time I had not thought about bread making or purpose built commercial ovens and had no idea what sourdough bread was. After a few conversations by phone and one sit down get together Warwick asked me if I was interested in having a go at building a commercial oven. My immediate reply was yes for sure and I uttered the words which are now commonplace between us “how hard can it be”.

Well it turned out to be exceptionally hard. The first oven we designed together (this one was called Bertha) worked in a fashion. However in my enthusiasm to build the oven I forgot one item, that was any form of  insulation around the oven, you know you have an effective firebox when bread sitting on a table a metre away will scorch. This is all well and good however trying to work the oven was not easy.

So after a quick trip to Newcastle the insulation panels were added and then the oven was more usable however still not a good commercial item.

Next on the list came Bertha 2. In Bertha 2 we tried to rectify all the design faults we had in Bertha 1 and we came closer to having a viable commercial oven however this time the problem was the oven didn’t get up to temperature quick enough.

Throughout this time Warwick and I have become close friends and I reckon we have spent well over a thousand hours on the phone helping Telstras profits, saving the world, solving relationship issues and designing ovens.

After the creation of both of the Bertha ovens Warwick came up with the plan of putting an oven on a trailer. So this is when Luna was designed and created.

Luna was built and designed during a pretty rough time in my life as my father had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and I was spending a lot of time at my parent’s farm helping them and being away from my family. Luna was an escape and my continuous chats with Warwick helped me through.

Unfortunately dad lost his battle with cancer in December 2016 but he got to see Luna working and taste some exceptional  bread straight from the oven whilst sitting outside at the farm watching Warwick bake and telling me not to drink as much in celebration for finally hitting the mark with a commercial oven.

Luna was mounted onto a trailer and the first; well for us anyway mobile bakery was underway. Luna has proven to be a fantastic oven and is a great test bed for new designs we are coming up with. Warwick and I are still collaborating and all of the ovens in the Elemental Baking section of this site are collaborative works.