Pala Pizza launched at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with the goal of being the #1 resource for outdoor pizza ovens. Since 2020, I reviewed over 40 portable pizza ovens, helped thousands of interested buyers, and developed tons of recipes (and ate tons of pizza).

I also recently started a Youtube channel where we will be creating quick video reviews of each pizza oven which supplement our in-depth articles.

Testing Methodology

The difference between my reviews and the other “review” websites out there is that I get my hands on the actual product before writing about it, rather than just re-hashing the manufacturer specs.

I hand-test three different styles of pizzas in each oven – New York, Neapolitan, and Detroit. This test is increasingly important among portable ovens because those with lower max heat tend to work better for one style than another.

I then test the ovens to review performance while comparing it to features, cost, and competition. Every review comes with a preheat test which measures the stone temperature at 5-minute intervals. This is important for understanding how long it takes to heat an oven, estimated fuel consumption, and how well it retains heat.

Once it’s complete, I use a custom-made spreadsheet to grade the pizza oven (scale of 0-5) based on performance to cost ratio, features, and quality.

Meet the Team

testing temperature of bertello pizza oven

Derek Gaughan, Owner / Founder

Derek Gaughan is the Founder and Content Lead for Pala Pizza. What started as a hobby with the launch of the first Ooni oven quickly became an obsession. He’s been featured in PMQ Magazine, The Washington Post, and Home & Gardens. Derek holds an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and is a trained pizzaiolo, specializing in New York style, Neapolitan, and Detroit pizzas. When he’s not making creative (and sometimes weird) pizzas, he’s mountain biking to counteract the diet.


Stefano Velia, Lead Editor

Stefano is a retired pizza chef and the primary editor for Pala Pizza. The better part of his life was spent in front of 900 degree ovens, which is where he obtained over 30 years of experience with Neapolitan pizza.

Originally trained in Italy, Stefano brings an authentic flare to Pala Pizza and also works as a professional pizza consultant in the Tri-State area.