This year they take place on September 26-28 — in the gracious, architectural Millennium Square, slap bang in the heart of Leeds. It’s the right place for history to happen. Street food used to be a cool, skinny-trousered thing that you only found in the coolest parts of East London. Not any more. On this sceptered isle of ours, it’s everywhere. In last year’s British Street Food Awards, the prize for Best Street Food Collective went to Bristol – and the Best Street Food Event went to Birmingham. Which is why, for the 2014 British Street Food Awards, supported by Trinity Kitchen, we wanted to make sure we reflected the truly national nature of what’s going on out there. So, for the first time, we’ve been holding regional heats, with the winner (determined by a public vote on the new British Street Food app) getting a Golden Ticket — a guaranteed place to compete in the finals in Leeds.
The finals – that have become an end-of-season institution since the Awards were founded back in 2009 – will also showcase the very best street food talent from across the entire European continent. Last year, the judges invited the top traders from Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin to come and compete. And they went away with plenty silverware. But this year, we’re joining forces with the brand spanking new festival For The Love Of Food. The end result will be the biggest (and best) street food carnival the world has ever seen. The traders will still be cooking up a storm to win the public’s vote in the British Street Food Awards. But they’ll be doing it alongside street food crazy golf, artists at work, vintage caravans on ‘the Yorkshire village green’, robot making, demos with celebrity chefs and street food big wigs, reggae sound systems, live reviews of the newspapers from top journalists at the Independent on Sunday, and one truly AMAZING live music performance…
Entrance to ‘For The Love Of Food’ will include free beer, ‘intercepted’ fruit smoothies, and unlimited vibes. The street food masters – travelling from as far afield as Stockholm, Stuttgart and Stonebeck Down – will all be doing exclusives to try and impress you. Peacocking it’s called. All YOU need to do is plan the best means of attack, and then vote for your winner. The traders have already been through six regional heats. Al James at the Cauldron, for instance, won the West and Wales heat with his ‘nose to tail’ menu. Every Wednesday he works his way through a whole hog, salting, brining, smoking, mincing, curing and cooking to make sure none of the animal goes to waste. At the Awards, he’ll be parked up next to a horse box serving Punjabi snacks, a noodle bus and a solar kitchen. From Helsinki.
The collaboration with For The Love Of Food comes at an exciting time for British Street Food. They have been curating the craziest, most exciting street food scheme ever – LIFTING vans, trucks and trailers onto the first floor of the upmarket Trinity Leeds. Trinity Kitchen (who are sponsors of the 2014 British Street Food Awards) will be co-hosting a VIP launch party for the Awards with Cauldron Foods (sponsors of Best Snack) and NCASS (sponsors of Best Main Dish). British Street Food are also busy developing street food ‘brands’. They are advising SSP, the international food and travel company, about traders with the ambition to move into permanent premises. Thanks to the collaboration with SSP, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – winner of the British Street Food Awards in 2012 – set up in Manchester Airport. Other BSF traders are already lined up for Euston and beyond.
And, in an effort to future-proof the street food revolution, the BSF team have launched the app for i-phones and Android to showcase the best in street food. With live GPS maps showing who’s trading where and when, it details the daily specials of the best traders, and encourages punters to photograph – and review – food, helping to involve everyone in the street food community. The app’s rating system will soon produce the world’s first street food Top 10. To celebrate one heck of a year, the BSF team are also launching their new cake pop collaboration with Dina at Lottie’s Bakery in London. Now you’ll literally be able to ‘Eat the Street’, with cake pop burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, sushi, doughnuts, ice cream, craft beer, cocktails, pizza and coffee. Keep your eye on British Street Food’s social media to be in with a chance to win the full set. They’re worth a retweet!
Here are the categories for the 2014 British Street Food Awards:
Best of the Best (sponsored by Trinity Kitchen)
The People’s Choice
Best Main Dish (sponsored by NCASS)
Best Snack (sponsored by Cauldron Foods)
Best Overseas Trader
Best Newcomer – One To Watch
Best Street Food Collective
Best Street Food Event
And here’s the run-down of those regional heats:
The Central Heat, in Birmingham, on May 2 was a top night.
The West and Wales Heat, in Bristol, on May 10 was one heck of a day.
We will forever remember the South Heat, in Brighton, on June 14 https://twitter.com/StreetDiner,
The North Heat, in Manchester, on June 14 was proper http://www.guerrillaeats.co.uk/bsfa
The London Heat, in London, was a triumph on July 19 with Kerb.
The East Heat, in Norwich, rocked East Anglia on July 31
The Scottish Heat, in Edinburgh, was a Festival of a different kind. On August 30, seven inspirational traders served up something really special.
Now come the big finals in Leeds….we can’t wait.