28 | Jul | 12

Richard Johnson

He’ll Be The Judge Of That….

I remember Yianni Papoutsis when he ran a burger van. Not just any burger van, you understand — the best burger van in the world, that we ended up using as a dummy cover for the book Street Food Revolution. But a burger van nonetheless.

Now of course, he heads up two burger restaurants, and he’s Mr Big with a wardrobe full of ironed t-shirts and folded jeans. All black, of course. But he still likes to keep it real. He was keen to give back to the street food community, which is why he wanted to judge the British Street Food Awards. And the day before he bowls up to join the judging on Sunday September 16, he’s cooking at a friend’s wedding. It will be a harsh reminder of the world he left behind.

“Before a job,” says Yianni, “you’ve still got to prep the van and, if you’re driving anywhere, you’ve got to stow everything like you’re on a ship. You strap everything down. Then you’ve got to fill up your water and stock up on your propane. There’s lots of physical work – and most chefs just won’t do it. The job isn’t right for everyone.” But it was right for Yianni…..and now his years of hard work are paying off. He deserves it.