05 | Apr | 17

Hugh Thomas

Streets Ahead

We all know children and their wild imaginings. Clouds made of vanilla ice cream. A twenty-foot cyclops living in the garden shed. Worlds overflowing with pirate ships and monster trucks. You get the picture. So what happened when Leeds’ Trinity Kitchen and the Ahead Partnership asked a group of schoolchildren from the John Smeaton Academy to dream up the ultimate street food business?

Winning entrants Jess, Jessica, Sam, Tobi and Jack were inspired by either a love or a hate of school arithmetic when they thought up ‘π&P’ – a speculative vendor selling pies. Steak and ale. Chicken and bacon. That kind of thing. Mark from Sela Bar (and one of the early finalists in the Northern heats of the 2017 British Street Food Awards) was one of the judges, and really impressed with branding that any big city creative would be proud of.

The menu (or in this case, ‘pie chart’) sports pies for a very reasonable fiver, along with £2 for extras, like chips or gravy. All served to you by staff clad in a bowler hat and apron emblazoned with bright green garden peas. Fetching.

Ingredients are sourced from the local Sykes House Farm and Leeds City Market. Real life traders note — no mention here of Macro or Bookers. And π&P’s marketing is, intelligently, via Instagram and Facebook, though there is something reassuringly old-fashioned about their use of flyers. Which has always done us proud when we promote the regional heats of the British Street Food Awards. So kids aren’t always thinking about social media. Who’d have thought it?

Start up costs, including price of equipment, van, and paintwork, total a rather ambitious £18,000. But you know what? With π&P they may be onto something. Pie, after all, is one of Britain’s original street foods. And native to the North. Pie-thagoras meets provenance? Not such a bad idea.

Other concepts also caught our eye. ‘Britalian’ food served out the back of a converted London black cab. A dessert business, one that operates out of a classic Bedford, called ‘Sweet Dreams’. A Caribbean outfit called ‘Jerkilicious’. You know what? Those kids better get on the phone to the Intellectual Property Office. Sharpish.