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British Street Food Awards 2015

British Street Food Awards 2015 - South West heats

by Richard Johnson 18 August 2015

Richard Johnson founded the British Street Food Awards with Marco Pierre White in 2009, and we’re coming up to the finals again this year. Richard gave us an insight into one of the regional finals as the build up for the title mounts… here’s Richard’s round up of the best traders that the South West has to offer.

More from this series:

Richard Johnson is the godfather of British street food.

Sat in a deck chair, overlooking the sea, it’s hard to think of anything nicer than a bag of chips and a pickled egg… but a new generation of street food traders are shaking things up a little. And this Bank Holiday, in Falmouth, the best traders from across the South West are competing to prove they’re shaking it up better than anyone else. So it’s Cornwall vs. Devon vs. Somerset vs. Dorset in the regional heats of the 2015 British Street Food Awards.

In Falmouth’s Events Square, the thirteen best traders from the region will be cooking up their signature dishes all weekend from a weird and wonderful fleet of vans, trucks and trailers. The public then vote for their favourite. There will be live music and DJs (curated by Universal Music) with live newspaper reviews hosted by the editor of the Independent on Sunday. There will will be a street food/beer matching experience from Sharp’s, and Have I Got Foods For You, the Festival’s take on the topical news quiz. With better prizes.

Here’s a round up of the traders taking part:

Jalopy Pizza (Dorset)

The idea for Jalopy Pizza came from holidays in the south of France, where wood-fired pizza vans regularly park up in lay-bys, campsites and supermarket car parks. When Katherine Locke stumbled across an ancient Peugeot J7 being sold in Montpelier, with a FANTASTIC Ephrem wood-fired oven, well….it was fate. Jalopy have since gone on to win Best Snack at the 2011 British Street Food Awards, but this year they want to go one better. They want to win Best Of The Best at the big finals in London.

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Crumpets at Truly Crumptious

Truly Crumptious (Cornwall)

Is there anything more delicious than a crumpet? Yes. A homemade crumpet. Made with organic flour from the South West, and cooked on a lightly-oiled griddle to give it a crisp, thick base. Serve it out of a 1967 Cheltenham Waterbuck – built in the day when caravans looked like caravans – with butter, jam or cheese, and you’ve got something just a little bit special.

The Glorious Oyster (Devon)

According to Norman Lewis, in "Aphrodisiacs I Have Known", the sexual power of oysters is all in the mind. A group of male pearl-divers on the island of Kamaran get most of their nourishment from the lovely little things, but their sex drive remains resolutely low, low, low. The Glorious Oyster is more than just an oyster bar, which is maybe just as well for public order in the county of Devon. They serve up an ever-changing seasonal menu of local seafood from a horse box, and where better for them to come and showcase their wares than Falmouth, home to the world-famous Oyster Festival and one of the last remaining traditional oyster fisheries?

Tea N Toast (Devon)

Ben Mills is an OG (an original gangsta) in the world of street food and, for the last ten years, has been attempting to save the world by dispensing tea. And toast, where necessary. Ben set up Tea N Toast to warm the cockles and feed the soul in a small van covered in flowers. The only surprise is that he hasn't competed at the British Street Food Awards before. These are the last heats before the finals, so maybe this year his stars are in alignment...

Sapeur (Devon)

You think you know waffles? Batter-based cakes that don’t taste of much, right? Wrong! Everything from the recipe to the type of iron is up for grabs. In Vietnam they’re green for God’s sake. Sapeur is a 1961 fire engine from Chatillon Sur Indre, adapted to serve Gaufres: fresh Belgian waffles. They have taken what we still perceive as a simple delivery system for other ingredients, and elevated it to an artform. Come and meet Paul (one of the nicest men in street food) as he does his thing. Or see him in his other project, Lemon Jelli (Saturday and Sunday only).

 
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Fire engine bearing waffles at Sapeur
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Belgian waffles at Sapeur

Inkie’s Smokehouse (Cornwall)

There’s the easy way. There’s the fast way. And then there’s the best way. Inkie's barbecue is a family run smokehouse that serves up authentic pit-smoked q. All the meat is locally sourced and cooked low 'n' slow over hickory, maple or cherry wood for a minimum of 16 hours. Check for the smoke ring, this stuff is authentic.

The Shellfish Pig (Cornwall)

Nick Archer is a trained chef with a degree in Marine Science from Falmouth. An unlikely combination that resulted in a dissertation on ‘sustainability within the seafood supply chain’ and an appetite for Cornish shellfish. Nick and Nikki now pair the Catch Of The Day with Primrose pork (“it’s always free-range and Cornish”) and vegetables from their own allotments. Nice. (Monday only)

Seadog (Devon)

Think of the South West and you think of the coast. Atlantic breakers and pretty harbours bobbing with boats bringing in the bounty of the sea… but less than 10% of the seafood stays in the region. The rest is exported. That’s where Seadog comes in. They create innovative world street food that takes our local catch on a wondrous journey across the globe picking up influences from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and beyond. We’ll never let Johnny Foreigner get his hands on this stuff again…

 
 
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Seafood street food at Seadog
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Coffee from a Land Rover at West Country Higgler

West Country Higgler (Dorset)

The Higgler is an ultra-rare, bare metal Land Rover. Built from scratch. And called Womble. It serves up delicious coffee, made from high altitude, top grade beans, with velvety milk from Craig's in Dorchester. But you won’t be waiting too long for a brew. “We can put out eighty to two hundred coffees per hour depending on our set up… And we don't need sleep. Obviously”.

Field and Kitchen (Devon)

Vicki and Jonny – the Field and Kitchen team -- only picked up 'Betty', their vintage Peugeot market van, last month. There was the inevitable rust to deal with, and a few Gallic issues when it came to the subject of hard work. But now she’s all prepped, and ready to go, with a menu of what is in season, and what is popular. Don’t be surprised if it’s homemade flatbreads, with lamb koftas with homemade hummus, or pork pibil with fresh guacamole and salsa. Try it all.

Linleys (Devon)

A mid-life crisis? Maybe. But this husband and wife team have never regretted leaving the security of the corporate environment for the world of festivals and street food. The suppliers that they use are all local to their set up, mostly within ten miles. Examples of their menu include slow-cooked, smoked whiskey brisket, served in a wrap with their own slaw and salad or roasted salmon steaks with honey-roasted vegetables, served with a dill and horseradish dressing. All for under £5, and handed over with a smile.

Vee Double Moo (Somerset)

This ice cream van, affectionately nicknamed Daisy, serves up gourmet soft scoop and frozen yoghurt round the South West. There are lots of interesting Milk Bar type options on the menu, including dipped cones with smoked sea salt, alcoholic soft-serve shots, and pies á la mode. The vintage VW, with its distinctive beige and sky blue cow-print livery, has a twin sister serving churros.

 
 
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Greek street food at Eat Like A Greek

Eat Like A Greek (Devon)

The Greeks are famous for their hospitality, their food, and their dancing. If they can just get past the whole plate smashing thing, they would be market leaders in the street food game. This husband and wife team fell in love in Greece, and relocated to Devon, intent on marrying their two cultures together: the best of West Country ingredients with organic herbs and spices from their farm in Samos Island. For the Awards in Falmouth, they are building something new; in a horse box. “We wanted to bring the memories of that little beach side taverna on holiday to our customers minds using handmade olive wood counters, hand painted décor and little trinkets from home. It’s going to take our business to a whole new level.”

 
 

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