We love Leeds — we’ve been responsible for finding the best new traders to fill the esteemed floors of Trinity Kitchen since the very beginning, and we’ve seen it evolve into the full-on boulevarding food city that it is now, constantly renewing and refreshing. Home of its own Independent Food and Drink Academy, for goodness sake. That’s why we held the finals of the British Street Food Awards in Leeds in 2014. And last year we held the Northern heats here — combining with the brilliant Waterfront Festival down on Leeds Dock. In 2017 we went back. Bigger. Better. And a just a little bit later.
The Yorkshire Post were all over it. So were Look North and BBC Radio Leeds. We had one heck of a judging panel. Gaynor Faye, actress from Emmerdale and British Street Food stalwart; Phil Kirby, the editor of The Culture Vulture; Paul Dunphy and Darren Williams, presenters on BBC Radio Leeds; Masterchef semi-finalist and Leeds restaurateur Liz Cottam; and Tara Harris, the editor of the Yorkshire Food Guide. Keeping order and doing the washing up was Richard Johnson, the founder of the British Street Food Awards. This is how their voting went:
1. Tikk’s Thai
2. Ruby’s Street Kitchen
3. Chaat Cart
4. Little Red Food Truck
And in the People’s Choice:
1. Dim Sum Su
2. Tikk’s Thai
3. Pizza Loco
4. Steak Out
5. Ruby’s Street Kitchen
Both winners now go to the finals of the British Street Food Awards, and – if they win – the inaugural European Street Food Awards in Berlin.
So here’s the event page, and here’s the full list of runners and riders:
Tikk’s Thai Kitchen
Born on the paradise white island of Koh Samui in Southern Thailand, the young Tikk loved nothing more than helping out in the family restaurant kitchen, preparing the food and learning traditional techniques along the way. After school, Tikk set out to work in his cousin’s beach resort, cooking (of course) and catching fish on the family boat. He has long since left the turquoise waters of Thailand behind, but he’s still obsessive about locally-sourced ingredients. After meeting his English wife Nikki (although for PR purposes they answer to Tikk and Nikk), the couple settled in Yorkshire, and since 2013 have been running “Tikk’s Thai Fridays” — a home-cooked take away experience like no other!
Dim Sum Su
Sue Chiu-Fan Lee was born in Hong Kong and worked in the family food business as soon as she was old enough to reach the till. She’s now all grown up, and cooking authentic dim sum, gua bao, wontons and spring rolls for discerning customers in the North West of England – exactly the same way her family did back home. The queues for Sue’s bao were impenetrable at last year’s final. This year, she’s after silverware.
The Blue Caribou Canteen
Blue Caribou are all about bringing authentic poutine ¬– crispy fries topped with cheese curds (bit like halloumi), then subjected to a deep, meaty gravy – from Canada to British shores. Thank you, Commonwealth. Good poutine is hard to find in the UK, which means Blue Caribou source several of their ingredients from the other side of the Atlantic. ‘We’ve eaten poutine for years’ say Graham and Vincent. ‘Every kind that you can imagine. From fast food to fine dining. When we returned to the UK, poutine was nowhere to be found. So, we set out on a journey to lovingly craft the Canadian soul food dish, with a dash of British style.’
The great Yorkshire steak sandwich from Leeds’ own Steak Out crew is something to salivate over. The 28 day-beef is sourced locally from Sykes House Farm, with toasted brioche rolls from Gilchrist Bakers in Leeds, and a choice of toppings — from The Texan to The Eiffel and The Monster! All available with crispy skin-on seasoned fries! Can’t choose? For the Awards weekend only why not try three of your favourites as sliders?
With 35 years in the hospitality industry, Philip is as veteran a chef as they come. He and son Louis have been channelling all that experience into the humble chip for the past couple of years. The results are like an elevated version of what you’d stagger home with at 3am on a Saturday morning. ‘We are constantly trying new ingredients and flavours to create toppings,’ say Philip and Louis. ‘From classics such as pulled pork and coleslaw to experiments like kid meat goat curry with mango salsa. We keep the food fresh and exciting with seasonal and local produce.’
Mr D’s Magnificent Pie Machine
Mr D is looking forward to bringing his Pie Machine to Leeds Dock. And what a machine it is — think Steampunk meets Willy Wonka and Wallace & Gromit. Mr D is always keen to offer samples to the curious. But one occasion, a lady muscled in on a tasting session, grabbed the sample on offer and just shoved it straight into her mouth. “I offered the steak pie to the remaining samplers” remembers Mr D, “stating what it was. The sample bandit immediately spat it out, in a dramatic and somewhat un-lady like fashion. It transpired something was lost in her translation of Yorkshire and thought I was selling… SNAKE pie.”
The Baking Biker
The stuff The Baking Biker comes up with is just plain filthy. During Mr and Mrs Baking Biker’s Trinity Kitchen pitch, they revealed the Creme Scotch Egg – boulder-like clumps of chocolate encasing a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, looking a bit like a well-poached hen’s egg. People flocked from Nottingham just to try it. Then they created the ‘Nutter Butter’ cookie dough ice cream with Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter, and chocolate. Word is it’s a special invention ahead of the Awards. Strewth.
Little Red Food Truck
From the team behind Sela – who are a Leeds institution – Little Red is cooking up calzones on the Dock. With dipping pots of Parmesan Cream. All served from one of the cutest trucks in the business. Set to win big this year?
Prime Street Food is a mash-up of Scottish and Swedish flavours – a brand new food truck serving fresh, restaurant quality food such as hand cut chips with bearnaise sauce and sourdough brioche with fusion cooked pork and pumpkin seed coleslaw. “We have over 25 years catering experience working in nine different countries” says Scott Gibson. “And we’re serious about competing in the British Street Food Awards. We couldn’t make the Scotland heats, so we’re driving down to compete in Leeds. Can’t wait!”.
The Pickled Porker trade from the Pig Shed. It’s a one-off – part Basque cider house and part Yorkshire pub – and a place where you can sit down and enjoy Yorkshire craft ciders with low and slow meats on brioche, or a Yorkshire tapas board with two or three dishes to share. Not that you’ll be doing a lot of sharing. With cider-glazed Yorkshire chorizo and fennel seeds on the menu, and cider-braised pork cheeks with rosemary and white bean smash, why on earth would you?
We didn’t think we would see Chaat Cart again. Nope. After five years selling South Indian snacks and small plates across the streets of the North, they’ve just opened their first bricks and mortar place in Marple. And (in the same way that the magnificent Beastro and The Moocher left the streets when they went legit) we worried Chaat Cart would do the same. So we were delighted to get an application for the 2017 British Street Food Awards. What to expect for their Awards menu? Indian classics such as bhel puri, gunpowder fries, homestyle lentil dahl and masala dosa that champion British produce.
There is pizza (the pizza you order on a Friday when you’re too tired to cook or pick up out of your supermarket’s freezer) and then there’s pizza. The real stuff, out of a wood-fired oven, served with a bottle of something cold, overlooking the Bay of Naples. Oh, and then there’s the kind of pizza that comes out of a steam train. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pizza Loco. From Leeds. Italian on the bottom, Yorkshire on’t top.
Ruby’s Street Kitchen
Ruby’s are very, very new on the scene. So new that their website’s only half built. But they’re already turning some heads. And their heavily personalised take on the street food of Mumbai is one of the freshest interpretations out there. Better still, they’re among the friendliest people you’ll meet. ‘To be honest we don’t like long hectic food lines,’ they say. ‘We get so sad that we can’t spend enough time with each customer.’
Once the hatch opens, team KerbEdge flip the best burgers this side of the Atlantic. Their words, not ours (but we hear people say as much whenever we book Cyril the H van into Trinity Kitchen). But how will their handmade burgers (using chuck steak mince from locally reared Limousin cattle supplied by Riverside Butchers of Stamford Bridge) stand up against the opposition at the British Street Food Awards? Check ‘em out.