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PHOTOS: Young Chef Buys £600 Rotting Horse Trailer On Gumtree, Transforms It Into Mobile Pizzeria With Wood-Fired Oven

Tom Will, 20, of Wiltshire, devoted two years, a wealth of imagination and considerable financial savvy into building his business in a horse box

A young chef who bought a rotting old horse trailer for £600 on Gumtree devoted two years and a wealth of imagination to converting it into a booming mobile pizzeria where he cooks up hundreds of delicious dishes each day in its wood-fired oven.

Tom Will, 20, dreamed of cooking professionally after a youth spent eating freshly fished salmon from his family’s farm in Nantlle, North Wales.

Refusing to let soaring business overheads hold him back, he combined his culinary skills with his financial savvy and some wacky ideas to become an entrepreneur at the tender age of 18, when he launched Will’s Pizza Revolution in March 2020.

Starting out based in hotel car parks, outside pubs and at private functions around his home in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, he now serves up more than 200 pizzas each weekend, with extraordinary toppings such as onion bhaji, saying: “This is a pizza revolution, so it’s only right that we should experiment!

“I had not made many pizzas before I started the business – maybe around 50 in my whole life for family and friends.”

He added: “But people seemed to love my pizzas and my business kept growing and growing.

“Within weeks I went from making 40 pizzas over the weekend to 200 a day.

“This does not feel like a job at all to me. I’m so passionate about what I do and I want to keep improving and see where my business can go.”

Tom, who is in a relationship, was a year into culinary school at Bath College in August 2019, when he had the mad idea to buy himself a van to cook in, after being inspired by the food he saw at festivals.

His vision was so clear that, aged just 16, he invested all his savings from weekend shifts at a cafe to buy himself a £600 1970s horse box on the classified advertising website  Gumtree.

Despite his purchase being in a poor state of repair and covered in horse manure, Tom felt confident he could transform it and launch a brand new business from it.

He said: “I went to quite a few food festivals and music festivals, where there were vans and caterers and it always interested me.

“I think the atmosphere at these places is always electric and I wanted to be a part of it.”

He added: “It was a lot of money for me, but it was something I just wanted to do.

“I blew my budget three times over, but I’m happy with my decision.”

As he had little experience of DIY, he sought help from his dad, RAF technician Jaime Will, 50, at weekends, when they would spend up to 13 hours a day chopping, welding, and building together.

And the dynamic duo transformed the old trailer by stripping it out and fitting it with lights, electrics and eventually a wood-fired pizza oven, where Tom can bake his amazing offerings in just over a minute in temperatures nearing 500 C.

It took two years of hard graft, but the results were superb and far cheaper than investing in a bricks and mortar business.

Reflecting on the many hours invested in creating the souped-up trailer, Tom said: “We spent from 7am until around 8pm at night working on it.

“Dad being in the military helped, as he’s extremely disciplined and good at working early in the morning. It was really good fun, too.

“I had zero experience in this kind of work, so I had to learn as we went along.”

He added: “I feel very lucky to have been able to spend so much time with dad just working together.

“And I’m very grateful, as without his help, I would probably still have a horse trailer full of poo.”

Excited to get his business up and running, his hopes were quickly deflated when his first event was sadly cancelled in March 2020 after the country was locked down due to the Covid pandemic.

But Tom used the time to train up and suss out his market.

He said: “I started making deliveries myself in my area in Wiltshire.

“It just kept getting more and more popular. I was just doing 30 pizzas a day at this stage.”

He added: “Then it went berserk. We ended up going to a nearby hotel to use their car park.”

Now Will’s Pizza Revolution has become so popular that he travels up to 60 miles to set up his mobile pizzeria and demand is so high it sees him working nearly every day.

Regularly changing his menu to keep the creative spark going, he is not afraid to test the waters with some more audacious pizzas, although he admitted the classic double pepperoni remains a firm favourite – which he tops with a drizzle of hot honey.

Tom said: “I just love experimenting with pizzas, it would be boring otherwise.”

He added: “We’re trying to have a couple of pizza options that are quite out there – things people can try for the first time.

“You have the classics like margherita and pepperoni.”

He added: “But this is a pizza revolution and needs to be exciting!”

Some of Tom’s more unconventional toppings include rump steak and blue cheese, with prices for his pizzas ranging from £9.50 to £12.50.

Breaking with tradition at every corner, Tom proves his dough for 24 hours and likes a thin and crispy crust, saying: “We do a very thin base, because that’s how I like it.

“I personally like to focus on the toppings more.”

“And I think my customers love them.”

Tom’s commitment to his craft has been rewarded, not just by earning back his total investment in the first nine months of business, but also by winning Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Wiltshire Life Awards in March this year.

He said: “It’s been a chaotic couple of years for people in hospitality, but I’m so excited about my decision to start this business and I’m going from strength to strength.

“It’s going better than I could have imagined.”

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m rarely happy or proud of what I’ve done.

“But when I wake up in the morning and I’m off to an event, I look at it my van and think, Dad and I, we’ve done a great job.

For more information go to @pizza_revolution on Instagram.

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