The 17th and 18th of September saw the return of the seventh annual British Street Food Awards; the culmination of five competitive regional heats and six months of toil by event organisers and street food vendors alike. Much like the street food industry itself, the British Street Food Awards, set up in 2009 by food journalist Richard Johnson, has developed immensely. Back in their first year, the 2010 awards saw competitors duke it out for the grand prize of a fancy food blender. These days Britain’s best street food trucks are making a play for such lofty opportunities as the privilege of ‘performing’ at the O2 in London and business powwows with Marks & Spencer.
For the talented vendors that compete, the Awards are a fantastic platform. Winners of the Best of the Best award have gone on to publish books, find permanent residence within four walls, and develop their delicacies with industry giants like Italian restaurant chain, Zizzi. In the wake of this year’s awards, and West Midlands street food superstar Baked in Brick being crowned Best of the Best, we thought we’d take a look at what winners of the title in previous years have gone on to achieve.
La Grotta Ices
2010 winner, Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices was first inspired to start experimenting with frozen desserts after a fateful encounter with an ice cream parlour in Cannes. Tucked away on a side road, it only took one taste of Vilfeu’s poppy seed and saffron ice cream to spark Kitty’s gelato love affair, and led her to the 2010 British Street Food Awards where she won in the coveted Best of the Best category. In the time since, she’s gone on to develop her delicious ices with behemoth restaurant chain, Zizzi. The greatest of her creations for Zizzi is a blood orange sorbetti, which balances the ratio of sweetness to tartness perfectly!
Café Môr’s unassuming little beach shack has quite a reputation in the British street food scene and its notoriety helped it bag the title of Best of the Best at the British Street Food Awards in 2011. Since their win, the owners have developed things quite a lot, launching their own range of delicious treats under the company name The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, bringing sustainably caught coastal produce to UK consumers in innovative and exciting ways. Think beach food goodies like Welsh Sea black butter and their Captain Cat’s Môr Seasoning; the same flavour-packed blend of herbs and spices you’ll find in some of the tasty morsels sold from their travelling truck. Recently, they’ve done something pretty astounding, and have ditched their noisy generator and are now one of only two mobile food outlets in the UK to power their street food van using solar and wind energy (the other’s in Pembrokeshire too!).
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
#gingerscomfort #icecream #icecreamvan #manchester A photo posted by Ginger’s Comfort Emporium (@gingerscomfort) on
Mancunian ice cream maestros, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium won Best of the Best at the 2012 British Street Food Awards. Since being crowned as the all-time empresses and emperors of ice cream, they’ve published their gorgeous book, Melt, set up a delicious ice cream van in Manchester Airport and established an eminently popular permanent residence on the first floor of Afflecks Palace in Manchester city centre.
They’ve stayed true to their original ethos of producing frozen treats that’re strictly meant to be enjoyed after little scamps have been tucked into bed. Think 18+ flavours like plum, gin and juniper sorbet, and fan favourite Chorlton Crack, a winning blend of salted caramel and peanut butter.
Katie and Kim’s Kitchen
Bristol-based Katie & Kim’s were Best of the Best at the British Street Food Awards in 2013. At the time, they brought their brilliant bakes to bear from a converted horsebox. Since claiming the title, Katie & Kim’s has found permanent residence on Bristol’s Picton Street in Montpelier. A modern-rustic affair, a large, communal wooden table, made by Katie and Kim from reclaimed planks is the venue’s focal point. Staying true to their street food days, the menus you’ll find here are uncomplicated and compelling. Their beloved toasted cheddar and rosemary scones – pepped-up with either poached eggs or bacon, or both for the truly famished – have garnered citywide fame.
Summer colours for a wet and wild wedding in Croyde today. Challenging conditions for cooking in a tent but a lovely crowd and a great atmosphere despite the downpours! #weddingcatering #devonweddings #sharingplatters #summercolours #foodporn #foodiesofinstagram #swisbest #croyde #devonfood #devon A photo posted by Beth & Jim (@seadogfoods) on
2015 Best of the Best winner, Seadog are still doing things the way they did when they first started out. The only difference is that folks now travel miles out of their way to get to taste their out-of-this-world foodie manna. That, and the fact that their trailer travels miles and miles throughout the year to keep up with a jam-packed calendar of festivals, private parties and weddings.
What hasn’t changed since their British Street Food Awards win is their ethos of taking local, Devonshire-caught seafood and pimping it up. Their dishes take on world street food-inspired flavours, spanning Asian, Middle Eastern, European and Latin American cuisines.
If you’d like to find out the latest about foodie events taking place near you, our Food Festival Finder is a great way to get information about festivals and other events being held across the country.