A Milltimber pizza business has been chosen as a finalist in this year’s Scottish Italian Awards.
Firemill Pizza and Grill, run by Ruth Thomas, battled it out with other Scottish pizzerias earlier this week in a cook-off with the aim of topping the best pizza award category.
Ruth started her business last year out of a converted trailer perched on her home driveway.
She prides herself on using authentic Italian ingredients in her pizzas, inspired by her time spent in Tuscany with her family.
In the last year, Firemill has quickly gone from strength to strength and Ruth said she was delighted to have made it through when we spoke to her ahead of the cook-off final in Glasgow.
“I’m very thankful to have been given this opportunity,” said Ruth.
“We’re the only north-east business that managed to get through to the final. I hope we do Aberdeen and the north-east proud.
“I’m pretty nervous, but I’m also really excited.”
Firemill was successfully selected for the award nomination through public votes on social media.
“I’d actually noticed the awards on Facebook and I decided to have a quick look and see what it was all about,” said Ruth.
“I only had five days before the closing date for the public votes. I thought I’d never get enough in time, but I entered anyway.
“A few people obviously did vote and it was a wonderful thing to enter something like this through public votes.”
Twenty-five businesses in total made it through to this week’s cook-off final with the aim of impressing the judging panel, which included celebrity chef Aldo Zilli.
Each had to prepare a margherita alongside a signature pizza of their choice. Ruth hoped her autumnal pumpkin ‘nduja with added chestnut and truffle would hit the spot.
“I’m hoping to make something that stands out to the judges,” said Ruth.
“The prep I’m doing at home is just to hone my pizza flavours.”
Passion for pizza
Ruth will find out whether she did enough to seal the top spot at the Scottish Italian Awards gala dinner and awards ceremony on Sunday November 28.
But whatever happens, the new skills and confidence gained from the experience is something Ruth hopes to continue to take forward in her business.
“I’m going down there to learn, as much as to try and win,” she said.
“I’ve always been very passionate about giving people the best possible product using good, quality ingredients with traditional techniques.
“I think (the award nomination) speaks to how much effort I put into the cooking side of the business – it’s not just about making money.”
What does Ruth plan to do if she seals the award win?
“Scream with joy!” she laughs.