The Name Game

06.07.2011 - Richard Johnson

When drinking tequila, tradition dictates that the first toast is salud (health). The second is amor (love). The third is dinero (money). If you get to the third toast, that is. By that time, in all honesty, you will have formed your own mariachi band. And started to toast the curtains. Which is why tequila is a difficult drink to sell to a sophisticated, metropolitan crowd.

Mexican food however – a much easier sell. Which is why Wahaca’s street kitchen, located in Canary Wharf’s Canada Square Park for the whole summer, will be a huge success. No boys in sombreros. No girls in shot belts. Just good, affordable food. But it will certainly help matters that they’re throwing open their hatches for the first time with a festival of free burritos.

Tommi Miers from Wahaca (a judge at last years British Street Food Awards) is the latest big name chef to take her ‘brand’ out to a new audience. Jamie Oliver already has his ice cream van. Jun Tanaka has his Airstream. Tom Colicchio from Top Chef is rolling out sandwich carts to San Francisco and Las Vegas. And Danny Meyer is cooking up hotdogs in a New York park. Clearly, there’s money in street food — even if you’ve got your bricks and mortar already.

Housed in a 1958 Citroen HY van, the Wahaca street kitchen is the first to be equipped with its own robata grill (which promises to give a proper flame-grilled flavour to the burritos and tacos they’ll be serving). The van will be moving on after the summer, to the most popular location chosen by Wahaca fans on twitter and facebook. Times they are changing…….

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