Spreading the Coals – Day 12

The oven with the coals spread

As one of the pizza chefs, I have the responsibility of closing down my station and making sure all is back to rights at the end of the night. Wiping pans, cleaning boards and wrapping things. Another thing I have to do is spread the hot coals in the pizza oven. At 10pm the station is closed down and finally no one can order anything else. The andirons get pulled out of the coals, shoved to the other side, then the coals get spread.

The oven, when up to it’s best temp, is around 700 degrees on the right hand side, and ranging from 600-680 on the left. So even though the fire has died down, it’s still pretty darn hot.

Long pole in hand I shove the andirons over and sweep the coals across the bottom of the oven to keep the stones hot over night before being started up again the next morning. It’s hot and hard. Actually, it’s not as hard as tossing the almond wood into the fire, considering I’m short, the opening of the oven is at chest level and I don’t have upper body strength. I feel very unequipped to toss the wood in, and more often than not, I miss and have to readjust the wood with one of the poles. It’s not my idea of fun. It’s actually quite exhausting.


But seeing the coals burning bright red, crackling and swept across the stone is rather lovely. Plus it also means my night is almost over.


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