Feel The Love Tonight
Loved Nottingham. Loved meeting the city’s kind, polite, fun-loving people. And loved the fact that the street food crowd came out – fair weather AND foul – for the Central heats of the 2020 British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s. Hosted by Nate and the brilliant team at Street Food Club, as the 12 best traders from all across the Midlands (see the full list below) cooked their hearts out for a place in the finals.
The crowds didn’t complain about our socially-distanced queue at Sneinton Market, waiting to be sat at their pre-booked tables of six where they sanitised their hands and ordered from a QR code menu. And they certainly didn’t complain about the waiters (in their #BritSFA tshirts) delivering their amazing food and drink within only a few minutes. In fact they seemed to positively love it. It’s a shame there had to be one winner.
Well, two actually. One decided by the judges. One decided by the general public. Marcus Samuelsson – instagram’s @marcus_cooks_ – came down to help with proceedings. And on Day Three he declared the winners as follows:
Judges Choice: Porco
Winners of the People’s Choice:
Both winners will now go on to represent the region in the London finals of the British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s in October.
Shoot The Bull
Spuds n Bro’s
Hun Street Kitchen
Greidys was set up out of the humungous love that Jamie has for quality food – especially WINGSSSS. It’s been a lifelong passion. “When I was around 12 or 13 I used to skewer wings onto a metal knife and hold them over my mom’s hob cooker just to get that charred burnt taste but of course, as you could imagine, the smoke would set off all the alarms and I would get a good telling off. But it was worth it for those wings.”
The guy talks like a pro. “Here at Greidys we have a process. From when fresh prep gets delivered we have very high quality control. We go through each and every wing to ensure they are not bruised, broken or hairy regardless of the amount – same goes for our large inner fillet breasts. We clean and brine all our chicken in our home made marinades and rubs, and make our own fried chicken dredges along with gravy and sauces.”
Greidys operate a drop to order service – so no hot hold. So every single dish is cooked fresh for each customer, hot and exactly the same as the very first. “This is not easy to do” says Jamie, “but we have put systems in place to maintain and manage this quality. However big we get we will always produce in the same small batch recipes as we did at the very start ie jerk marinade and rubs. Hard work, I know, but this is how consistency remains.”
Jez Poyser used to devour books and online blogs about charcuterie and butchery. “We would gather at my house” he remembers “to chop up primal cuts of locally reared pigs and transform them first into fresh bacon and then pancetta, prosciutto, guanciale, salami, lardo while consuming large amounts of beer. The feeling of satisfaction when we butchered a whole Mangalitsa pig and used every part of it in a different way, concreted in me a personal ethos of the importance of using the whole of the animal and avoiding any kind of waste.”
He loved the idea of street food. And it had to be pork based – that much was clear. In the beginning it was porchetta. A whole pig deboned and stuffed with rosemary, garlic and fennel pollen, slowly roasted, carved and served in a fresh ciabatta. But the PORCO menu has since widened to incorporate much more. Cuban Pork Melts, Confit Ox Cheek toast, Pork Chop Sando’s, Hickory smoked pulled pork and their ever popular take on the Big Mac – The PIGMAC. And everything they offer is made from scratch – from the pickles and ferments to the sauces.
Danny, founder and chef of Pellizco, is a taco obsessive. “For me” he says, “tacos are as close to perfection as you can get. The smell of the corn when you toast them, and the soft yet crunchy bite of them is, in my opinion, the perfect base to build upon. We try and put our own twist on things. For example, our popular winter dish consisting of chipotle and black garlic marinated ox cheeks, slow cooked and shredded, served on a pink beetroot tortilla with celeriac and black truffle puree, Jerusalem artichoke crisps, topped with coriander. It’s a mix of techniques.”
He’s certainly determined in his delivery of greatness. A few weeks back, on our way down to Nottingham Street Food Club, for our first event post lockdown, full of excitement, and just south of junction 29 the tyre on our new trailer blew. No spare and no idea what to do. We managed to get a spare wheel dropped off, which turned out to be the wrong size, but three hours later – and two spare wheels later – we finally made it. We had to miss the first sitting, and barely showed up in time for the second, but we were determined to trade, even if all the profits went into two brand new wheels. And a spare!
Liam Russell is an institution at Nottingham Street Food Club. His passion for nutrition, and obsession with a plant-based diet, has left him full of energy. And an advert for his business, now set for huge growth. Long-term the plan is to open a cafe with juices, smoothies, breakfast, lunches, cakes and desserts.
Spud at Fresh Rootz isn’t interested in feeding you with Five A Day. No – he wants seven. At least. This world street food collective (well, a couple of friends) set out to find healthy vegetarian food that everyone will enjoy eating. The team have travelled extensively so, when they slide open the door of their VW Camper van, expect to see Mexican-style pakoras, Peruvian ceviche and Colombian empanadas. With a slice of Libyan derna cake for afters. Cooked over fire.
Spuds & Bro’s
Spuds & Bro’s, from Leeds, serve the Canadian delicacy of poutine from a converted horse-box. It’s made using the authentic Canadian cheese curds, home-made gravy and freshly-cut skin on fries. “We have a dream” says founder Norman, “that one day the people of the land can eat fries with an assortment of cheeses, gravies and toppings and that there be no evil upon the day they try the Bro’s Poutine”.
“Street food is too broad a term” says Kapil from Mrs Patels. “We prefer to call it home food. This is the food that Mrs Patel makes, handed down through many generations. The source is a small village in Gujarat on the westernmost coast of India. The recipes are unwritten and yes, before you ask, guarded. My family moved to the UK in 1968. They were poor in many ways, but rich with hopes and dreams. In recent years, Mom”s health has deteriorated but she’s glowing with pride in the knowledge that I’m sharing her passion for the food she taught me to cook.”
Sarah and Shane created El Contador to provide amazing Mexican street food adaptable to dietary and allergen requirements without compromising on flavour or price. The entire menu is gluten free, with tacos sauces and marinades all made from scratch. Nice.
Shoot The Bull
Last year, Shoot The Bull made it through the BSFA heats and took it all the way to the final. Can they do it again? Chris has worked all over the UK in award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants. When he’s not talking about the fact that he’s worked all over the UK in award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants, he loves to park up his caravan and cook up high-end street food — like his signature Flat Iron Wagyu Steak Sandwich with Ultimate Steak Butter Served in a Toasted Bretzel Bun. But be warned. The branded caravan might look the part but it isn’t the most practical. Chris has fallen out of the back door a few times whilst doing events.
Kara cooks her paella out of a quirky street food stall made from old cutlery and reclaimed wood from a 1950s pub. All of my ingredients are locally sourced from one-man band stallholders – such as my fishmonger in Doncaster market.â€ She buys the best chorizo, with a good fat content, in raw links. All her sauces are homemade and she uses the finest paprika and smoked salt from Spain. Plus – most important for paella – KARA SAYS NO TO HOT HOLDING. So her paella is always fresh. You might have to wait. But it’s worth it.
Pasan first came to the UK to study. But he missed Sri Lankan food. So he started to cook on Skype with the best cook in the world (his Mum) and developed a flair. “Our specialty is a street food called kottu” says Pasan, “which is loud, vibrant, extremely flavoursome and leaves an everlasting impression and a special place in anyone’s heart.” The extremely flavoursome dish is made with paratha, fresh vegetables, egg, stir-fried with a creamy coconut Ceylon chicken curry, devilled fish curry or a paneer masala curry. “Most our customers say they’d have it every day if they could” he says. Chance would be a fine thing…
Hun Street Kitchen
Just ask Sab. He will tell you. Langos, traditionally, was baked in the front of the oven – close to the flames. This is the origin of the name; “Lang” means “flame” in Hungarian. It was made from bread dough and served up as breakfast on the days when new bread was baked. But now that people no longer have brick ovens, it’s fried. And uses a dough similar to pizza. Sab’s signature dish is his kebab langos topped with Hungarian-style marinated chicken breast, cheese, garlic and spring onion. Live and learn, people.