May 22, 2024

Top TV chef Chris inspires young pizza entrepreneurs in Gwynedd

A popular TV chef has been giving tips to a group of enterprising teenagers who are setting up a pizza making business

The budding entrepreneurs are regulars at Cellb, the innovative community arts complex based at the former police station in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Chris “Flamebaster” Roberts conducted a workshop teaching them the finer points of making dough and adding toppings.

Their new venture, Pizza ‘Stiniog, is based in a converted shipping container that’s been kitted out with three pizza ovens.

Chris went to Cellb with his fellow presenters, stand-up comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean television presenter Alun Williams, from the S4C series, Alun, Chris a Kiri yn Seland Newydd (Alun, Chris and Kiri in New Zealand) when they drive more than 1,000 miles from Queenstown in south island to Auckland, the country’s biggest city in the north, carrying out various challenges along the way.

The series was made by Caernarfon based television production company, Cwmni Da, who have a long-standing relationship with Cellb, having screened a number of premieres there in recent years, including the latest one starring Chris, Kiri and Alun.

The presenters’ visit to the pioneering project proved a real inspiration for the three would-be pizza makers, all pupils at Ysgol y Moelwyn.

Chris said: “They’ve got an amazing set-up with three pizza ovens, two small and one large, and they are capable of making pizzas very quickly so they maximise the number they can cook and serve.

“The lads are very keen and we had a workshop where they made the dough and rolled them out and added the toppings and cooked them.

“We made some Margherita pizzas to start and then we added some pepperoni and herbs and they were epic,” he said.

Chris, who lives in Caernarfon, added the Cellb garden has planted herbs like basil, thyme and parsley which although are currently out of season will be very useful during the summer.

During the workshop, another group of youngsters filmed Chris at work.

“Once they get going they’re hoping to film themselves cooking and posting their videos online to attract customers. It’s a great idea and it worked for me!” said Chris.

According to Carys Thomas, head of Food and Nutrition at Ysgol y Moelwyn the boys were “buzzing” after their workshop.

“They said it was an amazing experience and they all want to do it again,” she said.

Noa Hughes, aged 14, said: “I love Chris’ programmes and getting the chance to get tips from a famous chef here (at Cellb) was great.”

Jac Roberts, also 14,  added: “It was a mega experience getting tips from top chef Chris. He’s banging.”

Rhys Roberts, a key figure at Cellb and a former Anweledig and Sibrydion band member said the workshops put on by Chris, Kiri and Alun had gone down well.

He said: “Cellb has developed a range of activities inside the building. We have created a cinema in the old cells, a cafe as well as a performing space in what used to be the town’s magistrates court.

“We also have a large area outside and here we’ve created areas specifically for young people. It’s called Iard Clinc and in addition to the raised beds where we grow herbs and vegetables and the old garage where police vehicles were kept there are two large shipping containers.

“The garage has been soundproofed and provides a safe location for youngsters to rehearse and record their music through the medium of the Welsh.

“The new pizza kitchen has been created in one of the containers and we hope to secure funding to set up a cookery school.

“We were really grateful to Chris for coming along to run a pizza workshop. The youngsters learned a lot and the pizzas they made were delicious.

“Alun led a presentation workshop and Aneurin Thomas, one of Cwmni Da producers ran a filming course which was very useful for the young people. In May Kiri will be returning to Cellb to lead a performing workshop.

“We were also pleased to have the opportunity to premiere the new show. Not many films are made in the Welsh language and we are always keen to showcase such films,” added Rhys.

The pizza workshops were part funded by a Playworks Holiday Project Grant from Gwynedd Council.

The three-part series ‘Alun, Chris a Kiri yn Seland Newydd’ is on S4C on Wednesday nights until May 1.It is also available for streaming on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other platforms. English subtitles are available.