CULINARY whizz kids got in on a pizza the action when a Wrexham restaurant was transformed into a classroom for the morning.
As part of its education programme, Pizza Express in the Eagles Meadow shopping centre invited along a group of budding master chefs from Plas Coch Primary School in the town to make their own pizzas.
And the youngsters from year six, aged 10 and 11 who are all soon heading off for secondary school, had a great time preparing and shaping the dough, adding the sauce topping and finally watching their mouth-watering creations emerge piping hot from the oven ready for them to take away.
Robert Williams-Day, who led the pizza making session and has been with Pizza Express for the past five years, said: “We hold quite a few of these demonstrations for schools during the year as part of our education programme and everyone enjoys them.
“They’re useful because they help the children learn where food comes from and how it is prepared.
“They are also a lot of fun because it’s very hands-on and they actually get to prepare their own pizzas and later to eat them.
“I actually wish there had been something like this when I was at school because we enjoy doing them so much.”
When the group of 25 Plas Coch pupils arrived at the restaurant they were kitted out with aprons and caps before being given some top tips on food hygiene by Robert.
He also gave them a potted history of Pizza Express, which he explained was celebrating its 50th anniversary this year after starting out in London back in 1965.
Assisted by the restaurant’s resident pizzaiola – or pizza chef – Mike Ciesla, the youngsters were each handed a chunk of dough which they formed into pizza-shaped pieces before adding a rich tomato sauce and cheese topping.
They then had the thrill of putting their own pizzas in pans ready for Robert and Mike to pop into the super-hot oven at the back of the restaurant which is ready for the perfect bake when it reaches a temperature of 371 degrees C.
Just three minutes later there were plenty of sighs of approval when the finished pizzas emerged.
Amongst those impressed with their sizzling creations was 11-year-old Roisin Ifans, who lives in Wrexham.
Wiping some stray flour away from her face, she said: “I’ve had a great time and I’m really glad I came.
“I have helped make a pizza before when I was on holiday once but this time we’ve done everything from shaping the dough to putting on the topping and getting one ready to go into the oven.
“Actually, I didn’t much like pizzas a few years ago but now it’s one of my favourite foods and it’s great to say I’ve now made my own.”
Next to her at the flour-covered table was her classmate, 11-year-old Cate Davies, also of Wrexham.
She said: “I’ve never made a pizza before – but I have eaten it!
“I think my favourite kind is pepperoni.
“It’s been great doing the pizza because you were allowed to make a bit of a mess.
“Now I know how to do it I might try to make one at home.”
And Noah Clutton, 11, from Wrexham, said: “This was definitely a different kind of lesson and I’ve really had fun making my own pizza.
“I’ve made them at home before when I’ve been on holiday from school but I’ve never done one right from start to finish before.
“I really like pizzas, especially the pepperoni or spicy ones.”
Ysgol Plas Coch’s deputy head, Geraint Jones, who took along the group to Pizza Express, said: “The visit has been really beneficial for the children as it’s taught them about food preparation and hygiene and also about the history of pizzas.
“The session also involved a little maths, just like everything else in life, which was also useful for them.
“It was a fun way for year group to end the term and their time at Plas Coch before they move on to secondary school which for them will be Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham.
“I’d like to thank Pizza Express for inviting us.”