Bread Stone Ovens Customer Profile: South Shore Ovenworks
Chef and entrepreneur Jim Chaddock can often be found at events around his hometown in Beverly Shores, Indiana. You might find him making pizza in one of his mobile wood-fired oven trucks or you could see him performing onstage as part of the evening’s entertainment.
He wears two hats – the company owner of South Shore Ovenworks and the blues-folk musician – that Chaddock says have more in common than you might think. Both are about self-expression and making something uniquely your own.
“You can learn all the Beatles songs and the music that touches you, but then when you play it, it doesn’t sound the same because that part of you comes out and makes a difference and you make it yours,” Chaddock said. “And being a chef is the same exact way. I’m not inventing pizza. You can learn traditional techniques and then you come home to your own truck and get to put yourself into it.”
Chaddock commutes to downtown Chicago where he works as a chef at Eataly, an Italian marketplace that – among other things – prepares and serves pizza in keeping with Old World traditions. While he appreciates all he has learned, making the pizzas of South Shore Ovenworks unique is key to Chaddock’s business.
His signature pizzas represent Beverly Shores, a lakeside community on the border of Indiana and Michigan. A summer offering, Sausage and Cherry, features Michigan cherries, while his Emerald City pie highlights Indiana sweet corn (the “yellow brick road” of the pizza) alongside bacon and sweet basil.
Chaddock has been a mobile pizza caterer in Beverly Shores since 2010 and founded South Shore Ovenworks in 2016. He currently operates three trucks and serves customers at farm markets, boutique festivals and private events. His focus on allowing his personal touch to shine through on his pizza extends to the kind of wood-fired oven he uses.
“If you have the hands to make artisanal pizza, you want an oven that will show it in the best light,” he said.
After discontent with previous ovens, Chaddock was looking to purchase a new one in 2013 but didn’t want to buy without trying it first. He found the Four Grand Mere product through his online research and flew to Baltimore, where Bread Stone Ovens owner Antoine Cantarel was living at the time. Cantarel fired up his personal oven and they made a pizza together. After that, Chaddock had found his new oven.
In addition to its versatility (the corn on the Emerald City pizza is charred in the oven too, for example), quality workmanship and affordability, Chaddock says this personal touch from Antoine is significant.
“When I need something, it’s Antoine who answers the phone. This personal relationship is something you can’t put a price on as a small business owner in this day and age,” Chaddock said.
Chaddock continues to look for ways to grow and enhance his business. He is experimenting with offering wood-fired bagels that would open him up to new events, as well as offering purer ingredients, such as non-GMO flour and antibiotic-free sausage. His focus remains on keeping the offering unique.
“In this small community, we are looking to do something that really separates ourselves from the other pizza and food trucks in the area,” he said.
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