Seems like only yesterday that we kicked off the Rocketboy story and the view from the kitchen has been one I have greatly enjoyed!
We wanted to see how far a pizza business could go in terms of trying to be more ethical and we wanted to bring better and healthier food to the takeaway pizza market.
‘Prawns Go Wild’
In terms of what gave us the extra confidence to fully embrace this direction, we have to give huge thanks to Matthew Evans AKA ‘The Gourmet Farmer’. Calling us up back in late 2013, Matthew got us involved in his campaign to steer businesses and consumers away from imported seafood like the prawns we had been using at the time. Having agreed to be a part of this process, we soon learnt of the destruction this industry is causing and to say Matthew had our attention would be an understatement. We are creating barren sea beds around South East Asia by ‘bottom trawling’ to make prawn feed, destroying the mangroves and their eco-system for their farms and eating suspect chemicals added to the water to satisfy our desire for this once luxury – and apparently healthy.
So the seed was sown and a spark was lit. For me personally as the Head of Product I thought about all the products we use and how we would blindly call our supplier as we did with prawns and bought whatever they would have on offer. None of us really understood the implications of making these “cost effective” purchase decisions, but with the help of Matthew, we can now be more responsible for the consequences.
I spent time at the fish markets and spoke with sustainable fisheries around Australia to pull off the change to Northern Territory MSC certified Wild Aussie prawns. I was hooked into this exciting new side to life at work, and luckily my partners were all on board to make the change and do something different. Bottom line, a tastier prawn with no baggage just had to be done!
Rocketboy on TV!!
It has to be said though that having done all this, you kind of expect this groundswell of goodwill and the phone to be ‘off the hook’ all of a sudden, and then you remember that it’s just a small – if not important – incremental improvement that you make all the time on your business. You start to ponder ‘man it’s still a chicken we are eating…it’s not like we just all went Vegan and solved global warming!’. Then finally in late 2014 Matthew’s Doco ‘What’s the Catch’ aired on SBS and BANG for a week there it felt like we had done something special!! The power of TV and a compelling story that really caught people’s attention hit home and we felt buoyed by what was surely our highlight of the year!
Check out Episode 1 of ‘What’s the Catch’ HERE!
‘Dough that’s Better for You’
Whilst we had a lot of other changes going on last year, like switching to Hunter Valley Olive Oils and Vinegars instead of imports, from San Pellegrino to Australian Alps Water and making way more of our products fresh and in house daily, the main other product change I have to mention was the massive operation of introducing a ‘Cold Fermentation’ step to our dough, which I just love! This has seen us make our regular and wholemeal spelt doughs at least 24 hours in advance to let them develop in the fridge for this extended time. The result is a dough that has fully developed in terms of the yeast development and the effect is a super light, tasty and what you might not realise, an easily digestible dough too! So if you ever wondered why a Rocketboy pizza leaves you feeling so much better than other pizzas you’ve had, this will be a big part of it. There’s a bit of food science we could all delve into but perhaps that’s for another post and it’s time to wrap up this trip down memory lane. Safe to say that this improvement and many other changes have pleasantly punctuated my year in the Kitchen at Rocketboy and made my job so much more interesting and challenging too!
Growing up on a small livestock farm with abundant organic vegetables to boot, I guess my roots were in this journey but having wet my appetite in this first year as Rocketboy, the challenge is set for year two to see what else we can bring to your table!
Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who has supported us on this journey so far – I’ll be sure to keep you posted!