08 | Aug | 16

Hugh Thomas

Teach a Man To Fish

We have some good news, and we have some bad news.

The good news? Anyone can get into street food. The bad news? Anyone can get into street food.

Just ask Ben Davy of Dough Boys Pizza and Fuschnikens, winner of the 2014 British Street Food Awards, who thinks the British street food scene is overrun with bandwagon jumpers. He told MUNCHIES last year: ‘[People think] if you stick meat in brioche and sell it from a van, that somehow makes it “street food”’.

Certainly – and contrary to some opinion – quality doesn’t come out of a Sainsbury’s bag. So where does it come from? The heart? The freshest ingredients?

What about a pair of well-trained hands? Some say you can’t teach people how to achieve their culinary ambitions ­– they have to learn it themselves. Others, like L’Atelier des Chefs, Waitrose, and Rick Stein, say you can. So do the Underground Cookery School, ICI Lucerne, Leiths, Try My Kitchen, Food At 52, Jenius Social, Abinger and Little Kitchen.

Make no mistake, cooking classes are growing in popularity — and especially those of a street food persuasion.

The beauty of street food is you don’t need to be an alumni of Cordon Bleu. You don’t need to shadow Alain Ducasse. And you really don’t need any culinary recognition from Waitrose. Like the food itself, street trading is designed to be accessible, with or without the relevant training. I’d tell you what’s more important, but Davy puts it far more eloquently.

‘Love what you do, and make it the best you can. If you don’t, you’re fucked.’