Smoke and Soul will be flying the flag for the north and north-east when top street food vendors from across Scotland compete to be crowned the best in the country.
Taking place over the weekend of June 25-27 at The Pitt in Edinburgh, many of the country’s best-loved street food vendors will come together to compete in a weekend of cooking hoping to be crowned in the Scottish Street Food Awards 2021.
With the potential for there to be two winners, with both a public vote and a judges’ vote coming into play across the weekend, the vendors who win at the Scottish awards will go on to compete in the British final in September.
Members of the public who visit the competition in Edinburgh across the weekend will be offered the opportunity to sample food from many of Scotland’s street food traders, and will be asked to vote for their favourite upon leaving the venue.
This, along with a panel of expert street food judges (Ailidh Forlan, author of Street Food Scotland, and award-winning chefs Stuart Ralston from Aizle and Noto, and Campbell Mickel from Merienda) choosing a winner, will help to decide the ultimate Scottish street food champions.
Smoke and Soul
Lindsay Jackson, one of the owners of Smoke and Soul, says she is delighted the team is able to take part in the Scottish final.
She added: “Applications were open to all street food traders around Scotland. Our kitchen residency at Six Degrees North has only just reopened after five months of closures and we’re in the process of settling into our new production kitchen, so we were apprehensive about how we could manage such a commitment to run a three-day event so far from home, if we were chosen.
“But a number of our followers encouraged us to go for it so – right before the cut off date – we applied online, hoped for the best and figured we’d worry about the logistics later!”
Understanding the importance of the awards’ venue The Pitt to Scotland’s street food scene, Lindsay is thrilled that they are being given the chance to trade there as part of the final.
“We were contacted by the organisers of the awards, who also run The Pitt in Edinburgh; a venue we’ve been dying to trade at ever since we met the owners a few years back,” she added.
“It’s such a cool venue. We were shocked but incredibly excited to be invited. There are some incredible street food traders across Scotland but there is still so much room for new aspiring foodies to create their own concepts and join the growing Scottish street food scene.”
Taking part in the awards is the start of what Lindsay hopes is an exciting summer of events for the business.
She continues: “There’s not been many events organised in Aberdeen these past few months for street food traders to attend, as Covid restrictions are just lifting here, but we are remaining optimistic for more event organisers to start planning again soon.
The Scottish street food awards is a great way for us to kickstart our summer and will give us the confidence to accept bookings further afield in future!
“We’re currently working on some ideas we have in mind for bringing our own events to Aberdeen, using our experience running a few of our own in the past. Our new premises has a large yard, big enough for a number of street food traders to work alongside us, so that is an option we are looking into at the moment.
“The Scottish street food awards is a great way for us to kickstart our summer and will give us the confidence to accept bookings further afield in future!”
Richard Johnson, who is organising the street food awards in Scotland, Wales and England over the next few months, explained the important role that the general public will have in deciding the winners.
“There will be at least two winners from the event – a people’s choice and a judges choice. Everyone who comes along will be issued with a vote and will be encouraged to go around and try their favourites. Then people will vote for their favourite before they leave.
“Those votes will get added up over the three days and the winner gets declared at the end.
“There will be a £3 entry fee to the event so that we are able to control numbers and prevent crowding inside and making the event Covid-safe. Visitors to the event will also have to buy any food they want to try from the traders, which is why we’ve asked them to do smaller, tasting portions that are cheaper than their usuals.
“The Scottish awards also act as a heat for the British final – as we will have other heats happening in Wales and two in England. We will probably have about 16 or 17 spaces at the British finals in Hull in September, so there will be a couple of extra wild cards chosen from across the heats that didn’t win their event.
“Normally the winner of the British finals would then go on to compete in Europe, but unfortunately, this year with the virus, it’s just not going to happen.”
Other vendors taking part in the Scottish finals include Gallus Streetfood, Wanderers Kneaded, Stag Bites the Hog, Fat Flamingo, Taberu, Antojitos Truck, Smokey Trotters Kitchen, Pakora Explorer, Soulfull Grub, Free the Chilli, Mac Love, and The Peruvian.