The Life of a Food Trader

8th June 2017 Food

Peckham Festival is approaching and the applications for food & drink traders are coming in thick and fast via our online form. But what is it that makes this lifestyle so enticing! Is it being your own boss? Working outdoors? Constantly meeting new people? Peckham Festival spoke to 3 of the food & drink traders currently based in Copeland Park to see what they love about the job..

Banana Blossom

What do you make and how did you get into it?
Bengali Vegetarian Cuisine

How long have you been trading in Peckham?
3 months

What’s the most memorable (good or bad) place you’ve pitched?
The Oak Dragon Festival nr Aberystwyth Wales, I had only a wok and cooked on an open fire, the wok suspended from an Hazel Tripod which resisted the fierce heat. No money changed hands, but myself and Wit – my companero had a fab time under the open skies

If you weren’t a food/drink trader, what do you think you would be doing?
Clipping my toenails

What do you love about running your own business?
Not having to answer to anyone but my conscience

Are there any challenges you face?
Making enough fresh food quickly enough. finding fire extinguishers powerful enough to douse burning cars* 

*what happened on Sunday morning

Proper Jerk

What do you make and how did you get into it?
We have launched the Proper Jerk brand with a particular food type that we love to enjoy socially… The Burger!  Our meat burgers are 100% fresh chicken, which is put through a mincer.  We do not use any fillers, processed elements or any other nasty stuff! Our Veggie / Vegan burger boasts a culmination of fresh produce and ingredients : Roasted chick peas, roasted red pepper, caramelised onions, raw pumpkin, raw carrots, spinach, callaloo (leaf vegetable) and jerk spices. We are very conscious of producing what we think is a premium product at an affordable price.  Our artisan burgers are produced in our local Peckham kitchen.

I have actually been a trained chef for over 20 years now… (I know I dont look old enough!). I have had the privilege of working on some wonderful platforms such as the Canadian Embassy, The National Portrait Gallery etc… The company started through a real hunger, drive and passion to deliver traditional Caribbean food with a contemporary twist / focus on sustainability.

How long have you been trading in Peckham? 
We have been trading in Peckham for approximately 3 months now.

What brought you here? 
We actually live in the area… have done since around… ooo lets see! 1981ish!

What’s the most memorable (good or bad) place you’ve pitched? 
ooooooo if we tell you, we’ll have to kill you!!

If you weren’t a food trader what would you be doing?
Sitting on a beach in the Caribbean? No, seriously though! I actually really wanted to be a carpenter / joiner, I was always intrigued by precision and accuracy required to produce beautifully made furniture pieces.

What do you love about running your own business? 
Oh, I would have to say, the freedom, flexibility and meeting a very diverse community of people – I really am a people person and being able to chit chat with our adoring public is fantastic!!

Are there any challenges you face?
Well, although we are a small team, I now feel like the Captain of a ship! Its been a real growth and development process in terms of how important it is to invest in yourself, your team and your product before you can start to see a return in business… and at times, there doesn’t seem to be a cut off point to the working day… leave late, get in early… but I wouldnt have it any other way!

Table and Tent Coffee

What do you make and how did you get into it?
I’ve made espresso based beverages since 2014 – Sadly, having lost my older brother Paul to brain cancer 3 years ago – living and working together I needed a change. Nothing got me out of bed apart from a good espresso! Randomly my roaster and my brother both were in the same year at school and so we created an espresso blend that reflected my brothers colourful life and to help give my life more purpose. We called it BIG BRO ESPRESSO comprising of 2 farms from El Salvador and one farm in Coloumbia – speciality grade, roasted in Mile End and brewed in Peckham!  Love and care goes into making each espresso.

The milk comes from a small dairy farm in Kent called Northiam dairy (non supermarket milk, specific for making coffee).

How long have you been trading in Peckham? 
Since March this year

What brought you here? 
The lovely Sydney Thornbury of Beckenham Place Park 

If you weren’t a food/drink trader, what do you think you would be doing? 
I can’t even begin to imagine that scenario!

What do you love about running your own business?
The daily adventure and the people you meet along the way

Are there any challenges you face?
Everyday had its own challenges

If you haven’t yet applied to be part of Peckham Festival 2017 then don’t worry you have until the end of June to do so! Fill out the form here.