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Miss SA Finalist Grabs a Pizza the Action.

Twenty-six year old Lisa Stofella, who hails from Margate in KwaZulu Natal, but now lives in Johannesburg, found out that she was a Miss South Africa 2019 finalist on the same day that she opened her own pizzeria in Randburg. In between a hectic schedule that is part of the Top 16 finalists lead up to the Miss SA pageant on Friday, August 9, Lisa foud some time to answer a few questions about her new business. What is the name of your pizzeria? It is called O’ver Pizza. In local Neapolitan dialect ‘O’ver’ is a used to refer to a person, place or thing as legitimate, true, the real deal. In English we would say ‘for real’. In this case, it refers to the authenticity of the pizza we serve and the genuine passion to share this experience with people in Joburg; giving customers a taste of something totally different than the current offerings. Where can Joburgers find O'ver Pizza? The shop is just outside the new Food Lover’s Market at Brightwater Commons on Republic road – where the Randburg Waterfront used to be. You can also find us at the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein on Saturdays. How many pizzas are on the menu? The menu currently features seven pizzas. The aim is to keep it simple with a little something to suit every taste. We have the classics - the traditional staples that never change such as Margerita, Diavola, Ortolana (mixed vegetables) and the Calzone (fold-over) and then our signatures, where we have more room to experiment with a fusion of Italian and South African flavors such as the La Messicana (chicken, avo and sour cream), Meat Lover and Short Rib (pulled beef & caramelised onions) . The signatures will change periodically depending on what ingredients are in season and what we feel our customers are asking for. Also, the meats we use are all Halaal so everyone can enjoy the pizza they really want.

What led you to open a pizzeria? For two reasons. Firstly a love of pizza and a strong entrepreneurial drive to put my financial management degree to work on something I am passionate about. Heart and mind is my approach to all things. And secondly - having spent some time in Naples recently opened me up to the differences between pizza in Italy and South Africa; I wanted to bring that degree of dedication to the craft back home. Working with my partners, who are themselves Italian and equally passionate about making Neapolitan pizza, I was able to leverage my background and understanding of the local market to put out a product that is equal parts authentic to its origins and appreciative of its current locale. Is it true that you opened your pizza on the same day you found out you were going to be a Miss South Africa finalist. Yes! June 27 is definitely a day for the books now! In one day I realised two of my biggest lifelong dreams – launching my first project and qualifiying for the finals of Miss SA. I can’t even begin to describe how overcome with joy I was in that moment. After many attempts at starting my own business and my second try for Miss SA, this has surely been a life lesson for me to keep striving towards my dreams; never give up, never compromise. Believe in yourself and in the merit of your hard work to help you achieve your goals.

What is your favorite pizza? I’m a purist, I’ll always go for the Margherita, it’s the best way to measure a pizzeria. The simplicity of the ingredients on a Margherita allows the technique and quality of the pizza to shine through. If you have a Margherita and it’s good, you know this is the place to come back to again and again. I love how laid back it is as a pizza -  just the highest quality Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella finished with EVOO and basil on a good base…it’s all about that base. It should be very light, airy yet still maintain that trademark crunch when you bite into the crust. It’s the perfect explosion of flavors with every mouthful. Is there any topping you don’t eat on a pizza? Seafood on a pizza, I’m definitely not a fan. Thick or thin base? Thin base always. I love when you can bite into a pizza and get a slight crunch that then dissolves in your mouth, like a cloud. I also prefer the rich flavour you get from a naturally leavened dough and stone-ground flour…like we do at O’ver. Does the establishment have a website? We are a digital first brand for sure, but we’re currently working hard on launching our website. But at the moment you can find us on Facebook and especially Instagram where we post most of our updates and share a look behind the scenes of a food start-up. Our handle is @OverPizzaJHB. We’re also about to launch a delivery service via UberEats and Mr.D Food.

Lets chat Miss SA 2019 Pageant.... The Miss South Africa pageant – with host Bonang Matheba – takes place on Women’s Day, Friday, August 9, at Sun International’s flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria and will be broadcast live on both M-Net and Mzanzi Magic. This year members of the public can vote for their favourite contestant on the Miss South Africa website. The winner of the People’s Choice will automatically make it to the Top 10 on pageant night. There is close to R3 million in prize money and sponsorships for this year’s glittering pageant, with the winner walking away with R1 million in cash as well as other fabulous prizes. The runner-up takes home R250 000 in cash, and all 16 finalists will receive R25 000. Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International and the LFP Group.

Tickets for this year’s pageant are on sale at Computicket Miss South Africa

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