For one weekend in September, the iconic Mayfield depot will become the centre of the street food world.
The 2017 British Street Food Awards – the toughest street food competition in the world – is coming up north and GRUB, Manchester’s premier street food events company, are playing hosts.
The tournament is broken down into five regional heats. The 17 best traders in the UK will be fighting it out to be crowned champion and win the right to represent Britain in the inaugural European Street Food Awards in Berlin.
Lucky punters will enjoy free tastings of the competition dishes as well as testers of the craft beers involved in GRUB’s craft beer festival, drawn from the best breweries in Manchester and beyond. The free tasters will mean the people of Manchester get to try everything before voting for the People’s Choice.
A guest panel, including Andi Oliver (BBC’s Great British Menu) and Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter, will vote for the Best of the Best. Both winners will go to Berlin where they will take on other national champions from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Ireland and the Netherlands.
All across the continent, traders are taking traditional street foods – whether it’s banitsa in Bulgaria, gelato in Italy or churros in Spain – and repurposing them for a new generation.
With Manchester’s own street food scene booming and the reopening of the Corn Exchange, Mancs are clearly ahead of the curve yet again.
“Street food is taking over” says Richard Johnson, founder of the BSFAs. “And that’s because we are choosing to eat in different ways.
“We don’t want a fixed starter-main course-dessert menu any more. We want a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s flirty, low commitment dining, and it’s why pop-ups and street food have become so popular. Street food is making the world a much nicer place.”
GRUB founder Jason Bailey said: “We’ve worked hard for the last three years to build our events and Manchester’s street food scene so it’s a massive honour for us and a great acknowledgement of our home city to be hosting the British Street Food Award final. It’s going to be magic”.