27th July 2023
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  • Neapolitan pizza restaurant, Smoke + Ash based in Edgbaston, has been announced as the winner of Birmingham Phoenix’s ‘Fire in Your Belly’ restaurant competition


  • Over 30 local independent restaurants were invited to design their very own ‘Birmingham Phoenix’ dish, celebrating the city’s hospitality scene and showcasing the best the city has to offer


  • 8 local judges formed the judging panel and whittled down the entrants to semi-finalists, Eat Vietnam and Smoke + Ash


  • As part of their win, the winning dish from Smoke + Ash will be served to cricket fans at Birmingham Phoenix’s first home game at Edgbaston Stadium on Saturday 5 August

Named as the ‘most exciting food destination’ for 2023, Birmingham is once again being celebrated for its vibrant hospitality scene following the launch of ‘Fire in your Belly’, a foodie competition launched by Birmingham Phoenix, the city’s home-team of the upcoming ‘The Hundred’ cricket season this summer.

Tapping into the city’s love of food, ‘Fire in Your Belly’ challenged some of the city’s best independent restaurants to design a dish that champions their cuisine and showcases the city through the power of food. Following a competitive 2-stage judging process, including a live taste-test with an 8-strong judging panel, Smoke + Ash was crowned the winner, with their recipe now going on to be served as the hero-dish to cricket fans for the first double-header home game at Edgbaston on Saturday 5 August.

The winning dish, a desi-inspired Neapolitan pizza by Smoke + Ash collectively impressed the local judging panel, comprised of Birmingham Phoenix players Hannah Baker and Katie Levick, journalist Tom Cullen, Farah Chaudry and Rory McGhie owners of Pause Bakery, Breaking Bread podcast hosts Carl Mccaffery and Liam Haughey, alongside local foodie influencer, Laura Bradley at the live semi-finalist taste test in which Smoke + Ash went head-to-head with Eat Vietnam for the final round of the competition.

Paying homage to Birmingham’s melting pot of cuisines, the winning dish, a pizza named ‘Flavours of Birmingham’ drew inspiration from Indian and Pakistani influences and included toppings of roasted curried cauliflower, marinated chickpeas in seven herbs and spices, and Fior de Latte Mozzarella and finished with chilli flakes, fresh coriander and a drizzle of mint yoghurt. 

Alongside being served to cricket fans at the Birmingham Phoenix home game at Edgbaston on Saturday 5 August, the dish will also be available as a limited-edition special at Smoke + Ash from 4 – 11 August.

Husband and wife duo, Paul and Clare Collins, owners of Smoke + Ash, said“We're thrilled to have been invited to be part of this campaign - as a local neighbourhood restaurant catering for the Edgbaston community, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with Birmingham Phoenix and The Hundred.

“We wanted to create a pizza that reflected not just the tastes and backgrounds of our customers but also a dish that demonstrated what Smoke + Ash is all about - simple, honest food and drink done well with a good pinch of creativity. We're super excited about The Hundred being on our doorstop and hopefully we'll get to look after the fans and players before and after the coming home games!”

Hannah Baker, Birmingham Phoenix cricketer, added: “This has been such a great competition to get involved with especially as it is on my home turf. I was so impressed with the quality of the dishes and to see the level of care and thought that has gone into the creation of them.

“Ming at Eat Vietnam and Paul and Clare from Smoke + Ash have really done this city proud, and I just can’t wait to get my hands on a slice of the winning pizza on the day!”

The sporting action begins on Saturday 5 August when Birmingham Phoenix take on Midlands rivals Trent Rockets, with the women’s team getting underway at 2:30pm and the men’s team at 6pm. Three more home fixtures follow in August, all taking place at Edgbaston with under 16s tickets £5 and adults from £18. The opening game has already sold out and tickets are selling fast for the remaining matches, so visitors are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment via The Hundred website:

As well as watching world-class cricket, visitors can enjoy unmissable live performances from exciting breakthrough artists in the UK at each home game, with artists including Kofi Stone, Sophia Saffarian, Ella More and The Clause all set to perform as part of a collaboration with BBC Music Introducing.

Launched in 2021, The Hundred is cricket’s newest innovation, bringing together high-octane cricket with spectacular entertainment. The competition offers visitors a memorable, fun-filled day out with fantastic sport, entertainment, and show-stopping moments to enjoy with family and friends, with tickets available at great value for money.

For more information and to book tickets to catch Birmingham Phoenix in action this summer, please visit

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