06 | Mar | 17

Richard Johnson

Snow Joke

Be individual. Be bold. Sell your personality with your food. That’s what we advise prospective traders — and glad to see someone was listening. It’s what got Gondola Raclette onto the telly — with a new C4 series presented by Michel Roux Jr. “Citroen H Vans were becoming more the ‘norm’ in the scene” says Gondola Raclette’s owner James Briscoe. “But I wanted something completely different — that could be used as a “shell” — because creativity with the unit was becoming more and more important to get into the best events. The gondola idea came from me trying to think of something that hadn’t been done before.”

Briscoe hit upon the idea when he was skiing with his girlfriend. Or at least thinking about skiing. “The idea just popped into my head” says James. “I’d been told years ago about gondola graveyards — where empty fields were used to store old and used gondolas. Like we might see car scrap yards over here. I remember thinking at the time ‘What a shame. We don’t have gondolas at home but for them they aren’t anything out of the ordinary, so people didn’t prioritise recycling them’. I then endeavoured to find a contact who could source a gondola and the idea soon became a reality.”

Raclette made sense. Everyone loves melted cheese, plus it fitted with The Big Idea. Then the email arrived, forwarded by the brilliant IFDA academy in Leeds. “It said that a new series was going to focus on secret/hidden restaurants or unusual restaurants that were in the process of being built or converted. I thought we ticked all the boxes so got in touch with a few ideas and pictures. By the following week we were doing the first set of filming of the gondola as a bare shell. Then in early December we did the second filming session showing the completed gondola doing a lunch service at a Leeds-based marketing agency.” You can see the results on Hidden Restaurants, Wednesday March 15 at 8pm on Channel 4.

If we can get past James’ agent, we will be getting Raclette Gondola into Trinity Kitchen this Autumn….and with details of the heats of the 2017 British Street Food Awards due for release this month, there should be lots of chances to try out this bright new star in the British Street Food firmament.