A dad and daughter business making dumplings, two ‘lads’ from Afghanistan steaming mantu and a one-woman-band from Trinidad and Tobago rolling fresh dhalpuri roti – meet the 9 new businesses who’ve recently joined our InKERBator Programme and catch them trading at KERB West India Quay (Tuesdays), King’s Cross (Wednesdays) and St Kats (Thursdays).
- City born in: Hong Kong & Sailsbury
- Age when started business: 67 & 27
- Profession before street food: Restaurant owner & graphic designer
- Signature dish: Handmade dumplings on sesame peanut noodles
- Favourite restaurant in London: Daddy Bao (my brother’s restaurant – look out for their beer with Dad’s face on!)
“My Dad owned a Chinese restaurant in London for 31 years and recently retired. Ever since- he hasn’t been able to stop making dumplings because he loves them so much so we decided to join forces and start a business. When I was little, my nickname was ‘chubby dumpling’ and by the age of five, Dad had trained me to stuff chopsticks into wrappers and serve prawn crackers to customers in his restaurant. Looking back, these memories fill me with happiness. Watching him lovingly serve up home-made recipes, I learned the joy that food can bring from a young age and want to share these delicious bundles of joy with everyone we meet”.
- City born in: Kandahar & East Jalal Abad, Afghanistan)
- Age when started business: 31 & 25
- Profession before street food: Lab technician & Accountant / Restaurant Owner
- Signature dish: Mantu (steamed dumpling)
- Favourite restaurant in London: Kish Persian restaurant. The food is delicious and portions are massive.
“The main reason we started street food was to introduce Afghan cuisine to the people here in London. Gul owns a restaurant in Seven Sisters (Yum Afghan), and I’ve spent the past four years working in street food with other traders – (most recently, Baba G’s) – after working as a lab technician and studying medicine. We met in London. Most of the people we asked said they’d never tried Afghani street food and when they tried it – they loved it. So we started 2 Lads Kitchen to get more people loving it too”.
- City born in: Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
- Age when started business: 28
- Profession before street food: Consumer PR
- Signature dish: Chicken dhalpuri roti
- Restaurant in London: Il Mirto – Little Italian in East Dulwich. Cheap and cheerful, always my default ‘out for dinner’.
“I moved to the UK when I was 19 to study law. I missed the food from Trinidad & Tobago and so would cook it at home for friends and at uni. After switching to consumer PR, my love for feeding people grew and I decided to start trading on a Saturday at a local market. From there, I eventually quit my job and took on street food and catering full time. My main love is the Indian side of Trini food – roti, paratha, curry mango, geera – love it all! So it’s from there that I took my inspiration and opened up Lagniappe”.
- City born in: Oxford, UK
- Age when started business: 22
- Profession before street food: Professional chef and Superyacht leadhand
- Signature dish: Lamb Barbacoa tacos with plantain fritters
- Favourite restaurant in London: Dishoom and Kricket – the flavours and service and you can’t get it anywhere else.
“We’ve worked in hospitality for as long as we can remember. I worked in professional kitchens while studying cookery; Rupert worked in front of house and worked his way up to managing – and now works as a Market Manager at KERB! We both decided at the age of 18 to take a one-way ticket to the south of France to work on Super Yachts. After 4 years on the yachts and eating as much as we could we fell in love with Mexico and all the street food it had to offer. We decided to save up and start our own food business, moved to South London and launched Dos Mas last year.”
- City born in: London, UK
- Age when started business: 29 & 27
- Profession before street food: Hospitality Manager, Marketing Agent & Accountant
- Signature dish: Chicken tandoori with veg biryani and spicy green chutney spicy green chutney
- Favourite restaurant in London: Nuki Kitchen – Thai family run place in Ealing. Love their story and how proud they are to bring us their dishes.
“Our fathers/ Baba’s were best friends when we were little and were forever churning out seekh kebabs at family BBQs. Last year, after coming to the KERB Workshop in November we threw in our jobs and started a street food business together – inspired by our dads! We wanted to bring some of our home flavours to London streets and we tired of working for other people for things we didn’t believe in. Hearing all the feedback from customers inspires us to do our best – so definitely excited for where the KERB journey will lead us!”
- City born in: London, UK
- Age when started business: 29
- Profession before street food: Graphic designer / grill cook at Stakehaus
- Signature dish: Injera ba Wat (Injera with spicy stew)
- Favourite restaurant in London: Jidori (A tasty Japanese place where my addiction for eggs can be released)
I was always drawn to food and events so took time off graphic designing to work in street food. I decided to stay in this industry after my long stint in Stakehaus when founder Lily Bovey gave me the opportunity to manage her Camden site. This gave me the insight and confidence to open my own business. While doing research on what food to explore, my grandmother released her own cookbook: ‘Ethiopian cookbook principle traditional cuisine’. I want Habesha Kitchen to explore traditional dishes and flavours of Ethiopian and present it to the 21st century. Starting with a street food stall gives me the opportunity for this to develop and get a direct connection to my customers”.
- City born in: Aksaray, Turkey
- Age when started business: 40
- Profession before street food: IT student / Restaurant Manager
- Signature dish: Pide
- Favourite restaurant in London: I don’t have one in London but there’s a place called Zennuo 1884 in Turkey run by a popular Turkish chef Omur Akkor. The food was so amazing that it can’t be compared to anywhere I have been to previously.
“I moved to South London with my family when I was 5 years old. In 1995 they took over a kebab shop in Bermondsey which was when I was introduced to catering. My parents encouraged me to study – I went to IT in college and did a degree while helping with the daily running of the family kebab shop. An opportunity came to acquire a video rental shop next door to the kebab shop. My brother decided to convert it to a pizza place. I was thrown in there to “manage it”. I didn’t even know what flour was!! After years of dealing with the horrid delivery aspect of a pizza delivery shop I began to research street food and, after many trips to Borough Market noticed that Turkish food was being introduced to the catering scenes by those that were not Turkish. I decided to do it myself. A friend of mine asked me to trade at a new market in Blackfriars. I took up the opportunity. It was hard as pide isn’t very well known. A year after I attended the KERB Workshop on how to set up a street food business with the intention to join their InKERBator program and here I am!”
- City born in: London, UK
- Age when started a business: 23
- Profession before street food: Retail Manager
- Signature dish: Reuben sandwich
- Favourite restaurant in London: Barrafina soho. Love tapas and the food is great here. Also love the bar stools no table layout. Gives the resturant alot of atmosphere and is great to see things being cooked and to pick dishes as you go (and wine!).
“I have always loved to travel which inspired me to get into street food. My dad used to live out in New York and took me to the famous Katz Deli for a pastrami on rye when I was little. It blew my mind. After more visits to The States I decided I wanted to start a deli in London as there aren’t many great ones here. I started with basic cooking skills but my love for food allowed me to perfect my recipes and get them on the road! I spent a year and a half working on our own secret recipe salt beef, then eventually got the food truck and hit the streets.”
- City born in: Carlisle and Aberdeen, Scotland
- Age when started business: 32
- Profession before street food: Pilot and dentist
- Signature dish: RIBS
- Favourite restaurant in London: Q&T Vietnamese Kitchen
“We both come from families with a passion for BBQ. (Carlisle and Aberdeenshire being particularly famous for it). Andrew started the business in early 2016, before Pete joined him later on that year after bumping into each other in the karaoke booths at Rowans Ten Pin Bowling in Finsbury Park. Since then, we’ve grown the business to having three set ups that can all trade at the same time and we’re hoping one day to open a small place where we can sell our own Bourbon cocktails too!”
What are our previous graduates up to now?
Since launching the InKERBator Programme in May 2017 we’ve seen graduates open their first fixed sight quicker than ever. Curry On Naanstop’s about to open her first permanent place in Market Halls; Tucka Burger are headed to Dinerama and the likes of Biff’s Jack Shack, Eat Chay and Lords of Poke have opened more than two fixed sites each (while continuing to trade at markets around London) in the past year. Why are there more opportunities for traders in 2019 vs 2012?
“There’s more interest in street food because it’s a great way for entrepreneurs to test a new concept. It’s a more legit industry now – businesses like Bleecker & Pizza Pilgrims’s have ‘proved the model’. So there is more money flooding in from investors and more opportunities are being created to create a more sustainable ecosystem to allow businesses to flourish. Your average customer is now a lot more switched on to what they are eating so want to eat from a more diverse range of businesses and feel like their money is being spent supporting an independent business” – Ollie Hunter, KERB
Look out for Batch No.8 at our markets! Where to find them.
Photos by Jake Davis at Hungry Visuals