Interview with Ooni Co-Founder, Darina Garland

I’m very excited to bring you this one on one interview with Co-Founder of Ooni, Darina Garland. As many of you know from our detailed reviews, the Ooni lineup consistently outperforms competition in terms of innovation, design, and performance.

With five pizza oven models available and a slew of new pizza-making accessories, Ooni offers everything you need to make authentic Neapolitan-style pizza in your backyard. With Spring right around the corner, we thought now is a perfect time to hear more about Ooni.


Stefano: There have been a few new pizza ovens on the market recently. What makes Ooni stand out? 

Darina: Simply, Ooni is the original and best. We created the category of accessible backyard pizza oven in 2011 when Kristian (Founder, CEO) was frustrated that he couldn’t make truly great pizza in our domestic oven. Traditional pizza ovens were bulky, slow to reach temperature and very expensive. We had a small outdoor space but knew we wanted an oven that could fit in anywhere and reach 950˚F which is the temperature that you’d get in a traditional pizzeria oven. Our first Ooni ran on hardwood pellets which means you can have that authentic wood-fired, stone-baked pizza experience with an oven that is the size of a carry on suitcase. This revolutionised pizza making at home. We now have an extensive range of Ooni pizza ovens which are different sizes and run of different fuels.

We are flattered that there are imitation ovens and competitors moving into the space. However, we’re confident that our brand, our global community, consumer and retailer reviews, game-changing innovation and product quality highlights that we’re the world’s number one pizza oven for a reason.

Stefano: After hands-on testing every portable oven, the Ooni Koda is our clear favorite. The L-shaped burner results in a better bake than most torch-style burners. Do you see this burner style becoming more standard in this industry?

Darina: Ah, we love the Ooni Koda 16 too. The L-shaped burner means that you have to turn the pizza less frequently which enables an even slicker cooking experience. We’re proud to be able to shape the future of pizza oven innovation.

Stefano: A few competitors offer commercial models; any plans on branching out from only home/residential products?

Darina: We’re focused on great pizza at home as our North Star but there are a lot of pizza businesses and popups using Ooni products these days too- particularly as we’ve created bigger models. It’s a win/win as it means there are a lot more Ooni pizza ovens visible in the wild and these pizza entrepreneurs love the speed and epic pizza quality Ooni products can deliver.

Stefano: Your products are becoming the de facto standard in portable pizza ovens. In five years, do you see yourself remaining solely in the pizza industry or expanding into more home/kitchen niches?

Darina: We believe that we’re only getting started. The world deserves incredible pizza and that’s our number 1 goal.

Darina Garland from Ooni
Darina and husband, Kristian, with their Ooni Karu.

Stefano: What’s your favorite pizza to make? And which model do you use at home?

Darina: I’m a fan of everything hot so add extra chilies to all my pizzas. I’m also loving making rosemary and garlic pizzas at the moment with lots of rock salt.  I use all the ovens, because of our backyard has the full range, as you can imagine! Recently though I’ve mostly been using Ooni Karu which I love because it’s multi-fueled. I run it mostly using wood and charcoal which gives a dry steady heat and an amazing flavour to the pizzas.

Stefano: Outside of the pizza life, what’s your favorite meal to cook at home?

Darina: Thai Green Curry without a doubt. Like I said, ALL about the chillies;)

Salami, Green Chilli & Olive Pizza

BlackFridayPizza de65ada9 e655 4818 8072

In the spirit of chilies on pizza, check out this awesome recipe from Ooni.

Spicy meets salty-sweet in this fiery pizza, adding a crunchy twist to a Neapolitan-style pizza base with a honey-drizzled crust covered in toasted sesame seeds. Get the full recipe on Ooni’s website.

Written by Derek Gaughan

Derek Gaughan is the Founder and Content Lead for Pala Pizza. 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.

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments