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  1. Big Kahuna Huts

     

    So, who is Big Kahuna?

    Craig Smith! A trained electrician and personal trainer. After the building trade drastically fell in the recession of 2009, Craig decided he needed a change. With a love for markets, car boots and always wanting his own café or ice cream van, he started his own food stall at a busy market in Liverpool. It took a while to get a pitch at this market, having to pester the Market Manager Paul a few times a week until he eventually gave in!

    Big Kahuna Huts

    The first market…

    So, the first Saturday came around, and Craig pitched up his little stall and table against the trailers and cafes that had been running for years. At the end of the first day, Craig made a grand total of £30! Knowing that people had come over to try his food filled Craig with a sense of pride and joy, and he liked it! Over the next few weeks Craig experimented with different foods and drinks until his ‘This Weeks Specials’ board appeared. New and regular customers appeared week after week to see what was on offer.

    Big Kahuna Huts

    Time to expand…

    With his building background, Craig started to get creative and his little stall soon turned into a 20’ x 10’ outdoor café with tables and chairs. Regulars starting coming in to read the morning paper and have a coffee. And now… the ‘BIG KAHUNA’!

    Big Kahuna Huts

    What’s in the name?

    Big Kahuna was made famous by the film Pulp Fiction, however the idea to use the name for the growing catering company was taken from one of Craig’s previous bosses who used to call himself ‘The Big Kahuna’, meaning, The Boss or The Best. It actually originates from Hawaii, where the name was used to call the champion surfer who no one could beat. Hence, ‘The Big Kahuna Catering Company’.

    Big Kahuna Huts

    It doesn’t stop there…

    Now with a catchy name and a cool looking stall, the market pitch had grown into a real business. Faced now with a dilemma of running two businesses Craig decided to sell his beloved pitch and concentrate on Big Kahuna Huts for a while. With the main concentration on designing and building, Kahuna Huts have drastically changed over the years constantly improving quality, build and always having the customer in mind with what they need.

    Big Kahuna Huts

    There is still more…

    Big Kahuna Caterers is still up and running with weddings, events, and festivals which is one of the main reasons why Kahuna Huts works so well. Craig, being the catering and building, means he has full knowledge of his product and what a customer needs for their stall. Craig offers quality advice and has helped many new businesses on their road to street food success.

    Big Kahuna Huts

    Caterer’s Club Discount

    Craig is very kindly offering all Caterer’s Club members a 10% discount on any of his huts (sale or hire). To make the most of this fantastic offer, simply quote ‘Caterers16’ when you place an order on 0333 772 0328. Click here to visit Craig’s website. Don’t wait long, offer must end 31/03/16.

    Craig’s Top Tips

    1. Speak to as many people as you can who are in the business, as they love to give advice.
    2. Spending your money on the right things is crucial at the beginning. Some things that seem important are just not needed at the start. Although some things you really do need to bite the bullet and fork out for as it pays in the long run and pays from the start. Tip 1 will help on this!
    3. A smaller menu is better than a large one. At the start I used to offer a wide range of offerings but then realised people would buy whatever I sold. If something had sold out they would just buy the next item. Honing your menu down to a couple of items will save time, space, waste, increase your profits and you will inevitably be concentrating on making those two products the best you can.
    4. I love branding; it is one of the most important parts to your stall. You can have the best burger in the world but you need to attract that initial customer. When you go to a market have you ever noticed that all stalls look the same? You need to make yourself stand out. So many people have asked if I am a franchise based on my branding and look. For me your name and logo is important and when customers are trying to get their initial start-up costs down this is something that I always try and insist is crucial.
    5. Be prepared for hard work! This is not for the faint hearted but is one of the most rewarding businesses financially and personally I have done. Setting up your own food stall, selling something your passionate about, people coming back to taste your food and the friends you will meet along the way in this business – there is nothing like it!

     

    We would love to hear from you!
    Why not send us your ideas to include in the upcoming newsletters; from government regulations and industry standards to top tips and trader interviews. Or perhaps you would like us to showcase your business? Share your thoughts with us via info@caterersclub.co.uk.

     

     


  2. International Street Food Challenge – August 2015

     

    What influences your decision when choosing where to go on holiday? Weather? People? Food?

    According to The Travel Supermarket a quarter of British holiday makers admitted to booking a holiday purely because they wanted to try the destination’s food.

    The Travel Supermarket decided to try and help people choose their next holiday destination by hosting The International Street Food Challenge. Held on Thursday 13th August 2015 in the trendy Shoreditch area of London, six countries went head to head in the battle to be crowned the winner of the inaugural awards.

    We decided this was an event was not to be missed! Braving the torrential rain and thunder storms which so typically fall in the peak of the summer holidays in the UK, we headed for London. On arrival we were handed voting cards and a token for each stand.

    Heading straight to La Tua Pasta, the experience soon got underway. Usually based in Borough Market, the team at La Tua Pasta have been trading for 9 years and import all their ingredients from Italy ensuring dishes as authentic as possible. Their menu for the day consisted of freshly made ravioli filled with three scrummy fillings; spinach and ricotta, wild boar and pumpkin. Their love of the industry shone through in their food, it tasted absolutely delicious. The fresh, simple flavours of Italy, teamed with their passion for food and friendly charisma made a sure impact on us and certainly tickled our taste for Italian cuisine.

    Half an hour in and the atmosphere was beginning to buzz. Locals were making the event a lunch break stop over and making the most the goodies on offer.

    International Street Food Challenge

     

    Copper Wheat, a French duo from Copenhagen, were offering their own brand of potatoes cooked in duck fat alongside authentic croquet monsieur’s. Unfortunately for Pierre and Alex, they had a delay in the transportation of some equipment which meant they were unable to get started until later in the afternoon. The team who have traded in Denmark for 3 years and change their menu slightly every week, love to keep things fun and strive on being innovative.

    Vinn Goute, a family run unit from the Seychelles were serving up the delights of goat and octopus curry. Their name itself is a phrase derived from the Seychelles meaning ‘Come and Taste’, the name in itself, rather fitting to this event. With a rather long queue formed, we thought we must be in for a treat. Without disappointment, the dishes were full of depth and interesting flavours.

    From the Seychelles to Sri Lanka, we were drawn by the smells to the Kothu Kothu stand. Literally meaning, ‘chop chop’, Kothu Kothu, offered a traditional and famous Sri Lankan street food dish, Kothu Roti. This dish which is constructed and cooked on hot metal grills and bursting with authentic Sri Lankan spices. The method of repeatedly striking and

    mixing the ingredients with blunt metal blades creates a theatrical feel to dish. Traditionally this method of cooking is often ‘performed’ to the beat of music. With only 1 year of trading under their belt, the Kothu Kothu team oozed enthusiasm and clearly have the passion for Sri Lankan food deep in their souls.

    The Orange Buffalo cooked up a treat, serving spicy chicken wings served with buffalo cheese dipping cause and celery sticks (I guess someone had to add something healthy to the menu today!). There was no better way to enjoy these delights than to get your hands dirty and eat with your fingers! Whilst maybe not the most convenient thing to eat while trying to write notes and walk around the event, The Orange Buffalo most certainly served up a flavourful dish. Usually located near the old Truman Brewery, this American cuisine is definitely worth a try.

    To finish the day we headed for a taste of Spain. The Spanish Lab served a vibrant and rather picturesque chicken and chorizo paella served alongside a mini chorizo and rocket burger. The London based team plan to renew the Spanish food scene in the UK. Producing their dishes in their own kitchen, The Spanish Lab like to use a mix of Spanish and London based suppliers and producers, as well as their own home-grown products. Typically serving up over four different London based markets, The Spanish Lab have their hearts fully focused on creating smiley, satisfied customers.

    With the heavens about to open we made a dash for a local coffee shop to write up our notes and discuss the event. This was a fascinating marketing campaign from The Travel Supermarket which most certainly due to my love of food captured my focus. Whilst personally I don’t think I would choose a holiday destination entirely on the desire to try the food, it would have been an influencing factor and possibly even more so now since visiting this event. The event was inspiring and if not anything else has made me re-evaluate my weekly menu and make space for some new dishes, flavours and excitement.

     

     

     


  3. Recipe of the month: Pumpkin and coconut curry

     

    Easy to cook with and packed full of nutrients, pumpkin is perfect as a standalone vegetable dish or as a delicious accompaniment to meat dishes. As the colder weather draws in, what better way to warm up than a flavoursome curry?

    pumpkin

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
    • 1 large pumpkin (600g/1lb 5oz peeled weight), chopped into medium size chunks (you can also use squash if that’s all you have to hand)
    • 1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and roughly chopped into chunks
    • 400g can reduced-fat coconut milk
    • Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped

     

    Method

    Heat a large frying pan or wok, tip in the curry paste and fry for 1 min. Add the squash (or pumpkin) and red pepper, then toss well in the paste.

    Pour in the coconut milk with 200ml water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 mins or until the pumpkin is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Season to taste, then serve scattered with chopped coriander.


  4. Halloween and the world of pumpkins

    Halloween is almost upon us and here at Caterer’s Club HQ, to get into the seasonal spirit, we have been learning all about the world of pumpkins; or more importantly the need to promote the colourful and nutritious culinary delights!

    Halloween takes up a large slice of the British social calendar, much more than it  did a decade ago; possibly due to the rising popularity of North America’s cultural  charm diffusing across to the UK. Given the pumpkins’ fiery orange hue, it is clear to  see why it is used to illuminate homes and provide a colourful glow for retail  establishments. However, the autumnal North American ritual of actually eating the  pumpkin is yet to take on in the UK.

    It has been estimated that 12 million pumpkins are grown in the UK each year. Yet  whilst there are about 15 culinary pumpkin varieties, just 3% of the UK’s production  is geared specifically towards cooking varieties. Even though the government is  actively encouraging people to reduce food waste, the flesh of the many millions of carved pumpkins is likely to go to waste. The flesh is not only edible but highly nutritious: pumpkins are high in fibre and beta-carotene (which the body converts into nutrients).

    What our experts say
    Steve Whitworth, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire based Oakley Farms says:

    “We are seeing a bit of an increase in edible varieties of cucurbits, including butternut squash and pumpkins. Twenty-odd years ago edibles were sought after, then they weren’t, and now they are coming back in vogue again but it probably ties in with seasonal squash and butternut squash sales.”

    Renowned pumpkin grower Paul Southall of D Southall & Sons in Worcestershire also believes the interest in culinary pumpkin varieties has stepped up along with the seasonal availability of squashes and pumpkins. He says:

    “My impression is it’s something that’s building up. There’s now good interest in edible pumpkins, and over a reasonable period from September/early October until post-November. I think the whole pumpkin thing is coming together – along with the “monsters” (extra large-sized pumpkins), squash, Halloween… you’d hope that the edible side is part of it all!”

    As part of a retail wide drive to reduce waste, large supermarket chains are publishing useful recipe ideas to encourage consumers to use up their pumpkin flesh after carving. Some of the recipes include, soups, salads, pasta dishes, curries, cakes, muffins and pies, to name a few! But are these online resources enough to brew up public interest on a monster-sized scale?

    Charlotte Wheeler of Tozer Seeds, Surrey based vegetable breeder believes the industry needs a celebrity face to join the campaign against wasting the pumpkin. Wheeler believes the help of a celebrity chef to make the vegetable fashionable would give the culinary market the boost it needs.

    Paul Southall agrees that the edible side of pumpkins needs to be pushed. He added that:

    “Fortunately, as Halloween nears, some retails are starting to promote these amber globes.” For instance, supermarket Morrisons, recently posted a link on Twitter to a recipe on its website, resourcefully encouraging people to use up leftover pumpkin flesh.”

    pumpkin patch

    It’s a WRAP!

    Waste charity WRAP have launched a campaign, Love Food Hate Waste, which has taken to Twitter to promote the fact that there are so many ways to cook a pumpkin. Social media activity is bound to enchant consumers. Perhaps then, the key to growing the pumpkin category is for the fresh produce industry to lend more support by making the most of all forms of communication? This would include social media platforms, endorsement from chefs and in-store recipe cards that run alongside promotions during the Halloween season.

    Get in touch!

    We love to hear from our members at Caterer’s Club. Do you have any pumpkin recipe ideas? Or perhaps you sell pumpkin based products? Please share this with us by sending any recipes or stories to marketing@caterersclub.co.uk


  5. Next Stop Scotland?

    Scotland may be set to be next top food destination…

    A new event called ‘Taste for Tourism’ is aiming to brand Scotland as a global food destination. The event, held in November in Oban, Scotland, will host food and drink producers as well as tourism businesses with the aim to develop Scotland into a world class top destination for good food and culture.

    The event has been organised by Food from Argyll, Argyll & The Isles Tourism Co-operative and Highlands and Islands enterprise, along with the support of other partners.

    The directory of Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative Ltd has said that although one in every five pound spent by visitors to Scotland is within the food and drink sectors. “If hotels, tour operators and other tourism stakeholders work together with producers to highlight the wealth of excellent food and drink that is on offer and to share our wonderful traditions” this spend could be much higher.


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