10 | Aug | 12

Richard Johnson

BSFA + Vibe + Jamie + @Tweat_Up = Fifteen Street

Britain’s most exciting street food traders will be racing to London next month – in an extraordinary fleet of vans, trucks and trailers – to compete, head-to-head, in the 2012 British Street Food Awards.

On 15th and 16th September, the critically-acclaimed traders will park up on the cobbles outside Fifteen, Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, to create the brightest and best street food market that Britain has ever seen – a street food spectacular.

The Awards are the central happening at Fifteen Street — a weekend-long party celebrating the tenth birthday of Fifteen. The restaurant uses the magic of food to give young people a chance to have a better future through a pioneering apprentice programme. With its creativity and forward-thinking approach, Fifteen and street food are the perfect fit – and 15% of the ticket price will go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation.

“British street food is one of the hottest things happening right now, and it’s great to see a wave of new and inventive cooks coming through” says Jamie. “I’m so excited that we’re going to be right at the heart of this fantastic event — Fifteen Street. It’s the bringing together of the best of the best in British street food, including 15 incredible street vendors, a wicked cocktail competition, as well as a great selection of music and entertainment. To add to the excitement, it’ll close with the presentation of the British Street Food Awards. It’s going to be fantastic!”

The finalists have been picked by the BSF’s nationwide team of food journalists and bloggers. But they will be judged on the day by a plethora of culinary talent including food writer and TV personality Gizzi Erskine; MasterChef winner and the co-founder of Wahaca Thomasina Miers; poster boy for the British street food revolution Yianni Papoutsis and the actress and cookbook writer Fay Ripley. The Guardian columnist Richard Johnson, who wrote the book Street Food Revolution and founded the Awards, will keep them all in line.

The winners of Best of the Best will win an attachment with M&S’ New Product Development team PLUS a sit down with the team behind the award-winning Mexican street food restaurant group Wahaca. But there are also prizes for the ‘People’s Choice’ Award, voted for by everyone who comes down to taste the food for themselves, and the ‘Best Looking Mobiler’ Award on the BSF Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/Britishstreetfood/app_126231547426086

Café Mor will be back at the BSFAs to defend their Best of the Best title. Their foraged ingredients from the Pembrokeshire shore – wrapped inside freshly-made flatbread — are going down a storm at the Olympics. But are they over the hill? Wild Rover are bringing their vintage Land Rover down the M1 to show the judges how they forage in the wilds of Fife. Food fight!

Also heading down the motorway (in the slow lane) are Manjit’s Kitchen, a small street food trolley from Leeds, and The Mussel Men, who are ready to arm-wrestle all-comers – seriously – when they’re not prepping the world’s fattest moules from the family fish farm in Scotland.

There will be brilliant high-end cooking on show. MasterChef finalist Jackie Kearney fancies her chances with a vegetarian menu in The Hungry Gecko. So does Jun Tanaka, the Michelin-starred chef from Pearl who’s now cooking at Street Kitchen. But they haven’t tasted the exquisite ices from Pedro and Zan of Sorbitium, who first met in the kitchen at Petersham Nurseries. It’s going to get tasty.

“Street food is the most important food trend in Britain for years” says Johnson. “In the midst of a recession, we are coming together to eat in different ways. We just don’t want that starter-main course-dessert set-up any more. We want a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s why pop-up restaurants and supper clubs have been so popular. And it’s why everyone’s now into street food. With great food, amazing delivery and a bit of theatre, it really does have the capacity to make the world a nicer, more relaxed place.”

The BSFA started out in the heart of farming country – in Shropshire – and moved to Suffolk last year to join in the family fun of Harvest At Jimmy’s. “But in 2012,” says Johnson, “the year of the Olympics, it felt right to bring the Awards to London – it’s the epicentre of the street food revolution. We’ll be throwing down an amazing East End knees-up. Just don’t expect to leave early……

The BSFAs will be happening alongside Ginstock and Rumstock — two @Tweat_Up events that will involve head-to-head shake-and-stir offs with the country’s finest barkeeps. Oh, and we forgot to mention the horse box that bakes the bread for all of its sandwiches onsite, the Southwold beach hut on wheels, and the telephone box that’s been converted into a smoker…but we don’t want to spoil all the surprises.