Cuisine from all over the world set to hit Norwich when the Feast on the Street returns

The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Denise Bradley The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Denise Bradley

Monday, September 1, 2014
4:16 PM

It’s been a delicious year for Norfolk’s street food collective, Feast on the Street. Stacia Briggs finds out what’s cooking at Feast on the Street in Norwich city centre on Thursday and Friday.

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The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Picture: Denise Bradley

There will be cuisine from all corners of the world on offer in Norwich this week as city diners are offered great food-to-go as part of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014.

Feast on the Street is the brainchild of three Norwich traders, Tony Lacey of Mr T’s Catering, Alex Cooper of Nom Catering and Lisa Carnell of Hushwing Café and is now a regular event in the city, as the outside of the Forum is transformed into an international array of tempting treats on the last Thursday in every month.

On that delicious day, you can look forward to eating pulled pork, waffles on sticks, local ice-cream, chilli, pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, crepes, sweets, doughnuts, noodles, sausages, burgers, cakes, frog’s legs…the list goes on. It may take you all year to sample even a selection.

Tony, who runs Mr T’s Catering, a well-known sight on the A140 near Tasburgh, started his career as a musician, where his interest in food was piqued by necessity rather than desire.

The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Alex Cooper of Nom Catering with their special grilled cheese sandwich. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Alex Cooper of Nom Catering with their special grilled cheese sandwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

“You work strange hours in music and you need to eat at night, so I found a lovely little place called The Attic Restaurant in Leicester, where I lived, and it became like a second home,” he said.

“In the mid-1980s, the owner said he was looking for a partner and so it became my first foray into food. I carried on with the music, though, and it led to a teaching job in Norfolk, so I had to sell my shares. Food was always one of my passions, though, and that never went away.”

Tony’s involvement in music led to television work with Anglia TV and he became a producer, travelling to America to work on the Animal Planet series in a range of locations including New York, San Francisco, Phoenix and Arizona and later travelled in India and Hong Kong, where he enjoyed a wide range of cuisines, particularly street food.

“In other countries, street 
food is just the norm. It’s not a big deal, it’s just way people eat,” he said.

The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Pulled Pork by Tony Lacey of Mr. T's. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. Pulled Pork by Tony Lacey of Mr. T's. Picture: Denise Bradley

“When the TV work dried up, I decided to go back to food, something I know about and something I love. I opened Mr T’s Catering two years ago and I haven’t looked back.”

Tony and other Feast in the Street stall holders strive to use local produce and suppliers to showcase the very best that Norfolk has to offer.

The EDP asked Tony and fellow Feast on the Street organiser Alex to tell us a little bit more about street food....

The Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. The Proper Pizza Company's Margherita Pizza, with Buffalo Mozzarella. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Feast on the Street. Part of the EDP Norfolk Adnams Food and Drink Festival. The Proper Pizza Company's Margherita Pizza, with Buffalo Mozzarella. Picture: Denise Bradley

Alex Cooper of Nom Catering

What’s your signature dish?

Nom Catering is influenced by the US and the street food revolution there over the last 20 years. We create Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: basically two bits of lovely local bread from Breadsource in Horsham St Faith, some excellent local cheese - Norfolk Dapple - and then found out what worked well in the middle! It’s basically American comfort food done in a very British way.Our menu for Feast on the Street on September 4 and 5 will be 92 per cent Norfolk-based, and one we’re really excited about is our P, Brie and J, a twist on the classic PB and J sandwich. We use some divine pear chutney from Candi’s Chutney, creamy Norfolk White Lady Brie and the most succulent and tasty air-dried Coppa Ham from Marsh Pig. Two of our most popular sandwiches are The Grilly Cheesesteak, which has whole chunks of rump steak alongside some onions, peppers and our bacon aioli, a mayonnaise made with bacon dust and the boil from the bacon with a hint of garlic running through it. Another of our popular sauces is our blueberry barbecue sauce which we place in a sandwich with maple-cured bacon from Waveney Valley – it’s our take on an American breakfast.

What’s the main appeal of street food for you?

Street food is easy food yet great food. We like to think it fills the gap between having to go to a restaurant but is a notch above your average takeaway burger. A lot of people involved in street food are people with a huge amount of passion, care and enthusiasm for food first then their business second. I personally would love to try a new recipe then just bring back same sandwiches week after week. That’s the reason I got involved, to be creative, to be exciting and enjoy making people think and enjoy their food. At Feast on the Street, which runs outside The Forum on the last Thursday of every month, as well as the event on September 4 and 5, we have plenty of customers, especially in the evening who come for a quick bite before they head home.

What’s exciting you about British street food right now?

British Street Food is moving forward at a huge pace: gone are the days when street food was simply a cheap burger hashed together in seconds. Now, care, pride and passion go into street food, including some excellent burgers of course. There are influences from all over the world in British street food and the same goes for the people involved. Many are former chefs after a little freedom, many are people who are purely dedicated to the art of their food, and it’s a melting pot of people, passion, great food and cultural influences. Feast on the Street hosted a regional heat of the British Street Food Awards in July and had a great response from our customers. Nom Catering was a proud second place in the publicly voted competition.

Who would you most like to join you for a spot of al fresco on-road dining?

In the culinary world there are two really, well one is a little bit of a cheat! I would love to invite every street food chef for a little gathering, a single collective of street food (that counts, right?!) and a chance to meet all the great chefs in our blossoming industry plus I think there might be some decent things to eat between us, also! A single chef may well be Yoshiaki Takazawa, a little obscure maybe, but any chef who practises the art of molecular gastronomy is an insight to how wonderfully exciting new food can be. I am also a huge fan of Japanese cooking and food: it’s no wonder that street food looks to Asia for its roots in its modern form, as most travel shows told us, it doesn’t matter what a food trader is selling, if there is a queue it’s going to be worth it.

It’s late, you’re hungry, you’re walking home – what would be the very best street food stall for you to find?

Wow, there’s so much to choose from. My favourite cuisine is certainly Japanese and one of the Traders we had at Feast on the Street last month was Cambridge-based Guerrilla Kitchen, who served the most wonderful steamed buns, called Bao, and they are a wonderful meal anytime of the day. I also have an exceptionally sweet tooth, and one of my regular visits at Feast on the Street is to Cupcake and Co, with their scrumptious cupcakes and brownies, and now gelato. If you ask nicely and tell them I sent you, you will be amazed at the ice cream brownie sandwiches they can whip up for you! Of course the pinnacle of my own art form, the grilled cheese sandwich, would probably be Roxy’s food truck from Boston in the States: they have been a huge influence on what I do and have gone from a single guy with a dream to three trucks on the street and now even a restaurant to call their own. And all it comes down to two bits of wonderful bread and some excellent cheese.

Why should people come along to feast in the Street?

The question should be why not! We will have a huge selection of traders on September 4 and 5 alongside our regular date on September 25. There is a huge opportunity to try foods you may never have considered or even heard of before. All our traders are fine-tuned in the art of talking to and celebrating our customers and the food and drink is, of course, divine. You can find the world’s best Mexican chilli, an ice cream brownie sandwich, a waffle on a stick, of course grilled cheese sandwiches and much more in between. Don’t be afraid to try something new: we are there as part of a food festival, the perfect time for letting your taste buds do the talking, so for whatever you need, a quick bite to eat, a business lunch, a hearty evening feast or just a little something sweet, that’s why Feast on the Street exists. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the public and I am sure that all feast on the Street traders thank all our customers, from the regulars to the one-offs, for supporting Norwich street food and we hope thanks to the support to make our events even more regular and exciting.

Tony lacey, of Mr T’s Catering

What’s your signature dish?

It has to be Pulled Pork. It’s from my time spent working in the USA. I’ve worked as a TV producer making a series for Animal Planet across the States from New York to California so I witnessed the evolution of food trucks and street food, evolving from simple hot dog carts to sophisticated rigs selling every type of cuisine. In South Carolina the barbecue is king and slow-roasted meat is a staple. I picked up a recipe from there, made some minor alterations and tried it out on some friends when I set up Mr T’s and after a few try outs it’s now my best-seller. I use local pork shoulder either from Blythburgh or Scotts Field and it’s slow-roasted for at least nine hours.

What’s the main appeal of street food for you?

The smells! You can wander round a street food market and be amazed by the range of smells. I also like the fact that you get to see someone cooking and preparing your food in front of you which is kind of unique in cooking, it’s not what you get in most restaurants and that cooking and whizzing around getting the food ready is part of the excitement of street food. It can be electrifying to watch and certainly helps pass the time if you happen to be in a queue...

What’s exciting you about British street food right now?

Seeing the range and quality of food available on the street. Some of it would be equally at home in a five-star restaurant. I also like that chefs are being experimental in what they’re offering, trying out new recipes, ingredients and fusions. You rarely get that type of freedom in a traditional bricks-and-mortar venue which makes street food vibrant and keeps it fresh.

Who would you most like to join you for a spot of al fresco on-road dining?

Anyone who has turned their nose up at eating on the street! Go to other countries and it’s a way of life. Here it’s always been seen as something to look down on and rather third-class. These days, it rivals anything you’ll find in a classy establishment, but without all the pretentiousness and stuffy waiters! Street food is food as it should be, made and eaten with passion (and you are allowed to get messy if you want!).

It’s late, you’re hungry, you’re walking home – what would be the very best street food stall for you to find?

That’s tough because I like EVERYTHING! But I think for its immediacy (it takes 90 seconds to cook) I’d have to go for one of James Hammond’s pizzas (The Proper Pizza Co). He’s one of those guys who is always trying out new flavour combos and his pizzas always taste yummy no matter what time of the day, or night.

Why should people come along to feast in the Street?

To try out something different and support local traders. We all use local fresh ingredients, so people know where their food comes from which is very important these days. There’s also the friendly atmosphere and banter from the chefs - often you can’t stop them talking about their food! There’s no need to put up with the usual dreary sandwiches or other fayre served up as “fast food” while Feast on the Street is in town.

For more information about the food festival, visit www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk. for more about feast on the Street, visit www.feastonthestreet.co.uk.

Make sure you also visit our Norfolk Food and Drink Festival section at www.edp24.co.uk/norfolk-food-and-drink-festival-2014

3 comments

  • It was advertised as food from all over the world what utter rubbish, half a dozen stalls selling toasted cheese sandwiches, pizza, hotdogs waffle on a stick and duck rolls, where was the thai, chinese, indian and carribien foods, i was looking forward to jerk chicken, it didnt open till 12.

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    gerry mitson

    Saturday, September 6, 2014

  • Coota hell... This is great, but I'd love this on a Saturday as well so those of us not working in the city centre could sample it. I'd be there like a shot. @crazy well done you. I, on the other hand, like quality more often quantity or budget (although I do mix it up and both have a place in the (general) market). Looks like we'll both be catered for. So that's a good thing, yes? Or are you another of the growing group of people who seem to want to decide what should be available for everyone else (this, itself, seeming to be based on some form of inverse snobbery)?

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    lockers

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

  • The food on sale at these events are massively over priced. I would rather support the traders on the Market and other local small businesses for who it is well known are struggling with the council driving in more competition.

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    Crazy

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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