31 | Aug | 15

Richard Johnson

The South Heat

The strikes on South Western trains didn’t stop the crowds. And the weather forecasters were wrong — the predicted rains didn’t come. All that we had to cope with was a warm breeze off the Cornish sands — no hardship on a Bank Holiday weekend — and a lot of Sold Out signs as the three-day heat in Falmouth drew to an end. Have a look at the weekend in pictures here. In the final regional heat before the London finals, the winner of the judge’s vote (thanks again to the inspirational Andy Appleton of Fifteen Cornwall) was Rasher. And the public vote?

The top five were as follows:
1. Rasher
2. Inkie’s
3. Eat Like A Greek
4. Posh Kebab
5. SeaDog

It’s never happened before — the judge and the public choosing the same trader. So Inkie’s will join Rasher in London. A Cornwall clean sweep. The other finalists in the heat (see below) did brilliantly, and we might yet find space for some of them in the final. They certainly deserve it…

Lola’s Wings (DEVON)
Lola’s Wings sells American style, organic chicken wings smothered in a choice of sauces such as buffalo(hot sauce), BBQ or Honey Mustard. Sides include potato salad, coleslaw, spiced curly fries and blue cheese dip. The van is run by Lauren, a native New Yorker, and Simon – from Devon. So the chicken comes from Piper’s farm, which is just outside Exeter. But the swagger? That’s pure U S of A, baby…

Jalopy Pizza (DORSET) Sunday and Monday
The idea for Jalopy Pizza came from holidays in the south of France, where wood-fired pizza vans regularly park up in lay-bys, campsites and supermarket car parks. When Katherine Locke stumbled across an ancient Peugeot J7 being sold in Montpelier, with a FANTASTIC Ephrem wood-fired oven, well….it was fate. Jalopy have since gone on to win Best Snack at the 2011 British Street Food Awards, but this year they want to go one better. They want to win Best Of The Best at the big finals in London.

Truly Crumptious (CORNWALL)
Is there anything more delicious than a crumpet? Yes. A homemade crumpet. Made with organic flour from the South West, and cooked up on a lightly-oiled griddle to give it a crisp, thick base. Serve it out of a 1967 Cheltenham Waterbuck – built in the day when caravans looked like caravans – with butter, jam or cheese, and you’ve got something just a little bit special.

The Posh Kebab Company (DEVON)
What, exactly, is a doner kebab? You’re probably imagining the “elephant leg” – that huge grey lump of meat that rotates slowly in front of a grille. The drinking man’s turkey twizzler. Well, the kebab really doesn’t need to look – or taste — that way. The founder of British Street Food, Richard Johnson, went to Turkey to find how kebabs should really taste, and now he’s delighted to bring the new generation of kebabs to the Awards. The Posh Kebab Company is a new venture from rare and traditional breed meat specialists Hannah and Duncan Nobbs, who breed and butcher Aberdeen Angus cattle, Oxford Down sheep and Large Black and Saddleback pigs at Partridge Farm near Tiverton. “All of our livestock is born, bred and butchered on our Devonshire farm” says Hannah. “The animals only leave the farm to go to the local abattoir a few miles away,” explains Hannah. “Now we’re going one step further by cooking posh kebabs for our customers at street food markets and private functions.” Let’s just hope they’ll be open when the pubs close….

Rasher are about the WHOLE pig – even the squeak. From a sous-vide of pork loin to a crispy fried tail — and everything in between. So the provenance is vital. Rasher work exclusively with Primrose Herd, an award-winning Cornish pig farm, because they are raising some of the best Middle Whites, Large Blacks and Gloucester Old Spots in the country. The results speak for themselves. One of the Rasher signature dishes is a beasty triple-decker club sandwich containing house-made fennel sausage, smoked cheddar rarebit, Primrose Herd bacon, bacon and whisky marmalade, mustard mayo, pickled reds, roast tomato ketchup and round lettuce. Nice.

Tea N Toast (DEVON)
Ben Mills is an OG — an original gangsta — in the world of street food and, for the last ten years, has been attempting to save the world by dispensing tea. And toast – where necessary. Ben set up Tea N Toast to warm the cockles and feed the soul in a small van covered in flowers. The only surprise is that he hasn’t competed at the British Street Food Awards before. These are the last heats before the finals. Maybe this year his stars are in alignment….

Inkie’s Smokehouse (CORNWALL)
There’s the easy way. There’s the fast way. And then there’s the best way. Inkie’s barbecue is a family run smokehouse that serves up authentic pit-smoked q. All the meat is locally sourced and cooked low ‘n’ slow over hickory, maple or cherry wood for a minimum of 16 hours. Check for the smoke ring – this stuff is authentic.

Sapeur (DEVON) Saturday and Sunday
You think you know waffles? Batter-based cakes that don’t taste of much, right? Wrong! Everything from the recipe to the type of iron is up for grabs. In Vietnam they’re green for God’s sake. Sapeur is a 1961 fire engine from Chatillon Sur Indre, adapted to serve Gaufres — fresh Belgian waffles. They have taken what we still perceive as a simple delivery system for other ingredients, and elevated it to an artform. Come and meet Paul (one of the nicest men in street food) as he does his thing. See him here in his other project, Lemon Jelli….(Saturday and Sunday only)

The Shellfish Pig (CORNWALL) Monday
Nick Archer is a trained chef — with a degree in Marine Science from Falmouth. An unlikely combination that resulted in a dissertation on ‘sustainability within the seafood supply chain’ – and an appetite for Cornish shellfish. Nick and Nikki now pair the Catch Of The Day with Primrose pork (“it’s always free range and Cornish”) and vegetables from their own allotments. Nice. (Monday only)

West Country Higgler (DORSET)
The Higgler is an ultra-rare, bare metal Land Rover. Built from scratch. And called Womble. It serves up delicious coffee, made from high altitude, top grade beans, with velvety milk from Craig’s in Dorchester. But you won’t be waiting too long for a brew. “We can put out 80 to 200 coffees per hour depending on our set up” says . “And we don’t need sleep. Obviously”.

SeaDog (DEVON)
Think of the South West and you think of the coast. Atlantic breakers and pretty harbours bobbing with boats bringing in the bounty of the sea. But less than 10% of the seafood stays in the region. The rest is exported. That’s where Seadog comes in. They create innovative world street food that takes our local catch on a wondrous journey across the globe picking up influences from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and beyond. We’ll never let Johnny Foreigner get his hands on this stuff again….

Eat Like A Greek (DEVON)
The Greeks are famous for their hospitality, their food, and their dancing. If they can just get past the whole plate smashing thing, they would be market leaders in the street food game. This husband and wife team fell in love in Greece, and relocated to Devon, intent on marrying their two cultures together — the best of West Country ingredients with organic herbs and spices from their farm in Samos Island. For the Awards in Falmouth, they are building something new – in a horse box. “We wanted to bring the memories of that little beach side taverna on holiday to our customers minds using handmade olive wood counters, hand painted décor and little trinkets from home. It’s going to take our business to a whole new level.”

How many people can you feed in a day?
Mike says as long “As I have meat and bread I will never stop!!!!”

What is your signature dish?
We have epitomized the Greek Souvlaki pita wrap. We use Devon meats from our local butcher, season it with our own special blend of spices and create a mouthwatering Tzatziki sauce from our family recipe to top it all off. We are working on some special additions for the Awards.

Are you rich?
Big cliché coming…..not cash rich but rich in life. Street food has given us the perfect platform to live out everything we love. Mike cooks, I organize, our daughter laughs. We travel in our camper van through the UK and beyond earning a living and spreading joy with our food. Sounds good to me.

Field and Kitchen (DEVON)
Vicki and Jonny – the Field and Kitchen team — only picked up ‘Betty’, their vintage Peugeot market van, last month. There was the inevitable rust to deal with, and a few Gallic issues when it came to the subject of hard work. But now she’s all prepped, and ready to go, with a menu of what is in season, and what is popular. Don’t be surprised if it’s homemade flatbreads, with lamb koftas with homemade houmous, or pork pibil with fresh guacamole and salsa. Try it all.