Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Meet the north-east pizza business with family at its core

Haydn's Woodfired Pizza all set up for crowds at the recent Turriff Show.
Haydn's Woodfired Pizza all set up for crowds at the recent Turriff Show.

For some people, the thought of working with family is a no-go – but this isn’t the case for Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza.

Owned by Robert Fenton and assisted by his wife Deborah, as well as various other friends and family, at a range of catering events, family is the recipe for success behind this north-east pizza business.

It’s been running since 2017 and Robert has more than 15 years of catering experience working with pizzas – a food that he still hasn’t gotten sick of yet!

Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza owner Robert Fenton making pizzas for the show crowd.

Favourites like margherita and pepperoni always work a treat. But the business also thrives upon customising its toppings for a wide range of events.

But above all, for self-confessed chatty man Robert, it is undoubtedly the social aspect of running the pizza business that he enjoys the most.

Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza owner, Robert Fenton.

We talked to Robert to find out more about Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza:

Tell us about yourself

My wife Deborah and I had our son Hayden when we were relatively young. He has been our core focus for a number of years.

I didn’t study at college or university; I just went straight to work to support the family and landed a job at an old food shop in Aberdeen called P H D. It was well known here before a lot of the big-name pizza chains came into the city.

Haydn’s Woodfired Pizzas are all freshly prepared with ’00’ flour.

I worked there for a few years, learned how to make pizzas and that all started when I was 17.

Then I ended up moving on to Domino’s, who had just started in Aberdeen at the time, and worked there for around 14 or 15 years.

I went from trainee all the way to regional manager running five stores by the end of my time there. That’s when I started my own pizza business.

Tomato sauce base.

What made you want to start your own business?

Towards the end of my time working as an area manager with Domino’s, I was kind of fed up. It was a big company and didn’t like the corporate vibe of it all, really.

So, I was looking for something a bit smaller that I could do myself.

Rob adding the all-important toppings.

I liked the idea of street food and spent a bit of time researching it. I ended up meeting a guy down in Rotherham who was doing a lot of private catering with his pizza business, which I liked the look of.

For somebody who already knows how to make pizzas, I was blown away by how straightforward it was. I felt like this was something that was right for me. It made me feel confident that this is what I’d be happy doing.

Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza has been running since 2017.

When did it all begin?

It was just over five years ago. There actually weren’t that many places doing pizza street food in the north-east when we first started out, so that made us stand out at the time.

Trying to come up with a name was one of the biggest challenges for me and my wife! I wanted something more personal to us, so it’s actually our son’s name we’ve used – just spelt a little differently.

Team effort is key at Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza.

What’s been some of the challenges you’ve faced?

Working from a really busy pizza chain to running my own business, I think I overestimated a few things initially.

One of them was how much we could do by ourselves, and another was the demand for our food as well.

The woodfired pizza oven working its magic.

I had to change tactic from solely aiming for the big public events, which we sometimes still do, to smaller scale local events catering to small towns and villages, as well as weddings and parties.

Now, my wife volunteers her time quite regularly and I also have friends who are eager to chip in, as well as other family members like my brother and sister. I’m lucky to have a pool of folk who are all quite happy to help out.

Tell us all about your pizzas.

Handmade dough, freshly prepared toppings, cooked to order – that’s pretty much it! The most popular pizzas are our margherita and pepperoni, which I guess is what the majority of pizza businesses would say.

But we also do things like chipotle BBQ chicken pizzas which do really well.

Rustic Pizza, topped with black olives and rocket.

We also do a halloumi and veg pizza with a bit of sweet chilli which is really nice. They’re the four most popular pizzas we sell at events.

Each event we do can be customised. If it’s a private event, I’d usually give clients a list of 20 different pizzas, then they choose four that they would like on the day.

It’s really just what suits the occasion.

Slices of delight.

Veggie and vegan pizzas are really easy to make up as the dough is already vegan anyway, but gluten-free can be a little bit tricky sometimes with cross contamination of flours. We also offer sides like gourmet garlic breads which work really well.

What is it about a woodfired oven that works so well for pizzas?

The temperature of the oven is a lot hotter than a domestic oven. The pizzas are cooked at a very high heat. One of the things you have to ensure is that the dough is suitable for cooking at that heat.

Wood prepped for the pizza ovens at a busy event day.

It normally has a higher moisture content and the flour is a lot finer – called ’00’ flour – and that means it can survive the process quite comfortably.

You get that slightly smoky texture and char from a woodfired oven that you can’t get elsewhere.

What do you enjoy most about running Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza?

You actually speak to a lot of people running a street food business. I’m a really chatty guy and I love speaking to people, whether it’s customers, event organisers, other food vendors, you name it.

Cheesy pizza heaven.

That social aspect is what I really like and enjoy about the business. I don’t know if that’s what I thought it’d be like when I started it, but it’s definitely what I love most about it now.

After spending so many years working with pizzas, are you still not sick of them yet?

Surprisingly no! I still have pizzas quite regularly. It’s still something I’d occasionally order when I’m out for a meal – I’m not totally sick of them yet.

Too good to resist.

Future plans?

In the short term, I want to aim for a more substantial setup – whether that’s a van or larger food truck that could set me up to do more events.

But maybe in the long term within the next 10 years, I would love to have a permanent shop where I could sell our pizzas from with a restaurant atmosphere, as well as the catering on the side.

To find out more, visit Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza online.