I Got to Preview Ooni's Genius New Pizza Oven Early — And It Has Dual-Zone Heat Control For Simultaneous Cooking

The Koda 2 Max is the brands latest design for all your outdoor kitchen needs. Whether you want to sear some salmon or make your ultimate pizza — this oven has it all

(Image credit: Ooni)

What better way to warm the stomach than with a good old Neapolitan style pizza? It was a rainy day and as I eagerly made my way to Ooni’s Koda 2 Max product launch, I found myself in somewhat of a daydream, which led to me missing my stop. In that moment I thought to myself, ‘could this day get any worse?’ and then my umbrella broke. Just as I was about to have a meltdown, I remembered, ‘ah, freshly baked pizza’. A nice way of reminding myself that I had something to look forward to. The taste of delightful dough, topped with tomato and cheese. The way to my heart and my stomach — but only if it's cooked right! I believe if you want a truly mouth-watering pizza, it has to be cooked in the right oven. Yes, believe it or not, it does make a difference.

It was the thought of pizza that calmed my mind, amid a chaotic day. As I entered the venue, dusting off the specs of rain, thinking that it might dry me off (it did not), and there it was… my eyes deadlocked onto its flames. It was a rather large, yet sleek looking pizza oven. I walked in and also had the pleasure of seeing Chef Gill Meller and Ooni Ambassador, Rich Payne, creating the finest dishes from scratch. Rich rolled the dough to perfection as Gill made a combination of dishes, with flavors that later danced on our tongues.

The menu was exquisite. From saucy scallops to tender steaks — the food was finely crafted into delicate tones and taste. But it wasn’t just the flavors that blew my mind, it was the fact that all those dishes were cooked, sizzled and seared in the Ooni Koda 2 Max. I could not help but gasp at the versatility and brilliance this ‘pizza oven' carried. It’s more than just a pizza oven and honestly, till this day, I can’t stop thinking about it.

For the love of Pizza

Ooni's Koda 2 Max in a backyard with 2 Neapolitan style pizzas

(Image credit: Ooni)

During Ooni's unveiling, Kristian Tapaninaho, Founder and Co-CEO of Ooni, shared his delightful story with everyone in the room. Words which seemed to resonate with many. Kristian tells us: 'I was really getting into making pizzas at home, and while they were pretty good, due to the heat constraints of a domestic kitchen oven - they weren't great. At that time, the only options for pizza ovens were expensive and bulky and we just didn't have the money or space to accommodate one. I saw a gap in the market for a much smaller oven that would reach those super high temperatures needed for truly great pizza'.

He continues: 'I started sketching and developed our first prototype of a portable wood pellet-fired oven and Ooni was born. It's rooted in our deep passion for cooking with fire and that same passion inspires us to keep innovating the home pizza oven category that we created'. A passion for pizza, later turned into the creation of Ooni. The brand first launch in 2012 and has since become a worldwide success.

Dual-zone technology and pizza in just 60 seconds!

A tomato pizza (left), scallops in butter and garlic (M), gooseberry dessert pizza (R) made in the Ooni pizza oven

A fresh tomato pizza (left), scallops in butter and garlic (M), gooseberry dessert pizza (R) made in the Ooni pizza oven

(Image credit: Future/Faiza Saqib)

Now, there were many things that stood out to me about this product, but if I had to choose one element, it would definitely be the fact that you can make two dishes at once in the same oven, at different temperatures! Pretty cool right?

The Koda 2 Max is Ooni's largest pizza ovens yet with a 24" cooking area and I have to mention the best bit, it can cook Neapolitan style pizzas in just 60 seconds! The gas powered pizza oven also has dual-zone technology, so you can cook a steak on one side and you favorite vegetables on the other side. Given the size of the oven, you can also make and bake a 20-inch New York style pizza.

But that's not all. The gas-powered oven has also been fitted with Ooni's G2 Gas Technology. An element which includes two burners with flames for more efficient heat distribution and consistent cooking stone temperature. The ovens digital hub also gives you instant air temperature readings from either side of the oven display — which can now be accessed directly from your phone!

Kristian says the Koda 2 Max, 'has several advancements, including zonal cooking and smartphone connectivity, which offers users extreme flexibility and control. Our goal is to create products to elevate the joy of being together, and the Koda 2 Max enables our community to do this perfectly'.

It's more than just a pizza oven

Rich Payne (left) & Gill Meller (right)

Rich Payne (left) & Gill Meller (right) at the Ooni Koda 2 Max product launch

(Image credit: Future/Faiza Saqib)

When it comes to outdoor kitchens, I believe the tools that it holds need to be versatile, functional, durable and aesthetically pleasing. In order to better understand the product, I asked Gill Meller, an incredible chef, award-winning food writer, food stylist and cookery teacher, what he loves most about the Koda 2 Max. He tells me: 'It’s probably the most versatile Pizza oven I’ve cooked with. I was slow roasting trays of heritage tomatoes with tarragon, garlic and olive oil at 120.c until they were soft and intense, and moments later, after turning up the heat, I was cooking T-bone steaks at a fierce pace'.

He continues: 'They were ready in a matter of minutes and cooked perfectly. It’s an oven that gives the cook a nice level of control. In fact it’s far more reactive than you may think, given its size, and it certainly opens a door to all sorts of exciting dishes, you might not have attempted in a smaller oven. Which makes it just the thing if you’re cooking for a larger group or gathering'.

Ooni ambassador Rich Payne, who often shares his love of pizza on his social media account 'Dough and Behold,' tells me about the first time he got his hands on with an Ooni pizza oven. He says: 'I spent years making average pizza on a clay stone in my home oven, but my first ever bake in my Ooni, was, by no means amazing, but it was still a thousand times better than anything I had ever made before, this blew my mind, I became addicted to the buzz of pulling a steaming hot pizza with puffy crusts out of my Ooni. With each bake I improved a little bit more. Everything I have learned has come from watching YouTube videos online, and making friends and sharing tips on Instagram. With an Ooni oven, for me, it wasn't just about purchasing an oven, it was about becoming part of a whole new community I had no idea existed, a wonderful supportive place, dedicated to simple circles of dough, topped with cheese and tomato!'

And if you're an Ooni fan, you're not alone. Mitch Arnold, a food and cooking enthusiast, who recently got rid of his BBQ tells me, 'I've wanted to get rid of my BBQ and replace it with an Ooni for so long because the Ooni is so much more versatile. Not only can it cook pizzas, but it lets you get creative with cooking other things too. It can reach much hotter temperatures than traditional BBQs due to its compact size so meat and fish cook faster, developing better crust and better flavour quicker. Its size also lends better to apartment living and small balconies'.


What are all the features of the Ooni Koda 2 Max

The Koda 2 Max by Ooni

(Image credit: Ooni)

There are many features to keep your eye out for, these include:

- Supersized 24-inch cooking area

- Cook 2 x 12-inch, 3 x 10-inch, a 20-inch New York-style pizza or bake multiple veggie and meat dishes at once

- Dual-zone cooking with two separate gas burners

- Ooni G2 Gas Technology™ for consistent stone temperatures, one-turn cooking and maximum fuel efficiency

- Digital temperature hub with two digital food probes with Ooni Connect™ functionality for real-time cooking notifications straight to smartphone devices

- Two independent, instant-sparking control dials for precise temperature control and easy, one-touch lighting

- Can reach a top temperature of 500 °C in just 30 minutes and cook Neapolitan style pizzas in just 60 seconds.

- 6 mm-thick removable protective glass visor shield

- Built-in commercial grade stainless steel pizza ledge

- 20mm cordierite cooking surface

- Full-width front and rear aluminium castings

- ¼ʺ thick ceramic fibre insulation

Can I purchase the Koda 2 Max now?

Yes, you can! In fact, the Koda 2 Max by Ooni is currently on sale on its website for $999.

Advice & Gardens Editor

Faiza is the Advice & Gardens Editor at Livingetc. She previously worked for The Independent as a News Feature Writer, where she wrote articles on lifestyle, entertainment, news and more. She also worked as an Audience Editor for the newspaper for over two years. Spending a few years in the newsroom, Faiza also previously worked for Sky News as an SEO reporter, where she produced stories based on trending topics. Lifestyle and Interior design is a space Faiza has been interested in for quite some time and as she continues to grow in the field, she will be diving into an interior design course to further her skills. Faiza has a background in SEO, social media and reporting. Her passion for writing goes beyond her work as she loves all things poetry and creative writing.