Meet Bel Shapiro from The Bell & Brisket (www.thebrisket.co.uk) @brisketbel joining the FBC12 Market to feed a surge of food-passionate attendees with her delicious, mouth watering salt beef & Ale combo!
So, just who are / what is The Bell & Brisket?
I’m Bel…so it’s me and my beef. So glamourous! Bell & Brisket is all about salt beef, pickles and beer and is intended as a simple and traditional offer but with a bit of a pickley twist! Wherever possible I like to include a pint of beer with the food and have teamed up with Brew Master, Peter Haydon and his “A Head In A Hat” range of ales.
What can FBC12 attendees expect from The Bell & Brisket at the event?
For the FBC12 Market we’ll be showcasing a menu of hand brined salt beef and our range of pickled cabbage, kimchi, beetroot all served on rye bread, wraps or Brick Lane bagels. There may even be a pickled egg or two to have alongside some A Head in a Hat ale (aheadinahat.com).
What inspired you to start The Bell & Brisket?
I left my job. Actually I sprinted faster than Usian Bolt away from my job, like a rat from a sinking ship! However I left armed with knowledge and experience; it was a start up takeaway chain and went through very turbulent times, so I had learnt the hard way and felt confident I could do this myself and do it better. I wanted to do something that I could cope with single handedly, I am no chef, but good at working with simple flavours and combinations. I’ve always been a fan of the meat / pickle combo, harking back to the pub ham ploughmans I’d have as a kid. I was interested in the salt beef idea as it has such a great London heritage, and I sensed it was due for a comeback.
And where do you see it going?
My current plan is to find the funding to convert an old horse trailer into a mobile salt beef bar / pub, and take it to festivals, horse trials etc, as well as street food events, corporate and private. I’m currently running a Crowd Funding project to raise the finance to pay for the trailer conversion. (www.pleasefund.us/projects/the-bell-brisket-trailer)
Tell us a bit about food from The Bell & Brisket?
Obviously the salt beef is the hero, its hand brined, slow cooked and delicious. I have customers who have a serious addiction to it and go a bit starry eyed when they are anywhere near the stall! The homemade pickles range from beetroot & horseradish, pickled red cabbage, and salsa verde, as well as the traditional brine pickled gherkins. The one pickle that I don’t make myself is the kimchi, purely because Nick from Vadaz Deli does it so much better than me! (vadaszdeli.co.uk)
The beef and pickle combinations are then served on Caraway Rye bread, Brick Lane bagels or wraps, with a range of mustards.
What does it mean to you?
I love it. There is nothing better than making people happy through the food that you serve.
What makes the food you serve so special?
The salt beef is very good. Its a tricky product to get right and can be so disappointing if handled incorrectly. I’ve kept a traditional element but then given it my own twist. Take the Lord Rupert for instance, this is a very British Reuben, with beef, pickled cabbage, dijonnaise and melted mature cheddar, then there’s the kimchi version, again with melted cheese. It’s so tasty and simple, if you just want a salt beef bagel then go for it. They are the best.
After The Bell & Brisket, what other street food traders out there do you think are really good?
I’m going to be totally biased towards my chums at Harringay Market: the freshest tasting Katsu Curry from Alley Katsu, the most ridiculously gooey, celebrity named brownies from Batch Bakery, and the Hungarian Hungry Wolf. Elsewhere I’d say the best burger I’ve had recently is from Mother Flipper.
If you could only eat one dish, which would it be?
What? Like my last meal ever? I think it would be a roast dinner, probably chicken, with all the trimmings but most essentially with cauliflower cheese.
Do you have a food blog?
Technically its a blog site, but I use it more like a website, with updates and diary posts on the Bell & Brisket’s activities.
Who is your favourite food blogger?
Chris Osburn – www.tikichris.com He is so prolific and covers so many topics, not just about food but great photography and London life.
What effect are food bloggers having on the country’s food scene?
As food bloggers are so prolific in their productivity, they hungrily search out the new and the interesting, it can be really helpful for a young food business’ to get some feedback, reviews and coverage and to create a buzz around their concept. Bloggers talk, spread the word, create networks and can be as influential as a professional critic in aiding a small business into the spotlight.
What’s your favourite new ‘trend’ on the British food scene at the moment?
I like what the Endurance is doing at the moment, having short residencies for chefs to showcase their work. The short run and specific time slots compel you to get yourself there before the residency is over. It keeps a venue fresh and interesting.
Where can we find The Bell & Brisket?
We’re at Harringay Market every Sunday (www.harringaymarket.co.uk), Camden Town Brewery every fortnight (www.camdentownbrewery.com), as well as private and corporate event catering.
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