This week, Domino’s is launching an exclusive range the Victorian market suitably named the ‘Melbourne Range’ with new taste-bud tantalizing pizzas on the menu. Domino’s Global Development Chef, Stefaan Codron, has expertly crafted this new range of pizzas specifically for the people of Victoria.
But anyone can create a pizza, I have even eaten a fried rice and baked bean pizza (courtesy of my father many years ago), and believe me, it was not nice.
I sat down with Stefaan to discuss his pizza making background and the new range of Domino’s pizzas about to launch in Victoria.
It didn’t take me long to figure out Stefaan wasn’t going to be developing flavours anything like my father had.
Stefaan’s career history is impressive and vast. Born and raised in Belgium, Stefaan studied and completed his four year Hotel School training before doing his probation period all around France in three star Michelin’s. On his arrival in Melbourne he worked for the Grand Hyatt where he managed Max’s restaurant.
“I started my career through the Hyatt chain around the world, and travelled extensively. It was absolutely amazing. I have a lot of ‘luggage’, good luggage, with all the experiences that I have picked up, I don’t want to lose that luggage,” said Stefaan.
“One day I started working for Mitchells Quality Foods, they do Lean Cuisine, and I started to develop their food before a friend suggested I do this job with Domino’s Pizza. I applied and three days later I had the job, eight years later… I develop all the food for Dominoes, the pizza, the sides and desserts.”
Stefaan has worked hard to change the flavours and face of Domino’s since he has been with the company.
“It has been a very long journey, because eight years ago we started looking at all the products that we had and, it wasn’t very nice. So we created a whole new range of beautiful products – we really concentrated on the quality of our products. You can’t make good pizzas if you don’t have quality ingredients.
“It all starts with a small idea and it doesn’t really matter where the idea comes from, we develop it and see if it has ‘legs’. Then we turn it into a beautiful pizza and it goes from there.
“We have worked very hard to create a product that is 100 per cent free of artificial colours and flavours in everything we do – that’s standard. Any manufacturer who wants to bake or deliver something to us needs to fall within these categories – there is nothing artificial in our product anymore.”
While the flavour, service and quality of ingredients in the pizzas is of the utmost importance so is looking out for the needs of those with food intolerances.
“We have a separate menu for people who are gluten intolerant, and it makes their choice very easy. We say that these bases are gluten friendly; we can’t call them completely gluten free as we have flour particles in the air. Also, more and more, you see people choosing gluten free as a health alternative. The gluten friendly base is very beautiful, nice and crispy, a little bit nutty and it doesn’t taste like ground up rice.”
Having a gluten intolerant member of my family, I am always really happy to hear that there are people and companies who understand the terms ‘gluten free’, ‘gluten friendly’ and ‘not suitable for those with ‘coeliac disease’ – there is a big difference.
But why a different range of pizzas for the Victorians? Aren’t pizzas the same, or similar, Australia wide?
“Melbourne has a vastly different pizza culture to the rest of Australia and we wanted to introduce a special range for pizza lovers.
“It is more difficult to penetrate (the market) in Melbourne for the simple fact pizza history started here. The pizzas here in Melbourne are totally different to the rest of Australia, because they have that Italian base of people that have their own little local store, the mama and papa pizza, beautiful pizza.
“Melbourne has such a diverse community of people, it only seemed natural that we would introduce a pizza line with a diverse range of flavours. We really looked at how we could make our range more adaptive to the Melbourne population. We want them to eat our pizzas with fresh new ingredients such as the Spicy Tandoori pizza and think to themselves – ‘This Is Melbourne!’” Stefaan said.
“We went to about 150 different restaurants, had a pizza, looked at it, found out what was the most popular and then came up with a range of five.”
The new range comprises of – Veggie-Supreme, The Lot, Capricciosa, Tandoori and Aussie. My choice of pizza flavour has always been The Lot, but I have also been quite partial to a vegetarian pizza. I have always steered clear of pizza with ‘non-traditional’ toppings but after speaking to Stefaan about their new Tandoori Chicken pizza I am excited to give it a try.
“We came up with our own recipe – the tomato base is tandoori spiced so the whole tomato is flavoured like a tandoori sauce and then we have beautiful seasoned chicken that goes on top of that. It is very colourful and tastes just like tandoori chicken with just the right amount of spice. When we tested it with other people, it was the second most popular after ‘The Lot’,” said Stefaan.
“These new pizzas are full of fresh ingredients and flavour with something in the range that will appeal to everyone.”
I have just downloaded the app and can’t wait for my first delivery of some of the new Domino’s range of pizza, and, call me a big kid, but I can’t wait to track it’s cooking time and delivery too!