Why did you enter the awards?
I entered as a result of my Atalian Servest colleagues suggesting I go for it. I thought it would be an amazing opportunity and really couldn’t say no!
Street food has become so broad, how did you decide what to cook?
I had so many ideas and, honestly, I wasn’t sure which one I was going to choose. My team around me helped me choose the best recipes, though. In the end I went with Korean chicken wings with pak choi kimchi served with home-made ginger beer. My vegetarian dish was aromatic dumplings in a rich broth, and the signature one was stuffed savoy cabbage with minced pork, rice and wild mushrooms, served with pickled red cabbage and a tomato sauce.
How do you stay calm under pressure when competing?
I have such a great team, who accompanied me at the competition, for moral support. I’m used to cooking with them around, so this felt natural. Having this support allowed me to focus under pressure and drove me to create the best quality dishes I could. I don’t think I would have been able to perform to the best of my ability if I wasn’t surrounded by this support network.
Why has street food become so popular?
The popularity of street food is largely due to the fact that there is a huge variety of different flavours from different cultures and this, ultimately, brings people together. In B&I catering in particular, where workplaces are heavily emphasising collaboration, this is so important. Street food is now easily available and provides an opportunity for customers to experience new culinary experiences.
How do you get street food onto your menus at work?
The key is to be open-minded and to help clients to understand the offering. We are lucky that many of our clients enjoy trying new things and, as a result of that, the incorporation of street food into our menus has been received well.
What effect has it had on contract catering?
At the awards day, it was so great to watch a variety of people from different backgrounds, cultures and, of course, contract catering companies all cooking alongside one another and seeing their ideas come to life through execution. In day-to-day contract catering, street food has the opportunity to enhance creativity and the sharing of ideas, as it’s all open to interpretation. I think street food is very much an exploration of a chef’s capability and personal creativity, so events like the StrEat Food Awards mean we learn from one another and explore a host of new ideas and recipes.
Did you enjoy the competition?
I definitely enjoyed the competition. It’s been a fantastic experience and a valuable learning curve, working under such pressure was a great way to expand on my skills and I had great fun too.
What’s next in the world of street food?
There are so many recipes out there that are yet to even be created, dishes that need to be tried and adapted and this is hugely exciting in all aspects of catering, which is what makes it such a brilliant industry. In the future, we’ll see even more adoption of more obscure dishes from the far corners of the world and, as such, ingredients lists and flavour combinations will continue to develop and expand. There are endless possibilities surrounding street food, and at Angel Hill Food Co we have a very bright future ahead of us – one which I’m thrilled to be a part of.