In the 1950's my Grandparents travelled around the local area with their horse and cart to sell the best Yorkshire made ice cream.I guess this was the original street food in the UK. My grandparents used to fill a barrel of ice cream and surround it with ice. I love the above photo, my Grandmother is the lady in the head scarf She is not just providing a service, but also a lot of smiles and I like to think we carry on that tradition. Cooking is one of my passions and just over 5 years ago, my Mum and step Dad lent me £500 to start my food business and with that I bought a Bain Marie, a grill, a slow cooker and a wallpapering table!My five year plan was to build up the business and then open up a small cafe/restaurant, but it stated with a small market stall selling street food at Yorkshires biggest farmers market.
At the start I was never going to win business man of the year as I used to spend £40 on food and takings were around £25! But this was a great period to get our menu correct, and equally important to find what the business is about and the direction I needed to take it! So from this, my street food business, Market Wraps was born.I had not heard of street food at this point it was just by luck I started at the right time. I wanted to use my chefing skills and make homemade quality food and sell it to customers without a hefty price tag, which was the main concept of street food. Again with a little bit of luck, once I got these two things right they moved the farmers market from the back of Leeds market to the main shopping street in Leeds and business boomed. Market wraps now celebrates great quality Yorkshire produce.
We do slow cooked braised pulled pork cooked in Yorkshire cider served with homemade coleslaw and homemade relish. Yorkshire pudding wraps, a full Sunday lunch wrapped in our homemade Yorkshire puddings with real stock gravy. Toasted grilled cheese sandwiches using locally sourced breads and locally grown vegetables for our relish.
To celebrate our fifth birthday we decided to take a leaf out of the books of my grandparents and invest in a cart but we don't have a horse this time! The Allotment was born. The vegetables are seasonal, fresh, and local. With lots of herbs and hanging veg, and our uniform is a granddad shirt and flat-cap, we have captured a Yorkshire garden. We are getting inquiries for wedding bookings as far ahead as 2018. Next month we are been featured in the biggest online wedding magazine in Europe, in an article called the "UKs most unique catering companies".
The five year plan, as in life, has not quite gone to plan. I was told at 38 (2 years after starring my business) I have pancreatic cancer, with father research I quickly found out what a dire situation I was in, that I had only a 3% chance of survival. When you have worked at a dream and you can see it is all going in the right direction for once, and all the work you have done is starting to make that dream into a reality, then when something like cancer comes along and threatens to take that dream away, there are two ways to deal with it, to accept or not, I have chosen not.
My business means a lot to me. I am now 42, and I have managed to deal with this cancer four times now, I am curretly finishing off my chemo, and I know how lucky I am and this is very unusual and the doctors are very surprised. This experience has strengthen me, and has made me the person I now am. I now know the true value of every moment, I know I am lucky, I'm surviving and I feel good. I have an unlimited amount of fight in me and a wealth of reasons to fight for. I have found my passion and life is truly amazing. I am very thankful and I am not finishing yet.
When your ill, and when I say ill I mean really ill, it not only as the power to teach and with that lesion I feel more determined more than ever. Why should you vote for me, someone who as not got there health at 100% and is on and off chemo for the past 4 years. I haven't got an answer to that, only I just feel right now, the time is right, and to show that sometimes the impossible becomes possible.
The situation I am in, most doors have closed on financial opportunities, but never give in! When I saw the opportunity of voom, well it sounds perfect.
To follow the dream I would take what I have gained from learning in the past 5 years and put that passion and knowledge and determination and open up a small cafe bar/restaurant to celebrate Yorkshire street food. I would do what we do now but on a larger scale and work with local allotment owners and bring there freshest locally grown food back to our customers, it also gives a nod of respect to the community. We have lots of return customers at our market stall who ask where are we based, it would be great to point our loyal customers to a base.The cafe would not only celebrates Yorkshire produce and food and specialise in our Yorkshire puddings! But also Yorkshire's big heart.
A cafe that creates the street food that has given us the reputation we have gained in the last five years using locally sourced Yorkshire products. I want to not only offer tea and coffee but also a service to the local community.I had no business experience five years ago, and I have learnt so much.
Market Wraps and The Allotment is more to me than making money, its core is about what my grandparents business was about, not just providing a service, but also providing a load of smiles.
A thank you for believing in my pitch! - a wrap from the stall and The Allotment tote bag.
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A thank you for believing in my pitch! - two wraps from the stall, The Allotment tote bag, and our homemade tomatoe chutney.
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Four wraps from the stall, The Allotment tote bag, our homemade tomatoe chutney.
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A booking with The Allotment for 100 people, with a wrap and a box salad for everyone. *subject to dates
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