It's All Gravy: Part 3 - Thou Shalt Provideth Good Vibes
*A fire crackles delicately in the corner of an old drawing room bedecked with an antique globe, a mahogany scotch cabinet and a complete collection of those Encyclopedia Britannica books your Grandad never read. An extremely handsome man reads the newspaper, chuckling heartily as he draws on his pipe.*
Oh, hello. Sorry, didn’t see you there. Just reading the news. It really brings a smile to one’s face of late. Just glad it’s all fake or else we’d be really screwed. Ahhhh, 2017. What a time we’ve had so far. We’ve made it to May without destroying one another, which seemed like quite an optimistic prediction at the back end of last year. Well done one and all, only eight months to go.
Whilst you’re here, let’s get onto the slightly more straight-forward topic of street food. Our happy place...
Sticking with the survival theme, we like to think last year was the ‘Bear Grylls’ year for The Gravy Train. No, we didn’t habitually quaff our own piss or hollow out a moose for company, but the name of the game was indeed survival, albeit slightly less barbaric. Catering can be a cruel mistress and sure, we got a few bumps and scrapes along the way, but we came out the other side bigger, better and wiser.
“But why are you telling us all this?” I hear the nihilists half-heartedly say. Well, for those of you that are new to this blog, you’re currently reading the third post in a series of advice articles for new food traders about to go into their first year, or what we’re calling our ‘Street Food Commandments for new traders’ or something or nothing.
I never not dun nuffin’
These are our top tips for newbies what might just save your bacon (or falafel) in 2017. So please new traders, or anyone else that has approximately three and a half minutes to kill before clocking off at work, grab a pouffe, help yourself to a Laphroaig from the cabinet and let us tell you what is probably really obvious and/or patronising...
Commandment Number Three:
Thou Shalt Provideth Good Vibes
Businessmen are supposed to be closed-off, cut-throat bastards, right? Look at all the big billionaires. Zuckerberg screwed them twins out of their Facebook fortune. Microsoft shadily snuffed out their early rivals. Donald Trump is unfortunately himself (ooh, political). The only way to get ahead is to step on toes. Survival of the meanest. Right?
Wrong. Seriously. If there is one thing we’ve learnt from this year, it’s that the street food game is, much to our relief, full of some of the friendliest, funniest and most passionate people we’ve ever met, and purposefully stepping on toes and busting heads will most probably bring with it some seriously bad vibes man.
Sure, there’s no doubt that everyone is in competition with one another, and there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of competition. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s so much more rewarding, not primarily for your business, but as a fellow trader/human to be kind, have fun, share tips, give out food and generally be a nice person for God’s sake, amiright?
Little will make you feel more empathetic to your fellow stallholders than standing out in the pissing rain for days on end at what we’ll mildly label a ‘less-than-prosperous’ event where you’ve forgotten even the concept of having toes. Having a chin wag at times like these just makes the world a better place. It’s good for morale and makes you feel like you’re progressing even when you might be watching money trickle down the drain. Make sure to get out there and talk to other traders. Pass on tips of events that went well and maybe others that might be best avoided. You may just come across a few crackers and avoid a few stinkin’, muddy pitfalls yourself by being open.
Here’s another idea - why not work on someone else’s food stall for a day or two? You’ll be so surprised at how much you can learn from a few hours pitching in, from building up contacts, to hearing about a new event, to seeing that interesting little way they’ve got their equipment setup that could save you hundreds of pounds or thousands of minutes. (Street food traders are an innovative bunch!) It’s such a great way to learn the ropes.
With all this in mind, we think it’s about time we sent out some good vibes of our own, so get ready for a trader/market love-in….
Thanks to John at Wallace and Sons for the banging kimchi/poutine collaboration and the laughs through a tricky Xmas. Thanks to Jack at Pie Eyed for being a proper good chap and helping us find a more permanent home. Thanks to Trudy and Justine from Percy and Lily’s for all your invaluable advice, especially in the beginning.
Thanks to Flick, Dan and Charlotte from Sausage Box for your top tips (and to Charlotte for helping us out at Yorkshire Tea!). Thanks to Yorkshire Tea themselves for putting up with us and to all the staff on the assembly line and in the offices who tucked in. Thanks to Jack from MacDaddies for lending a very helpful hand dishing up the good stuff. Thanks to Bali from Fancy an Indian for keeping us fed, sane and jumping in when we were struggling.
Thanks to Holly from The Italian Stallion Pizza for pitching in at Christmas like an absolute trooper. Thanks to Steve from The Raclette Bros for being a great sounding board. Thanks to Heather, Ben and Jordan at Peddler for all their support last year and helping spread the word about poutine in South Yorkshire. Thanks to Bailey and Jules at GRUB for being great hosts and being far less alarmed at the gravy spillage than we were.
Thanks to Julie of Sheffield City Council fame for supporting local. Thanks to Nick from Porter Brook Deli just down the road for your unrivalled knowledge of the best local producers. Thanks to Loredana and Claire from Antic for taking a punt on us on more than one occasion. Thanks to Amir from the Gyoza Guys for helping us get the ball rolling down south. And Yaz from Melt City over the pond in Canada for helping us from the gosh darn beginning.
And finally, to all of the following traders, with whom we’ve chatted, chowed and/or chilled:
Market Wraps, Oh Mei Dumplings, Pizza Loco, Buddha Belly, Smokin’ Blues, Fat Annie’s, Goldenballs, The Little Blue Pig, The Waffle Stop, Proove Pizza, Street Food Chef and all the others we have inevitably forgotten (Sorry!)
And for all of you that had to sit through that torrent of mush, we get it. Sickening right? Thanks to you all and can’t wait to see you this season!
That’s all we’ve got for today.
The Gravy Train Poutine