Scotland's best Street Food Trader has been announced at the inaugural Scottish Street Food Awards event in Edinburgh.

Hailing from all across the country, the finalists descended on The Pitt street food market in the capital this weekend (12th to the 14th May) to see who would be crowned Scotland’s best.

After heats on the Friday and Saturday, two of Scotland’s top chefs Mark Greenaway and Neil Forbes, who were the judges for the event, chose their champion on the Sunday.

Winner Robin Strigner and his team with their award. Picture: Adam Williamson

After some deliberation, Fried Chicken hotshots The Buffalo Truck were crowned Scotland’s Best Street Food Trader for 2017, and they will now go on to compete in the finals of the 2017 British Street Food Awards in Manchester and — possibly — the inaugural European Street Food Awards in Berlin.

Ròst Eats were on hand with their delicious seasonal menu. Picture: Adam Williamson

The Edinburgh-based champion will be joined by seafood specialists ShrimpWreck, who recently had a star turn at Taste Buchanan in Glasgow and were voted as the People’s Choice at the event.

ShrimpWreck were chosen as the People’s Choice. Picture: Adam Williamson

The winning pair were joined across the weekend by a star-studded cast of Scotland’s best and brightest al fresco cooks, with the likes of husband and wife team and champions of Scottish cuisine, Fresh r-evol-ution; purveyors of Czech cuisine, The Prague Shack; Global meat dish specialists, Umami Spice Girl Ltd and grilled cheese expert, The Cheesy Toast Shack all battling it out to take the crown.

Picture: Adam Williamson

Launched by journalist Richard Johnson, who founded the British Street Food Awards back in 2009, this is the first year Scotland has had its own dedicated version of the awards.

Held at The Pitt, a street food focused market based in Edinburgh’s Pitt Street between Leith and Newhaven, the event was a hit with visitors (despite the weather on the first two days) and included fire pits, live music and Barney’s beer on tap at the bar.

Picture: Adam Williamson

Neil Forbes, head chef at Café St Honore and one of the judges of the inaugural awards, along with Mark Greenaway, said: “I had the best time in a long while judging the inaugural Scottish Street Food Awards.

Chef and judge Neil Forbes gives Robin his award. Picture: Adam Williamson

“Inspiring stuff. In fact, one of the chefs in my kitchen left last year to set up as a street food trader himself! The quality at the Awards was superb.

“The cooking was exceptional and the thought and the process that went into it all was fantastic. Great taste great flavours and some of those dishes – especially the chicken from The Buffalo Truck – will stay with me for a long while.”

Some of the food on offer from street food specialist Chompsky. Picture: Adam Williamson

Winner and fried chicken specialist Robin Strigner, who describes his food offering as “high-class filth” said: “I’m still in a slight state of disbelief after the weekend. I entered the competition never even expecting to get through the first heat, never mind winning the whole thing. Obviously I knew that people enjoyed my food – our customers tell us all the time. But traditionally fried chicken isn’t really seen as sophisticated, and when I saw what we were up against with the other traders I didn’t think we stood a chance.

“What I always aimed to achieve with my food was to take something humble, and to make it the best it can be; from the exact brining recipe, to the spices, to the temperature of the oil, and even the thickness of the pickles.

“And I think winning this award really gives recognition to the time and effort I have put into every detail, and to me that makes all the hard work worthwhile.

The champion vendor added that events like this wouldn’t be possible without the help of venues like The Pitt, he said: “Street food has blown up in Scotland over the last couple of years, and new traders and events are popping up all the time.

“Venues such as The Pitt have been instrumental in encouraging a culture where people come together to have fun and enjoy good food made by local people, and I’m pleased and grateful to have been a part of that. And I look forward to continuing to be a part of it”

“As for what is coming next. Winning this award could be a game changer for the business, and I’m looking forward to an exciting summer trading in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“And then of course there are the British Street Food finals in September – it’s going to be incredible to even take part, but then to have the opportunity to go on from there to the European finals in Berlin is just something else. I’m desperately trying to resist the temptation to say something about counting my chickens.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Richard Johnson, Mark Greenaway and Neil Forbes, the guys at The Pitt, my fellow Scottish traders and all my customers.”

 

 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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