So, over the next few months I am going to introduce you to a few of these fearless culinary buccaneers, and tell you where to find them.
First up is a man with a real success story. Andy Stubbs went from disgruntled warehouse person to food hero in just over a few months. I met him in New Street food market the other day, and this is his story:
Firstly, what were you doing before you got into street food?
I spent my days day dreaming of doing food and hiding from bosses at a dead end factory job wiring electrical panels here in the Midlands, to say I hated what I did is an understatement. I have always longed to do something creative and that I have a passion about but without the correct education or funding, it never seemed possible.
Secondly, how did you get started? What help and support did you get?
I got started after I got made redundant (yeah, as everyone does, I know). I’d been out of work doing bits of building and window fitting work for about six months when someone said that there was a course you can do through the Job Centre that will help build a business plan.
This gave me an idea that I could maybe open a food trailer at a business park or something like that. I have been cooking for friends and family for years and years and spent all my spare time and money on ingredients to cook for my girlfriend and learn new skills.
I attended the course and ideas grew until I discovered the street food scene in Birmingham. Then I went to meet Jack at Digbeth Dining Club for ideas help and advice, Jack, Alan and Mark of NCASS all helped me a great deal to turn my ideas into a reality and it grew from there...
What equipment do you use to cook your product?
I use two smokers; I use the Pro Q frontier and the Weber Smoky Mountain, both are used with restaurant grade lump wood, British oak and imported American Hickory. I also use a BBQ guru forced draft system on the frontier. If I don’t smoke I simply use a huge stock pot and cook on the hob, no slow cookers in sight!
What events do you regularly attend?
Digbeth Dining Club is my home, I love that place you can find me dancing and drinking red wine there most Fridays. If I’m not working there, I am a regular at Brum Yum Yum in Kings Heath, which I enjoy trading at. I do a market twice a month every other Wednesday at New Street Birmingham and pop up in different places. Follow me on Twitter (@andylowandslow) as I always post where I am trading.
Give me a good horror story?
Me at 3am when it’s raining and the smoker is running low on coals, trainers and shorts, hung over cussing at the smoker as I fill it back up with coal and choke on wood smoke. Now that ain’t a pretty sight!