More – than – Pizza
Meet Well Kneaded. A social enterprise changing the world with pizza.
Written by Ed Vickers
What’s the story?
Bridget set up Well Kneaded with her friend Bryony in 2011. She had been doing youth work on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea and was seeing that most of the young people she was meeting needed job opportunities rather than one-off projects or short-term help.
They bought a vintage van, had a pizza oven installed in it, got a pitch on Falcon Rd and began trading, selling a delicious and healthy form of sourdough pizza which they called ‘the Firebread’, with seasonal, British, organic ingredients.
Carl joined soon after that, followed by Chris. Bridge and I got married in 2013, which was when I got involved. Since then we’ve developed our food skills and our people skills, made a lot of pizza and driven a lot of miles, and picked up a few more team members along the way. We’ve made plenty of mistakes and seen some totally wonderful moments.
This summer, in partnership with our friends at FAST, we piloted a 3-month internship for people to get a taste of the different things WK involves, which has been great! We are hoping to open a shop next year, and Bridget and I are expecting a baby at some point round about now!
What’s the dream?
Rearing our own pigs (which we would feed our veg offcuts to and then make into charcuterie) and planting a vineyard.
Family. It seems that this has gently become a core part of the culture of Well Kneaded and is something that has made a huge difference in the years so far. Perhaps this is because hierarchy and discipline have a different meaning within family, shaped by unconditionality, belonging and value for the person-each-of-us-was-made-to-be. It also seems that if you make a work environment nourishing for people, there is a knock-on effect on other ambitions, hobbies, home life that come with it. We have been massively inspired in all this by Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries and I cannot recommend his book Tattoos on the Heart enough if you want to read a much more well-formed thesis on all this. He has such a beautiful understanding of how to bring people together.
The dream alongside all this is to make pizzas that bring together something of the pure, abundant good-ness of food in southern Italy and the imagination and dynamism of American street food, especially the West Coast. I’m hoping that our food comes to have something of the surpassingness of these places, where food can be a great experience but simultaneously totally normal and, conversely, where food is not restricted by norms or memes or trends… and I would love to be excellently and imaginatively sustainable (see pigs reference above).
How can we get behind you?
Come and say hi- we’re at different markets in London during the week (see our website or instagram); we would love to cook you a pizza. If and when the shop opens, again, come and stop by for some food or a drink and get to know the team. And chip in to the conversation on family, employment, social enterprise, pizza, menus, different types of sheep’s cheese, vintage vans, sustainability or bad jokes- so much richer as a community effort!
Sock of Choice?
If you’re asking about Jollie socks in particular, I have some green and yellow striped ones with pink heel and toe. They remind me of the Manchester United away kit c. 1995. In a time of life when I don’t take socks for granted, these are the absolute workhorse of my collection. They are easily located and thus paired, robustly made and cheerful. I have an odd Mr Happy sock (lost the counterpart shortly after Christmas) that I’m fond of too.
Check them out > www.wellkneadedfood.com