|How San Fran streetfood inspired StrEAT|
|Tuesday, 06 March 2012 00:00|
Life’s not all about self-gratification. I’m not religious, but there’s something warm and fuzzy about feeding the 5000 with only two fishes (oh, and a splash of good wine to wash it down).
These feelings about helping others surfaced when I took a trip to San Francisco last year. The street food bug had already hit me and plans were afoot. But the real thinking hadn’t been done - yet.
La Cocina is a small food business incubator helping low income, predominantly migrant Latino women, to set themselves up with food businesses – sometime they go onto become mobile food traders, but other ‘graduates’ are into producing handmade delights.
La Cocina has a large industrial kitchen which can be hired by their fledgling businesses. Their incubator programme includes training, so participants are less likely to come unstuck when navigating tough food regulations. La Cocina also helps with super slick branding and setting students up on the all important social media – hell, this fine city is just up the road from Silicon Valley.
Cristina Arantes of Kika’s Treats is a former graduate. She’s of Brazilian nationality, a keen baker and makes chocolate covered baked goodies – shortbread, Brazilian honey cakes that kind of thing, and she’s just launched a range of caramels. www.kikastreats.com
La Cocina also hosts the annual street food festival (2012 will be it's 4th year) which is probably the biggest organised street food gathering in the world. This annual pilgrimage now draws crowds of over 70,000 foodies from all over California. The food hails from every continent, and most interestingly lots of the vendors are spearheading the ‘fusion’ aspect of Californian cuisine. Tandoori taco anyone? This wacky creation is the brainchild of ‘cowboys and turbans’ of LA.
It’s great to see the buzz around street food in the US and also now on the mean streets of London.
Now, the next challenge is to educate ordinary people outside of these hubs about eating healthy, quick convenient food which isn’t mass produced on a global scale but puts £££’s into the pockets of hard working food vendors.
Great tasting, locally sourced and prepared meals & a regular source of income for a local family. That’s gotta be a win-win situation?
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