With certain stable foods, there’s a tendency to stop dreaming up ways to change and modernise. Before we met Flat Earth, that was true of my perception of pizza; I’d got doughy, and settled for a processed product, topped with the same stable ingredients. But now? I can’t go back. Flat Earth, with their dedication to producing high-quality pizzas with purpose, which use locally grown, seasonal ingredients, have ruined other pizzas for me in the best way possible. We spoke about their experience challenging the norm at every stage, and how they’ve transformed East Londoners into true Flat Earthers.
What is Flat Earth Pizza?
Created by Rich Baker and Sarah Brading, Flat Earth creates wild pizzas using local, fermented, and foraged ingredients. Using seasonal veg, we top our organic, heritage grain bases (created using E5 Bakehouse and Gilchester’s flour), to produce delicious pizzas with purpose.
Flat Earth’s values lie in ensuring that the ingredients ooze integrity, creating delicious meat-free pizzas full of goodness. Our menus are completely changed monthly (which is hugely unique) to keep on top of the freshest ingredients, and any ‘off cuts’ are blitzed and transformed into crust dippers. For example, radish leaves are transformed into a rocket, radish & walnut pesto, whilst the pickled purple carrot tops and tails become a sweet carrot jam. It’s our way of ensuring a super low waste food business. Everything is homemade — from the ferments to the passatas.
We offer 100% vegan alternatives to each pizza, as well as collaborating with local dairy-free cheese producers and other makers, picklers and creatives within the local area.
So how did you come up with the idea for Flat Earth Pizzas?
Rich and I dreamt up Flat Earth in our home, a narrowboat cruising up on down Regent’s Canal. London has been the seedbed of inspiration for us both, managing hospitality careers in marketing and operations to a senior level. We both broke free from the corporate life, and continue to challenge convention with our purposeful and experimental pizzas. We’ve embarked on long trips and treks around the world, and delved into the worldly tastes and flavours — lots of eye opening experiences has led us to be open minded and willing to take on what is thrown at us. Creating our own food offering was always the inevitable meeting point between our natural aptitude and personal passions.
So once you had the idea, what was the next stage of the process like?
Generally everyone we spoke to loved our concept and we got a lot of validation early on but it was difficult to get it over the line, so to speak. Rich was really vital at spearheading everything and never lost sight of our end goal of serving inventive wild pizzas to willing people. We had to keep plugging away and then had two opportunities offered to us at the same time! We chose our Hackney residence as felt our concept was more suited to the East London audience. It’s also where we love to be as it’s thriving and full of new businesses.
If you could tell your past-self one thing, looking back, what would it be?
Start sooner and leave no stone unturned. Keep thinking, developing and exploring your concept and don’t worry about what people think. And build a website — as soon as we shifted from a PDF deck to a website for pitching, it changed everything.
What’s something you’re most proud of when it comes to the pizzas you deliver?
The quality of our pizzas is second to none. We use the best ingredients (lots of them are organic) and Rich creates such brilliant flavour combinations that we genuinely have never had a disappointed customer. I also see that our menu challenges our customers to step out of their normal realms of pizza toppings which creates intrigue and memory. I’m proud that Rich and I built — and continue to evolve — Flat Earth together.
What would you want the future of Flat Earth to look like?
Our own premises where we can have a deli element to sell the jams, ferments and pickles that Rich makes. We are building a community for people who are interested in good food that doesn’t cost the earth. The concept will stay the same with monthly changing menus but we’ll also have regular events that spark curiosity and conversation. Flat Earth will be a platform for independent and local growers, picklers, cheese makers and foragers, working together to sustain a wild pizza offer that has depth, conscience and longevity.
Thank you for talking to us! Bringing together food and nature, keeping the needs of the consumer and the planet in mind, makes Flat Eartha key business driving the future of the restaurant business. At Forward Fooding, we are passionate in our belief that entrepreneurship can make a difference in solving some of the biggest issues affecting our current food system, and Flat Earth shows us how being environmentally conscious should never come at the cost of delicious food. If you’d like to learn a little more about Flat Earth, or even taste some of their pizzas for yourself, Visit their website www.flatearthpizzas.com, or follow them on instagram @flatearthpizzas. You can also catch Flat Earth’s residency at The Hive every Thursday — Saturday from 5pm until the end of the year (286–290 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9DA).
If you’d like to see what connections Forward Fooding could offer your start-up, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also add your company to our FMCG trends section on our platform to get free visibility within our corporate and investors’ network here.
Forward Fooding is the world’s first collaborative platform for FoodTech Data Intelligence and Corporate Startup Collaboration. If you enjoyed this article, follow, clap or share and join us in our Food Revolution atForwardFooding.com