In 2014, I was fortunate enough to be invited along to WOMAD Festival to judge the food on offer. And this year once again, Alan Fox and Mark Laurie from NCASS gave me the nod to join them again.
For those that don't know, NCASS are a trade organisation set up to assist and provide food traders and caterers with the information, systems and support to be safe, legal and most importantly, profitable business. They want their traders to succeed and have become a key part of the ever expanding street food and festival food scene. If you are interested in starting a street food business, NCASS will be there to provide you with all the knowledge you need. Check them out.
Back to the festival, WOMAD began in 1982 bringing music from around the world, performance arts and educational projects together offering for great long weekend and camping experience. This year although hit by a lot of rain on the Friday and Sunday, the show continued. Highlighting De La Soul as a personal favourite with a funk and soul backing band banging out all their hits from my teenage years plus a handful of classic 90’s hip hop covers thrown in for good measure. With my favourite line heard being “If you're over 35 you'll know this!”
But I was here to work so let's stick to point, FOOD ;)
NCASS and festival trader manager Lulu Cowley have been working together to ensure all the insurance, hygiene certificates and all paperwork are in order for the traders to have a problem-free weekend and do what they do best... MAKE AND SELL GREAT FOOD!
The festival over the years has always had great food with some of the traders selling their wares at WOMAD for over 25 years. And with the emergence of new traders from the street food scene over the past 5-6 years becoming of a much higher quality (and rightly so) the organisers thought it about time we celebrate how this festival is becoming one of the leaders in great quality festival food. Even with just a year on from my last visit I can certainly vouch for this. With Lulu mixing a blend of older festival traders with newer traders, the offerings match the music with flavours from all over the world. NCASS and Lulu decided to recognise the food traders for their efforts with two categories of the 'Best Meal and 'Best Snack' with a prize of £500 going to each. An extra category was added for 'People's Choice' voted by the festival goers thru twitter (or voting box) offering £500 to the winning trader and a pair of free tickets to the best food tweet using the hashtag #WomadFood. My main task was to judge the categories of 'Best Snack' and 'Best Meal', amongst drumming up buzz with tweets and social media shout outs including an appearance on WOMAD Radio. And of course, eating and eat I certainly did. The food was so good so we decided to have shared winners in each category and here they are...
- BEST SNACK -
Dorshi - Amazing East Asian dumplings using British produce
Oysters On Wheels - Pan-fried scallops and smoked salmon on toast at a festival? YES PLEASE!!
- BEST MEAL-
The Thoroughly Wild Meat Company - Lamb tagine of the highest order with mezes
The Chai Shop Organic - Organic and hearty veggie curries, chai and cakes.
Many Thanks to WOMAD, Mark & Alan from NCASS, Lulu and her team and all the food traders for a great weekend.