With summer well and truly on the way, street parties back in fashion and carnival just around the corner, this is the time to explore London’s street food scene.
Forget expensive restaurants – some of the best food around is being served straight from the back of trailers, carts and vintage vans. A grass roots revolution is happening in British food, and it’s being championed by award-winning journalist and broadcaster Richard Johnson.
Inspired by his travels, and a love of global street food – served by the locals to the locals – Richard Johnson founded the British Street Food Awards in 2010 to celebrate our own food heroes and prove once and for all that the old days of cheap greasy sausages with over-fried onions are well and truly over.
He was later inspired to write Street Food Revolution, in which he tells the remarkable stories of 20 budding entrepreneurs who have chosen wheels over bricks and mortar to peddle their wares. Meet Tony Stone of Stoats, who takes the plain out of porridge and adds whisky, cranachan and fudge to make it anything but; Kitty Travers who runs La Grotta Ices from her south London flat where the freezers bulge at the seams with amazing homemade creations such as Raspberry and Fig Leaf Granita and Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream; or Yianni, who fell so much in love with American street food that he decided to open the cult Meatwagon this side of the Atlantic, armed with the perfect meatloaf and a homage to the New York cheese burger.
Street food is all about the food we want to eat. These vendors serve up delicious meals that are prepared and cooked right in front of you. They offer only a few dishes but they do them to perfection. What’s more, they work with the seasons and use fresh local, ingredients as a matter of course, being cheaper and easier to source. And, in a modern world of twitter and facebook it’s easy to tell your customers where you’ll be at short notice.
As a final piece of advice, KHT urges all readers to ensure any street vendors they purchase from have valid trading licences and food hygiene certificates. Similarly, anyone interested in establishing themselves as a street vendor must first consult with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Licensing Department.