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Day in the Life: Jo Doherty, of mac 'n' cheese street food traders, Mac Love

Mac Love are finalists in the Scottish Street Food Awards, which take place in Edinburgh June 25-27

Published: June 23, 2021
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7.30am

Time to wake up. It’s much easier to rise in the summer. Winters can be a bit harder. I head down stairs, pop the coffee on and let our dog Beau out to the garden. My partner Peter and I will wake up slowly sipping our coffees, chatting about the day ahead.

8am

We get to work. Thankfully we are quite organized so the majority of the heavy lifting has been done the night before and the van is packed with the trailer hitched up ready to tow. If it were a day where we were not trading anywhere, I would spend the rest of the morning placing orders, responding to emails and wedding enquiries, doing some bookkeeping, painting signs or anything else that comes my way.

9am

Peter tows the trailer to our pitch, which is only about a five minute drive from our home. I follow along in the car with Beau in the back. We trade from a viewpoint situated on the Fife Coastal Path in between the two charming towns of Newport-on-tay and Tayport, overlooking the River Tay across to Dundee.

Until 11am it's a slick operation. We’ve done this many times now and have found what roles work best for us. I unpack the trailer and start cooking vast amounts of bacon, black pudding and of course, macaroni. Peter prepares the outside of the trailer, fixing on menu boards, getting the power on and, sadly, has to spend some time picking up litter. Beau sits there patiently, staring into the trailer, smelling bacon on the pan. One of us will then take Beau, unwillingly, away for a walk along the Fife Coastal Path.

11am

Showtime. Our hatch opens and the first pan of mac and cheese is whipped up. We start with the roux, adding our secret spice mix and then a three cheese blend to create our signature cheese sauce. One of the most surprising things I have learnt about the world of mac and cheese is that 11am is not an unusual time to enjoy it.

12pm

To keep the ship afloat throughout the day there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done: swapping out 25 litre water canisters, changing gas bottles, lugging 6kg bags of macaroni around. It's a tough job in any season. Winter can be freezing despite standing over the gas burners, Summer can be roasting for that same reason.

3pm

When there is some quiet time, it's always great having a chat with some of our regulars.

5pm

We shut our hatch and start to pack up. The trailer is towed away each day after trading so everything inside needs to be secure.

6pm

We arrive home, the large water canisters are refilled and the van is repacked for the next day.

7pm

Dinner, then we take some time to relax and walk Beau in the forest close to our house.

10pm

Some days can be longer than others and we’re very ready for sleep by now.

Mac Love will be at the Scottish Street Food Awards at The Pitt in Edinburgh, from June 25-27, tickets at www.thepitt.co.uk/

Mac Love's macaroni cheese
Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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