A Manchester restaurant owner has stunned fans of his critically acclaimed pizzas by admitting that they were bought frozen from a local supermarket.
Gary Newborough used the pre-prepared pizzas at the launch of his new restaurant, La Pizzeria Ristorante, in the fashionable Northern Quarter of the city.
Around 100 food journalists and bloggers were invited to enjoy a "taste of Italy" and a "pizza with a real difference" at the launch event, where they sang the praises of the free tasters, reported the Daily Mail.
It wasn't until a note was passed among guests later in the evening that it was revealed the food was actually Dr Oetker pizzas bought from the freezer of a nearby high street store for just £2.78 each.
Newborough said he served up supermarket pizzas in a bid to get people talking, adding: "We wanted to see if they could tell the difference between freshly cooked pizzas and frozen ones from stores. Evidently people didn't know the difference and were taken in because they loved it so much.
"Unfortunately some people at the launch were a little cross when they found out we were serving frozen supermarket pizzas.
"But they weren't complaining when it was free and they were going through 36 bottles of sparkling wine that I laid on. It was just a bit of fun and it didn't cost anybody anything to try it. I just liked the idea of doing something that nobody has ever done before."
Floor manager Chris Alexander said: "Cooking frozen pizza is harder than it looks. The bases need to be crispy and they need to be cooked right each time, so it can sometimes be a little tricky.
"In terms of service and value we can definitely compete with the restaurants around here. It doesn't matter that the secret's out, that would defeat the object. We want to show that you can't tell the difference between the Dr Oetker Ristorante pizzas and proper restaurant meals.
"At the launch most people were complimentary about the taste but we had a few who were a little angry because they felt they had been victims of a prank."
In an unexpected twist, the restaurant said it will continue to serve up the frozen pizzas until 7 September.