Young British Foodie Awards: London street food heats part II
So on Sunday I told you all about the first four of the eight nominated street food traders, who were judged outside the Tate Britain a few weeks ago. Today, I give you the final four.
Tonight will be a big celebration for those who will be crowned as this year’s Young British Foodies, and perhaps a disappointing one for others who miss out on prizes. Either way, any nominees should be happy knowing that they made it this far in a tough competition.
Good luck, everyone…
Founders: Hannah Lovett and Marcello Sandoval
Story: Latin American inspired street food business run by a couple who have been together for 10 years after meeting through a friend. Quit their jobs – Hannah was a glassmaker and waitress, Marcy was a chef – in late 2014. Marcy, whose parents are from Chile, has been playing around in the kitchen developing flavours, but they have not travelled there together. Traded at Altrincham Market last year and are now at Spinningfields street food court in Manchester. “It’s been really hard, but we thought about why we’ve done this and going back to work is a no no.”
Best thing about the job: “We love what we do. And we want to travel!”
Menu: Chicharones (fried pork skin, dehydrated parsnip, with guacamole infused with paprika, salt, Scotch Bonnet chillies) / Mango, green papaya and toasted coconut salad / Wild mushroom and quinoa croquettas with lemon mayo / Slow cooked beef shin and tomato empanadas / Choripan – “like a posh chorizo sandwich from South America” – with chorizo and free range egg. “We are selling a lot of empanadas. We try to buy organic as much as possible.”
Future plans: “We desperately need a van! We might go on six-month ‘pilgrimage’ to South America to get lots of ideas.”
Judging comments: ‘Lovely crunchy fruit coming through in this salad… Golly, you want the whole package… The quality is really up from last year.’ On the croquettas: “I’m going to well up. It’s so delicate, the balance is great, it’s beautiful.”
Founders: Sinead Campbell and Lee Johnson
Story: Johnson, who was born in the Philippines, says he and Sinead, his girlfriend of a few years, “take what we love of the Philippines and make it our own. And occasionally we get people singing karaoke too!” BBQ Dreamz started eight months ago, and trades with KERB and Street Feast Dalston Yard which they say “is good as you have to have people wanting to be experimental and trying new food.” Before starting the business, Campbell studied fine art, while Johnson managed restaurants, including St John and Mayfields in Hackney, and both loved cooking for friends in their spare time.
Best thing about the job: Says Johnson: “We love doing our own thing. And I love offal… and karaoke! We also love to promote sharing food.”
Menu: All dishes are designed for two people minimum, and have been adapted for the grill. Includes: pork belly and duck hearts / adobo (seafood and meat marinated marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic) / lemongrass and ox heart.
Future plans: “We are keen to get a campervan… We’re going to the Philippines together this winter… at some point we would like to open a restaurant. Dublin would be where I’d go as there is still lots of space there, especially if we get in early.”
Judging comments: “It’s intriguing… It’s very good… Good flavours… It’s very restaurant-style. Love the karaoke!”
WALLACE & SONS
Founder: John Wallace
Story: After being a chef for 12 years in Ireland, Leeds and Manchester, latterly for Simon Rogan, Wallace quit his job to go full time in February 2015. “I wanted to do Japanese food in the north-west as I didn’t see anyone else doing it., especially not gyoza. I’ve grown up with very buttery French food but this is lighter and better for you – it’s almost like a reaction to French food.” Wallace calls his food “my twist on on Japanese dishes – I haven’t been out there, that’s why it’s not 100% authentic.”
Best thing about the job: “I’m not stuck in a room for 70-80 hours so I get to see my family.”
Menu: Slow cooked flat iron steak / Japchae (gluten free sweet potato vermicelli noodles with toasted sesame seeds, pickles and soy sauce, and shiitake mushrooms pickled in soy sauce and sherry vinegar / duck or hickory smoked tofu gyoza dumplings.
Future plans: “It would be a big commitment to get bricks and mortar. I’d like to grow my own Korean perilla leaves because if you grow them big enough you can stuff them. It would be good if I could do that every summer.”
Judging comments: “It’s very light… I like the mushrooms very much. That herb sounds intriguing…”
Founders: Nadia and Nick Stokes
Story: Nadia, who used to be a lawyer, which she found “soul destroying”, has always loved food, having grown up with a vineyard. Originally from Cyprus, her family are refugees and she grew up “with conflict and very basic ingredients, such as kohlrabi and wheat berry.” She and her husband, who used to be a teacher, left their jobs to start Gourmet Goat a year ago, based around the idea of using kid goat which they say has a “super light flavour.” They were offered a stall at Borough Market, and haven’t looked back since. “I’m really emotionally connected to the food,” says Nadia.
Best thing about the job: Nadia: “We always wanted to work for ourselves and not be governed by red tape. And we are very passionate about the business.” Nick: I like that during the school holidays the kids come and try stuff. It’s been a challenge but we’re on the right track.”
Menu: Kid goat meat kofta in a Greek pitta bread, with tzatziki and fresh chilli salsa / wheatberry, pomegranate and kohlrabi salads. “The wraps are from Greece because they are the best… the tzatziki we make with sorrel. I looked at using other Greek yoghurt but this is the very best. The Israeli hot sauce we make using caraway, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh chillies…”
Future plans: “We want to expand to other markets, and we’ve had a lot of interest from overseas too.”
Judging comments: “Wow, those koftes are so light and fluffy… I’d like to buy some of this wheatberry myself, too. Where can I get it…? This food is lively. It’s great.”