Street Food Championships interview

We speak to this year's Street Food Dish of the Year winner, Dan Aldridge from Eat The Bird...

Congratulations! First of all, please tell us about your winning dish…

The Chicktator is a Korean-inspired chicken burger, with a sweet and sticky sesame glaze on it, then some homemade kimchi and ssamjang mayo for the umami.

What effect do you think this win is going to have on your business?
This prize is really going to get people through the doors to try this dish. The Chicktator has been on the menu for about four years and the Street Food Championships award is now going on the menu next to it – Street Food Dish of the Year! Today’s competition was fierce, and I saw all of this incredible food, so to be crowned top feels so good.

How did it feel when you found out you had won?
I was absolutely blown away, and I am still as much in shock now as I was when my name got called out to go up and collect my prize.

This one’s for every single one of my fantastic team at Eat The Bird who pour their heart and soul into kicking out outrageous fried chicken on the daily. I owe it to them in return for the hard graft they put in to push the brand forward.

What do you think is special about the street food scene?
I’m just super-honoured to be representing a supremely amazing and diverse corner of our incredible hospitality industry. I love street food.

That can’t come as surprise after seven years of towing a trailer round the Devon countryside and setting up every day in a new location. I’ve traded through all kinds of weather, dealt with faulty generators, forgotten stock, had a unit burn down, showed up to festivals that resemble mud pits, prepped 1,000 portions and sold 10 and everything else in between.

I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to turn my business from the streets to bricks – but I’ll always be street food deep down at heart.

Would you like to thank anyone else?
This one also goes out to everyone who has inspired me over the years. Everyone who backed me when I first started and was there week-in, week-out, through all kinds of weather. Everyone who has been – or even thought about coming – to an Eat the Bird. And every single heroic member of staff who has put up with me over the years.

But most of all, I am proud to represent the street food scene. My hat goes off to all of you who are out there trading your arses off. Hopefully I’ll get to try your amazing food soon. Keep doing what you’re doing, because next year’s champion could be you – and without you, we’d all be hungry.

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