12 | Sep | 11

Richard Johnson

And The Winner Is…….

The British Street Food Awards, set up to recognise the best of the mobilers serving food on our streets, attracted more than 2000 entries this year. And — after much deliberation — the results are in. It’s great news for a beach shack from Wales, a retro ice cream truck from Lancashire and a vegetarian van from London. And it’s great news for Britain. The Street Food Revolution has finally arrived……..

The Awards were judged on a bright and sunny day at the Harvest at Jimmy’s festival in Suffolk by a panel of distinguished judges including Anthony Worrall-Thompson, actress and cookbook author Fay Ripley, the Head of Catering for London 2012 Jan Matthews, and the director of independent caterer trade association NCASS Bob Fox. The panel was chaired by the founder of the British Street Food Awards, the food journalist and broadcaster Richard Johnson.

The winner of “The Best of the Best” award went to Jonathan Williams and Café Mor (above) who impressed with their foraged ingredients from the Pembrokeshire shore served out of their beach shack made from reclaimed beach wood. It’s seafood on the wild side. And it’s unique. Café Mor has now won the opportunity to serve champions of a different kind at the London 2012 Olympics.

Jonathan of Café Mor said, “I was happy just to be on the shortlist and wasn’t expecting to win at all – especially amongst such stiff competition. This is the first time I have traded in England. I’ve only been up and running full-time for four months, so I’m completely shocked to be honest. The Olympics are going to be a completely new experience and it’s great to be part of this big event.”

Jan Matthews was delighted. “Everyone thinks of the Olympics as a sports competition” she said, “but the fact that we can also showcase the best of British Street Food is really exciting. The winner is going to get the opportunity to trade in the Olympic village serving the athletes and we want them to experience the best of what the UK has to offer”.

The final dishes were eagerly devoured by a discerning foodie crowd at Harvest at Jimmy’s, and new judge Fay Ripley was really surprised by the quality of what she tasted. “I’ve been brought up on street food and that’s why this is so exciting. To be out in a field and get to eat better food than you can make at home is something special. Some Michelin starred chefs ought to be very scared.”

In the main dish category, Street Kitchen captured the judges’ attention, taking joint first place with their slow roast pork shoulder with coleslaw, pickled apples and mustard dressing. They shared the title with Wholefood Heaven, who served a vegetarian Buddha Bowl that was an imaginative fusion of pan-Asian techniques.

Jun Tanaka of Street Kitchen said, “Everything we serve is British and comes straight from source. Making the transition from a restaurant to a trailer is difficult. You have to think very carefully as you can’t go above a certain price point and you need to be able to serve it quickly. The good thing is that because you’re restricted you focus on the most important things which is the produce and the flavour”.

Judge Anthony Worrall-Thompson was impressed with the array of food on offer. “This has really opened my eyes to how good street food can be. People have a preconceived idea of street food as greasy burgers and bad fish and chips but this is something different altogether. The presentation is also great and much better than anything you can find in NYC.”

Bob Fox of NCASS said, “This is a really good cross section of what is available and just proves that you can do proper food on a limited resource. For many of these mobilers it’s about finding somewhere to trade and unfortunately many of the councils don’t want this sort of thing in front of their new shopping mall. That’s the challenge we face and the one we are trying to fight.”

Richard Johnson was delighted with the way the rewards have progressed. “We’re now working on business projects to get more street food onto the streets of Britain. It’s been a big year. The prize in 2010 was a blender – this year, the winner has won the right to a pitch at the Olympics, and a business makeover by Marks and Spencer. We’ve come a long way baby.”

The final winners were as follows:
BEST MAIN DISH sponsored by Trinity Leeds – Street Kitchen (Slow roast pork shoulder with coleslaw, pickled apples and mustard dressing) and Wholefood Heaven (Buddha Bowl)
BEST SANDWICH – Laughing Stock – Salt Beef Sandwich
BEST SNACK – Jalopy Pizza – Pizza Puttanesca
BEST DESSERT – Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven
BEST DRINK – Café Mor – La Bomba

This year’s awards are being supported by Marks & Spencer who will be offering the winner the opportunity to work with product developers and marketing experts to assist them in developing their business.