First came the naked chef who made cooking cool, then came Ramsay whose rage (and language) gave it an edge and before we knew it we were living in a food revolution! Professional chefs are the new rock stars with sexy full page spreads in magazines and TV shows that people watch with all the attention and thrill they give to EastEnders! It has clearly never been a bigger time to get involved in food and if they can do it, why can’t we? If you fancy throwing your tall white hat into the foodie arena then get one step ahead of the curve and dive into street food.
Street Food: The Future Of Fine Dining
Silver platters and silver service are fast becoming a thing of the past, the new revolutions in food are taking place on the pavements of Britain. Street food used to be about greasy late night kebabs and a 6am bacon roll dripping in grease but no more, outdoor vendors are utilising the streets to pedal the latest, most exciting, most inspired cuisine without the strict financial barriers that come with a restaurant location.
In many ways the future of street food is a throwback to the past. Inspired and varied street vending used to be a staple of British life with pre-industrial revolution peddlers selling hot pies, sandwiches, flans and tarts filled with a mouth watering (though sometimes not so mouth watering, anyone for sheep’s trotters?) palette of meats, vegetables and fruits. They may not have adhered to modern day hygiene standards but they were certainly more creative than the local burger and chips van that roams your city centre in the dead of a Friday night, now though the foodies are pulling street food’s reputation out of the gutter and into the stars, 5 stars to be exact.
Be Inspired By Overseas Trends
You need to find your niche to stand out from the crowd. Cast your eye over the melting pot that is the streets of New York: classic hot dog vendors side by side with Korean Bulgogi sellers, Japanese age-manjyu cooks and Israeli pretzel merchants! The streets of Leeds, London and Leicester can and should be just as exhilarating and exotic, find the food that arouses your excitement and take to the streets, don’t limit your creativity.
Follow The Foodies To Corner Your Market
Once your reputation is built up the legions of food lovers will travel far and wide to sample your cuisine, but until then you need to scratch their back and head to them. Location is key in street food, if you set up on the side of a motorway or in an industrial estate 20 miles outside of Birmingham, you might be selling but you’re not growing, the key is going to where the foodies go. Festivals are prime locale for inspired street food and many a successful vendor have started their career that way; music, literary and arts festivals are brimming with hungry people from all over the country and during the summer you can turn a good profit with the sheer volume of events to choose from.
Remember, when it comes to festivals and events there’s bound to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen so make sure your business stands out. An investment in a tent or kiosk with a stand out sign and barriers lets people know you mean business; it looks professional while retaining the casual allure of street vending you want to project. Make sure your sign is eye catching and informative, don’t try to be too clever or wordy or you’ll miss the hungry revellers who want to eat, not read.
Your Passion Will Only Get You So Far
You could have all the talent and passion of Rick Stein but without basic business know-how you’ll be lucky to break even. If your skills in the kitchen don’t extend to numbers you might want to consider pairing up with a partner who can take care of the costs, pricing and permits while you get creative.
Believe In Your Skill And Don’t Take No For An Answer
If you truly believe you have what it takes to kick start a career in street food don’t let anyone get in your way; start small, work hard and stick to your guns, there’s no time like the present so make today the day you take the plunge in the fantastical world of culinary creativity.
This post was written by Emma Smith on behalf of Trade Gazebos And Barriers, a leading trader of heavy duty gazebos and cafe barriers that are ideal for creating inspired street food.