Alan Watts was studying in Carlton, Melbourne, when the nation's first pizzeria opened, and half a century later he still has a passion for pizza.
So much so that the former ceramics teacher has spent his retirement travelling the country conducting wood-fired oven building workshops to allow others to perfect their pizza-making skills.
Now living on the Far South Coast, he's headed home to host two workshops - one at Jamberoo Valley Farm this weekend and another further south at Broulee Public School on September 21-22.
"In my youth no-one had even heard of pizza, it was only in the early 1960s when I was a student in Carlton that the first pizza shop in the whole country opened," Mr Watts said.
He said more and more people were making their own pizzas - many in their own backyard pizza ovens.
Which is why when he retired from his position as head of the ceramics department at the National Institute of the Arts, at the Australian National University, he decided to put his practical training into good use.
"Over my career I'd built numerous ceramic kilns so it wasn't much of a leap to build an oven for pizza," he said.
"And it's not just a pizza oven - it's a wood-fired oven that not only produces fantastic pizzas, but beautiful breads and roasts and even desserts.
"Basically anything you can cook in a normal electric or gas oven you can cook in a wood-fired oven.
"The real beauty of it though is that the heat is retained in the thick masonry of the oven allowing food to be cooked evenly, plus you get a lovely smoky flavour and a slight charring of the edges."
Mr Watts has run more than 100 workshops where participants are involved in the building of two ovens. One oven is made of conventional, high quality fire bricks and refractory castable cement and the other from low-cost readily available materials such as clay sand and stone dust.
"Wood-fired ovens are not difficult to make but a lot of people want to get some tips on design, on materials, on temperature control and oven operation as well as some cooking tips - all that is provided over the two days," he said.
"It allows participants to see that they can make their own ovens at a fraction of the cost of store-bought ovens or the kits that are available."
Most participants go on to build their own backyard oven.
"It's a very social thing to have a wood-fired oven in the backyard - like barbecues, people like to stand around them while food is cooking," Mr Watts said.
"People like to be engaged in the cooking of their own pizzas, or other meals, and that warm glow remains even after the food is finished."
For further details visit woodfiredovenworkshops.com.