16 | Jun | 19

Richard Johnson

The Winner Is….

Scotland is in the midst of a street food revolution. And the pitt — Edinburgh’s game-changing street food venue hosting the Scottish Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s for the THIRD time — has been manning the barricades since the beginning. Markets are now opening everywhere from Stirling to Aberdeen – but the pitt is still leading the way, and recently had to expand into the warehouse next-door to accommodate Scotland’s hunger for street food. “So we were extra excited to invite the best traders from all across the country to our home in Leith”, says Hal Prescott, the pitt’s founder. “To fight it out and be crowned Scottish Champions. The Awards are always a special event.” He wasn’t wrong…

The press were all over it. They sent photographers. And journalists. To do justice to it all, the pitt team organised a road closure with the council. And we recruited, quite simply, the best panel of judges we’ve ever had. The people of Scotland. Who voted The Buffalo Truck as the People’s Choice. Which means that Robin Strigner is now the most decorated trader in the history of Scottish Street Food – by a country mile.

However, there’s only one ‘Champion’ trophy. And we had a perfect mix of chefs and food writers with real street food expertise to choose our overall winner. Check them out here. Scott Smith, head chef at Fhior, came along with Ben Reade, the co-founding director of Edinburgh Food Studio. They were joined by top bloggers Adele Conn and Ailidh Forlan from Tartan Spoon and Plate Expectations respectively. But they just couldn’t make their minds up.

It came down to five traders and five very special dishes. The jerk chicken from Fatboys (“top cooking, to keep the chicken moist” said Ailidh); ceviche from the Peruvian (“so fresh” said Scott); the classic chicken burger from the Buffalo Truck (“just perfection” said Ben); the white pizza from Wanderers Kneaded (“I loved the walnuts” said Adele); and the cardamom, cinnamon and rose water ice cream from Moo Pie (“Wow” said Ailidh). They eventually had to settle it by a show of hands. Wanderers Kneaded won. Hold the front page!

Francesco from Wanderers Kneaded told Edinburgh Live that he cried at the excitement of it all. “I lived in Italy for four years and it’s better than anything I’ve ever had” said Ben. Wanderers Kneaded and the Buffalo Truck will now represent Scotland at the finals of the 2019 British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s in London. And, maybe, at the finals of the 2019 European Street Food Awards in Malmo.

SSFA Finalists 2019

Wanderers Kneaded
An old-school food truck converted with a woodfired oven specialised in gourmet pizzas based in Edinburgh. They make outrageous combinations of toppings together with proper italian classics, all based on a sourdough developed for about 10 years. The ones that have made most waves include the Deconstructed Guac (a vegan pizza that is topped with all the ingredients of a guacamole) and a classic topped with brisket, slow cooked overnight in the WK woodfired. “Although we started our venture fairly recently,” say WK, “we’ve been in hospitality, specifically in the pizza world, for about 10 years, and I must admit this environment it’s refreshing! When you have a restaurant or a takeaway you see others as competition, in the street food world, you see your fellow traders as part of a community! It’s amazing to be part of such a group with a real passion for food.”

The Redshank
The Redshank are a new eco-inspired mobile catering unit based in Inverness. They focus on serving up Scotland’s finest local seafood and produce whilst being kind to the environment. From classic Peterhead haddock and chips, kedgeree and cullen skink to spiced seafood barley paella, Orkney crab burger with chilli chutney and griddled Oban seatrout with a roasted tomato risotto. Because they’ve only been open for seven months, the funny stories are limited. “Although I do find opening the trailer door after a long drive a little unnerving as I always wonder what fridge didn’t I seal and what food did I leave on a bench” says The Redshank’s Jamie Ross.

Faceplant foods
FacePlant Foods is a 100% vegan company. They make their own vegan meats and cheese (and supply them to cafes in all major cities around Scotland), and focus on a junk food menu – their most popular item is their Grilled Cheeze Sandwiches. “And if you haven’t tried our Reuben, you haven’t lived!”

But it’s hard work.”There’s only two of us, so we do all the prep, cooking, cleaning, packing, driving, set-up, re-heating, cash handling, take-down, washing up, accounts, marketing, emailing, applying etc. But when people come up to us at an event after having our food and telling us delicious it is, totally worth all the hard work.”

After their appearance on the BBC’s Million Pound Menu, ShrimpWreck decided to take a step back from the restaurant world and focus on what they do best – street food. The seafood specialists are currently based in Platform Glasgow and have been trading there for the past year. “We have focused a lot of our attention on the one spot to try expand the menu and tweak some of the customers’ favourites.”

The Shawarma Shack
Fin has been cooking around the world for the last 10 years – feeding everyone from famous actors and rockstars to the homeless at food rallies. “Originally from Ireland I started out in fine-dining restaurants and five star hotels before moving to Florida to do events and then on to Martha’s Vineyard pushing out farm-to-table food in a open air bistro.” He moved to Edinburgh two years ago, and is now making a name for himself with a levantine style menu.

Rost serve up the best of local and Scottish produce. A core menu of creative sliders, homemade venison pastrami, slow-cooked meat, game, fish and wild foods is served up with salad specials.

Toasted cheese sandwiches. What’s not to like.

barnacles n bones
After founding Claw in London, the team behind b n b moved North of the border to service Scotland with some banging street food showcasing shellfish and meat.

The Peruvian
Carlo runs the only Peruvian street food stall in Scotland. “Our food is hard to make as we do everything fresh, and prep everything ourselves. Our food speaks for itself. Even though we didn’t win the Scottish Street Food Awards last year we made it to [the final of the 2018 British Street Food Awards in] London as a wild card and won Best Snack there with our ceviche. That pushed us to the limit and now we want the trophy at home.

Moo Pie
Not only do Moo Pie produce the godfather of all frozen dessert heavenliness – the gelato cookie sandwich – they work hard on each component to make sure they always bring their dessert A game. All the gelato is hand crafted from Emma Ridell’s wee kitchen based in Leith, Edinburgh, which means they have complete control over their ingredients. Pasteurising, aging and churning in-house to bring you some seriously creamy, creamy deliciousness. From gelato through to cookies.

I originally decided on my style of food after realizing there was no one really doing creole and soul food in Scotland – especially on the street food scene. With the Creole food a lot of people have heard of the dishes from films – gumbo, jambalaya etc – but a lot haven’t tried it so for us it’s fun to give people their first experiences with those styles of food.
The Fatboys jerk fried chicken with a coconut rice and peas, pineapple salsa and a scotch bonnet and coriander salsa is the stuff of legend.

Prime Street Food
These guys bring a unique flair to food with over 18 years experience in nine countries with ever-changing menus. “We have been eating, sleeping, street fooding and repeating for the past few years now and we truly believe that we bring something unique to the street food scene”. Their signature dish? Their fusion pork is always a winner – either with a pear and apple chutney Coleslaw or in an Asian broth.

Moskito Spanish Bites serve Spanish food from a vintage horse box. “Our most popular dish from last season was freshly grilled Spanish chorizo, served in a crusty roll, and comes with melted cheese, grilled onions and dressed with delicious chimmichurri sauce on top.

Ginger & Chilli
“Although my heart is with Indian food,” says Ronan, “I want Ginger & Chilli to be a celebration of all things Asian. I’ve been running pop-up nights and street food and in one night you can expect to travel from Sri Lanka to Penang, via Kerala, Phuket, Hanoi and Glasgow, without a plane or train in sight. Funniest street food story? “I was once asked for a chicken mankini instead of a chicken makhani. Just hold that picture!”