A couple who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic decided to turn a difficult situation into a brand new start,setting up their very own pizza truck business using an old Morrisons delivery van.
Before coronavirus broke out, Adrian Hardwicke, 53, was a tour guide, while his partner Giancarlo 'Gianni' Vatteroni, 50, worked as a head chef in a restaurant.
However, as the devastating effects of the pandemic set in, the couple both ended up losing their jobs.
Understandably 'upset' by their job losses, and with their respective industries both looking rocky for the foreseeable, Adrian and Gianni knew they needed to come up with an alternate idea.
Drawing on Gianni's background as a chef - and a youth spent working at his parents' pizza restaurant in Italy - they decided to take an old Morrisons van and turn it into a food truck.
Adrian, from Shooter's Hill, south east London, told LADbible: "Gianni was made redundant and very upset. He set up the restaurant, but after Covid they couldn't pay him.
"I was put on furlough but with no end in sight we just couldn't manage to live.
"We decided on the truck because it wouldn't be affected by lockdown.
"Our original idea was to travel around different areas 'the pizza van's here'! But our council doesn't allow this."
The duo bought the van and ordered an Italian wood fired pizza oven to go in it, ready to fire out pizzas, pizzette and farinata for their local community as Pizza Squad.
Adrian continued: "Gianni is a great fusion chef who worked with Peter Gordon, Anna Hansen and Sam Clark.
"He was born and raised in Italy and his first job was in his parents' pizza place, so it's in his blood.
"We got a government new business loan, found someone in Croydon who did mainly ice cream vans, but pizza van was his hobby. We ordered a wood fired pizza oven from Italy made to go in a van and the back was fitted as a kitchen around it. Not bad for an old Morrisons delivery van."
Adrian tweeted about their new venture the day before they launched, saying he felt both nervous and excited.
I am beyond excited (and nervous). My partner and myself both lost our jobs in lockdown. He's a chef, so we got an old Morrisons van and kitted it out with a wood fired pizza oven! Tomorrow we start at our local market and can't wait to serve our community. Wish me luck !- Adrian 3.5% now. (@toptourguideuk) November 24, 2020
And it seemed as though he had the people behind him, as not only did the post rack up more than 92,000 likes, he also said support in general has been incredible.
"The reaction has been amazing," Adrian said.
"We do pizzette and farinata at lunchtimes. Pizzette are smaller boat shaped pizzas great for eating on the go.
"Farinata is a delicious baked chickpea pancake, popular in Tuscany/Liguria, where Gianni comes from. It's vegan, gluten and dairy free. "
The van is currently situated at Woolwich Market, but Adrian and Gianni hope to one day travel further afield with their new business.
Adrian added: "In the future we want to travel around with the van reaching out to communities, especially people who are isolated or have mental health problems so people don't have to buy a pizza they can come for a chat, or a pizza making lesson!"
Follow Pizza Squad on Twitter.
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