A man from Maribor has succeeded in London with pizza and bread

About two decades ago, when Rene Streghar was actively involved in figure skating and was also in the Slovenian national team, he put a professional camera on his helmet here and there, and thus began to get acquainted with photography and photography. When he stopped competing due to an injury, he focused on selling the equipment and clothing that came with snowboarding.

Join the online store in Maribor A classic shop with surfing gear and apparel, short-lived. Today, he said, “we have been pioneers in this field and perhaps for this reason, in addition to the fact that Maribor is simply too small for such a narrow niche trade, it has not worked.”

Somehow at that time he also appeared in the Slovenian surfing movie EHHH! And then in cooperation with Niko Polyanski Making another movie about surfing the white fields Shut up! The boys filmed several commercials, and our interlocutor, being somewhat spontaneous and spontaneous, acquired more and more skills that transformed his career into video production and photography.

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A forgotten recipe from Anita Omar

And so, seven years ago, when life took him to the British capital, as a photographer, photographer and editor with Jose Prado, he founded JRVisuals. Many things are created under the auspices of this company: also advertisements, documentaries, many projects related to food in one way or another.

“Once a year we prepare, you might say, a charitable project. Something to score for the soul, and something to help someone along the way. When we were looking for such a story some time ago, I thought about it Anito Schumer, which is becoming more and more famous due to bread with yeast. Three years ago, we came to Slovenia for three days and made a 12-minute movie called The Forgotten Recipe ”, says Rene Streghar about the film, which won many awards at different festivals.

And this is the time when he probably got to know the yeast himself? “Actually no. I have always loved to cook,” he explains and adds – not without pride – that it is his best friend Journey Zephyrwho with his wife Maja created the featured blog Jernej Kitchen.

“Jernej began researching and writing about yeast nearly a decade ago.” Of course, he also tried to “cultivate” his yeast, and of course it did not work. “At first, I was a little scared, I respected brewing,” he says, noting along the way that he got to know another form—the one that leads to beer.

Donuts, entrees, pizza!

But let’s put that aside for today and focus on yeast. “First year in London I tasted a donut at a bakery that specializes in yeast bread. Amazing! Then I got mum yeast from a friend who was on a baking cycle like this and that’s how it started. Since then, I’ve been baking once or twice a week.”

So Renee Strgar has been hanging out with yeast for a few years. He bakes bread and pizza at home and in his spare time. Since times require food photography and posting, and because our interviewer does it really well due to his many years of experience, his pizza was quickly noticed by others. “I was contacted by Ooni, which also makes popular pizza ovens in our country. They chose me as a tester and sent me my first oven,” he explains.

Note: A beta tester is someone who tests a product in the final stage of development, i.e. just before the start of regular production. This allows the manufacturer to fine-tune and polish the last details before the kiln moves on to the first customers. Well, he continues, “this oven changed my view of pizza.” Simple: Great pizza only needs a high temperature to bake to perfection, and you can’t achieve that with a regular kitchen oven.

Hell and painted from home

So the first furnace was in a London apartment. More precisely: on the balcony, where even now, in all these years, there have been about 15. There is not just one, but from various manufacturers, who quickly noticed that the Maribor man knows what he’s doing. “So I baked pizza and invited friends. They complimented them, but … who wouldn’t praise you if you came to get a free pizza baked by a friend?” smiles the interlocutor.

So the quarantine came. Work from home. The unbridled search for recipes on the Internet. Cooking blogs. “I had more time to try, checked different recipes and flours, and researched the ingredients. I also baked during lockdown and, of course, took pictures, and even videos, at home,” continues Renee Strgar.

Pizzas were made on Fridays, and since he could no longer host friends due to restrictions, he posted a notice on his group’s bulletin board that he baked pizza on Fridays and that neighbors could get it for free if they wished. Then, of course, when he films and shoots them: “Any neighbors I didn’t know until then called me and grabbed pizza. They were thrilled and shared everything on their Instagram. The sound traveled fast through London.”

Meanwhile, we forgot to blog about it, our interviewer created Rene’s Pizza Place, an extension of his website and namesake corner on Instagram. This was one indication of how popular pizza was, especially if it was photographed or photographed, as it is in style. “One shot, a very simple shot of the counter on which he brought the pizza dough, reached 250,000 views in a short time,” he said.

And so everything was ready for a real pizzeria: a web corner with nearly 12,000 followers on Instagram today. We can already say that it is somewhat unusual, because mostly they opened their first pizzeria and then moved online with it.

Finally: Rani’s Pizza

Meanwhile, about halfway through, Rene Strgar asked himself to create a popup when his Instagram profile reached 6,000 followers. “In collaboration with the local pub and breweries, we have set up several pop-up events and restaurants for a certain period of time. The responses were amazing as the events sold out instantly. And that was my motivation to take it a step further.”

A step forward is being taken these days, with their first pizzeria opening in southeast London. In fact, you’ll work a few days a week, more on the weekends, attached to one of the local pubs, where it’s all about handcrafted beer.

“We will be baking in two ovens from the British company Gozney. The focus will be on the best Italian, local and British ingredients as well. It is based on what I trust and what I stand for,” says Renee Strgar, who wants to add another product to the offer over time. Made from yeast.

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Photos by Renee Strgar / JR Visuals

Spilla Angel

Journalist and Kranjčanka. I love the Gornjiska Hills and the writer Isabel Allende. During the day I write, take pictures and cook, and in the evening I read (cookbooks).

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