#STREATTALK: AN INTERVIEW WITH MOO PIE Gelato

Her customers labelled it the “best”, the “smoothest”, the “most perfect” ice-cream. Emma Riddell is leaving her mark in the Edinburgh ice-cream scene with her MOO PIE Gelato on wheels – or rather on her bike, Berty. Summer is fast approaching and we can't wait to try MOO PIE's mouth-watering flavours!

We chatted with Emma about her background in food science, coming up with new, unexpected flavours, being the recipient of the much sought-after Transmit loan, and her plans for the future.


Q: Other than the owner of MOO PIE you're also a nutritionist. Do you use your knowledge of nutrition in your ice-cream making?

A: Yes! But not necessarily in the sense of making gelato healthier. I believe gelato should be a dense, delicious, full-sugar, full-fat affair, but understanding the science behind recipe balancing is very important. In order to produce a smooth, creamy gelato, with the correct amount of overrun (the incorporated air), it is essential to balance the fats, sugars and solids within a recipe. My background in food science, allows me to understand the role in which each compound plays and compensates correctly for additional flavours, keeping the recipe balanced and making sure each batch is the best in the biz! 

Q: What made you go for street food rather than a traditional ice-cream parlour?

A: During the initial planning phase, I knew that I wanted MOO PIE to be all about the product. In the first years of business, I attempted to minimise financial commitment, so

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I opted for investing in machines and equipment that would aid me in producing the best gelato I could. I figured, if it was good, then the bricks and mortar may come."

 

In addition, street food is actually an amazing scene to be part of! I had never met a nicer bunch of people! 

Q:  Summer is coming: do you have any new recipes you are going to try for the new season?

A: Yes, we do! Recently, we trialled Eton Mess, made using a fior di latte base, rippled with our in-house fresh Scottish strawberry and balsamic sauce, and then studded with chewy meringue. Another recipe I am keen to try is rhubarb and custard, a rhubarb and sweet cicely sorbet mixed with a creamy custard base, true homage to the boiled sweet classic. 

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We intend to keep it seasonal throughout the summer, taking full advantage of and using as much fresh produce as possible."

 

Q: That sounds delicious! And do you have any specials on your menu at the moment?

A: I like to mix up my menu getting as creative as I can. Trialling flavours is definitely where it gets exciting. This month, I am making a special flavour designed by the pupils of South Morningside After School Club. It’s called Popcorn Madness and it’s a mix of popcorn gelato with a buttery caramel ripple, topped with salted and caramel popcorn.

Q: This one seems super yummy as well! But what is your favourite flavour?

A: Well! It's quite tricky to pick a favourite, but if I had to I'd say a dark beer mixed with chocolate or coffee. A while ago, I made a porter rippled with chocolate fudge in collaboration with Edinburgh-based Barney's Beer. It was so moreish and a totally unexpected flavour. Another amazing combination I tried was blueberry buttermilk and lemon curd. Complete rogue but turned out delish! 

Q: I read you were one of the recipients of the Transmit loan for start-ups. What role did the loan have in setting up your company? 

A: Receiving the transmit loan was a huge turning point in the MOO PIE Gelato story! The loan enabled us to purchase some of the best equipment in gelato production and allowed us to move forward in our mission to produce high quality artisan gelato. For us - and I'm sure many others - the loan is not only a means to start their business, but also provides security and financial reassurance, which is a life saver for many businesses within their first few years of trading. 

Q: What is your advice for young people who would like to follow a similar path and open their own business? 

A: Firstly, I would recommend getting a good feel for the area of business where you would like to operate. Speak to people, make connections, and work within the area. This will serve you for opening your own business. Next, have a good support system around you. It will be tough and any support you have will be a life saviour at times. Lastly,

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if you want to start your own business, do it. Just do it. Go out, research and get excited."

 

At times, it may seem like one of the worst decisions of your life, but ultimately it will be one of the best as you learn new things and get job satisfaction!

Q: What are your plans for the future? 

A: My plans are to keep working away, attending as many events and festivals as possible. For the future, I hope to move into the take-away tubs and wholesale market. For now, my intention is to stick with my wee bike Berty, but I would definitely like to move to a permanent location, creating an open gelato laboratory so that customers can see the gelato production! 


To stay up to date with MOO PIE at events & on social:

Appearing Next: 

26th May @ Canteen, Archerfield Walled Garden

2nd & 3rd June @ Meadows Festival 

16th June @ The Pitt

21st - 24th June @ Royal Highland Show

7th & 8th July @ Bowhouse

Facebook: MOO PIE Gelato 

Instagram: @moopiegelato

#strEATtalk is our narrative series that shines a spotlight on Scotland's culinary scene, focusing on the journeys and stories of up and coming food innovators. Follow #strEATtalk as we get to know the people who are making our nation taste better!

 

 

 

Chickn, Cheeze & No-Zarella: Vegan on The Street

“Veganism isn’t just a diet, but rather a lifestyle that delivers new ideas for tasty food possibilities benefiting people, animals and the environment”

We learned this from FacePlant Foods, a company that masterminds vegan recipes for street food. We caught up with Mandy from FacePlant where she explained how vegan food can be just as exciting and tantalising as good ole' traditional "comfort" street food. Here's what she had to say. 


Q. Veganism is often misrepresented as a restrictive diet, when it is actually a diet that takes a variety of food creations to a new level of innovation and creativity. How long have you been vegan & what spurred you to switch to a vegan diet? 

A. We have both been vegan for several years now, having been long-time vegetarians before that. Moving out of home and to university at 18 really forced us to take responsibility for our own diet and nutrition and so after a lot of research and soul searching, vegetarianism seemed like a no-brainer. It helped that we were both keen cooks in the first place, so experimenting in the kitchen and finding ways to create healthy, balanced meals without meat was a fun hobby.

The switch to veganism came as the logical next step - it is better for us, the animals, the environment and the planet. Another no-brainer! The dairy industry is just as bad as the meat industry and we could no longer participate in that with a clear conscience. We quickly discovered the abundance of plant-based alternatives to animal produce. If you could eat something that is delicious, nutritious and no animal suffering whatsoever has gone into it (not to mention the countless health benefits to yourself), then why wouldn't you? Win-win! 

 

Q. You recreate famous street food with plant-based ingredients, and often with a Scottish twist. Which of your food creations exemplify this description best?  

A. Regardless of the type of cuisine we're doing, we'll always use locally sourced and Scottish-grown produce as far as possible, so even our very popular west-African inspired sweet potato and peanut stew is loaded with Scottish-grown spinach, potatoes and other vegetables.  
We're also partial to chucking a wee bit of Bucky into our BBQ pulled Jackfruit rolls... what's more Scottish than that?! 

 

Q. When it comes to recreating recipes with plant-based ingredients, do you find it challenging to convert foods for vegetarianism and veganism?  

A. Absolutely not! A common misconception about veganism is that it restricts your food choices and variety. We would argue the complete opposite: it opens up your variety and choices in ways you don't even expect. There are many more exciting flavours, combinations and replacements to be discovered once you ditch the animal produce altogether. 

 

Q. What kinds of ingredients do you use to keep food exciting and innovative in the vegan market? 

A. We make all of our own vegan meats and cheezes. We also like to change our menu regularly, depending on the weather, or where we're going to be trading that weekend, or what seasonal produce is available, or just if we get bored and fancy a change! At the moment we're having a lot of fun recreating some old junk food/comfort food favourites that even the most strong-willed vegan would admit to missing! Our mac 'n' cheeze is always a big hit and our deep-fried sweet 'n' sour chickn balls are so popular, they may just have to become a permanent menu item! We're also currently working on perfecting the no-zarella stick to end all no-zarella sticks...so watch this space! 

 

Q. You say you create street food from around the world that is inclusive to most people. How is plant-based street food more inclusive than other types of street food? 

A. Put simply, plant-based food can be eaten and enjoyed by carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, coeliacs, and pescetarians alike! Other than the rare customer with allergies and intolerances, there is nobody that cannot enjoy tasty vegan street food. Sounds pretty inclusive to us! 


Appearing Next: 

26-27 May @ The Big Feed in Glasgow

2 June @ Leith Vegan Quarter

To stay up to date with FacePlant Foods on social: 

Facebook: @faceplantfoods

Instagram: @faceplantfoods 

Twitter: @faceplantfoods

Website: www.faceplantfoods.com  

#strEATtalk is our narrative series that shines a spotlight on Scotland's culinary scene, focusing on the journeys and stories of up and coming food innovators. Follow #strEATtalk as we get to know the people who are making our nation taste better! 

#STREATTALK: AN INTERVIEW WITH GINGER AND CHILLI

Ginger and Chilli is one of the protagonists of Scotland’s street food scene. The man behind the popular fuchsia and yellow logo is bringing all his knowledge of Asian cuisine coupled with the best Scottish supplies to Glasgow’s street food markets.

We had the chance to catch up with Ronan to talk about mixing Asian and Scottish flavours, his beginnings in the food industry and his hopes for the future. 


Ginger and Chilli is a celebration of Asian food, but you also make extensive use of local produce. How do you put the two together? Has it ever been hard to stick to this proposition? 

We are so lucky to live in Scotland and have in my opinion one of the world’s best larders on our doorstep. The idea of “eat global, think local” coined by Glasgow favourite Stravaigin is something that really interests me. It’s hard not be inspired by the produce that this country provides. Whether it’s langoustines from the West Coast, pork from the Bridge of Orchy or venison from Roy Bridge. This, combined with my love of Asian food, makes for a great celebration and I really want to explore this further moving forward with my business.

You are involved with Glasgow's new food market, Platform at Argyle Street, rose from the ashes of The Arches nightclub. What has the public response been like?

The response has been amazing. It’s such an iconic building and it was a very sad day for Glasgow when it closed its doors for the last time. People are delighted about the reopening and reconversion as a creative space.  The whole idea of giving independent businesses like mine a platform to trade three days a week in a city centre location is incredible. 

Managing a street food business involves dealing with a lot of different aspects, from branding, to keeping in touch with markets and events organisers, and of course, the food. Do you do everything yourself? How do you keep all the plates spinning? Any tips for our readers?

This is a great question and one I ask myself on a daily basis. At the moment, I pretty much do everything myself. I could literally write a book about my experiences over the last couple of years. I don’t think people realise how difficult running a street food business is. From the outset it looks very cool and very romantic. The reality is quite different. Passion will only get you so far. There are so many aspects to running a successful business. I’ve had to learn quickly on a variety of fronts to make it work. For me it’s easy to lose focus on why you started it in the first place, ultimately it’s all about the food though. Good food and belief in what you are doing will always prevail! For anyone reading who wants to make the jump into the world of street food I have a few words of wisdom. Do your research, have a story, create a business plan and try to focus on providing good quality food. Your brand is also something to really think about, it’s important to try and stand out from the crowd. 

You haven't always worked in the food industry. How did the transition happen and what were the difficulties?

My previous background was in the in the creative industries. Cooking for me has always been another way of expressing myself so it feels like a natural progression. I got married a few years ago and took on the challenge of taking care of the food at our wedding. It was this experience that really started Ginger & Chilli. It was a real success and gave me the confidence to try out a few pop ups in and around Glasgow. That gave me a bit of a platform to approach some street food events and I’ve not looked back since. It really has been a whirlwind of a year. I don’t come from a catering background so the step up was interesting, but I’m a quick leaner and had lots of people who helped along the way.

Where does your love for food come from? 

One of the main memories of my childhood is my grandmother in the kitchen cooking soda bread. She was an excellent baker and cook who would make the most of what was available. Through her cooking I discovered my love for food, baking and local produce, something that endures with me to this day.

You have recently been guest on STV, how was the telly experience?

The STV experience was fantastic. I loved every minute of it and would like to do more. I would love to have my own show one day. Jamie Oliver better watch out lol… 

What's the dream?

My mum always says “aim high Ronan”. Cookery school, my own TV show and a book deal would be nice.


To stay up to date with Ginger and Chilli at events & on social:

Appearing Next: 

4th-6th May @ The British Street Food Awards 2018 

18th-20th May @ The Scottish Street Food Festival 

Facebook: Ginger & Chilli

Instagram: @ginger_chilli

Twitter: @gingerandchilli

Website: http://www.gingerandchilli.com/

#strEATtalk is our narrative series that shines a spotlight on Scotland's culinary scene, focusing on the journeys and stories of up and coming food innovators. Follow #strEATtalk as we get to know the people who are making our nation taste better!

Coffee Makes The World Go Round?

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Today marks Earth Day, a celebration of our planet and an occasion for people to come together to promote initiatives to safeguard it. At StrEAT Events, we are seizing this opportunity to talk about sustainable coffee consumption.


With the increasing popularity of food trucks we are also seeing an emergence of niche mobile coffee trucks. These businesses are putting wheels on the independent coffee trade, bringing with them quality, expertise and a growing ethical consciousness.

We caught up with Marcel from The Common Grind, one of Scotland’s pop-up speciality coffee companies, to understand how they are tackling the environmental issues surrounding the consumption of coffee.

Take-away cups are lined with plastic, which makes them non-biodegradable and out of the 2.5 billion used annually in the UK only 1% are actually recycled.

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We asked Marcel how they tackle the waste resulting from coffee drinking.  “At our events, we use only compostable packaging (Vegwear) that can be broken down naturally even if it goes to landfill. After some events we see our cups piled up in general waste bins as there often aren’t recycling facilities provided for visitors, so knowing that the cups and lids we use will eventually become worm-food is comforting.”

The Government set out a plan to introduce a 25p “latte levy” on disposable cups and set a target for all coffee cups to be recycled by 2023 with the recommendation that coffee chains promoted the use of reusable cups by rewarding customers. The Common Grind also takes part in this initiative by giving a small discount to customers who bring their own cup.

For Marcel, having a positive social and environmental impact is equally as important as being a financially sustainable business. 

Most of us regularly consume coffee: for breakfast, whilst commuting, on a coffee break or simply for pleasure. Americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, espresso – within seconds the coffee flows in all its creamy and aromatic glory. However, few know where coffee comes from and how it is produced.

“By drinking coffee, we can often be contributing to significant negative social and environmental impacts. So it is very important that our coffee is grown and manufactured ethically and with environmentally friendly techniques,”

Coffee is such a valuable and essential good for both exporting and importing countries that its production requires regulations to ensure it is done in the most sustainable and ethical way and no worker gets exploited on the way from the plant to your favourite mug.

 “We always ensure that our coffee suppliers are sourcing their green beans from farms where workers are paid fairly and treated well and whenever we can, we also try to ensure that the coffee we use is from organic farms.”

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The Common Grind use only speciality grade coffee sourced from farms where sustainability is the central part of their ethos. This is ensured by the close relationship they keep with their suppliers based in Scotland, like The Gatehouse Coffee Roasters in Paisley, who import and roast coffee.

“It’s important to trace back the coffee production chain because a lot of pressure is placed on farms to neglect their social and ecological responsibilities - as well as quality - to produce coffee at a cheaper price. By knowing that our supply chain isn’t placing this sort of pressure on coffee plantations owners and that they are paying them a price that allows them to produce coffee responsibly, we are ensuring we have a sustainable impact.”

Marcel explains that it’s fairly easy to find out if the importer places importance on the traceability of their coffee and roasteries are able to inform their customers about the origin of their coffee. “Many speciality coffee roasters in Glasgow use Falcon Coffees who have a positive social and environmental focus, so we’re quite happy when we hear it’s been imported by them.”

The success of street food could be a springboard for increased sustainability according to Marcel.

“If there is pressure placed on traders to ensure their environmental impacts are well managed, suitable waste facilities are provided, and some sort of alternative is found to producing power, then there is a huge opportunity for street food to be more sustainable. The kind of traders at street-food events are also more open to being more considerate of their impacts.”
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The Common Grind is also a social enterprise, currently working on a barista training course with The Gatehouse Coffee Roasters and Kibble. “It will provide young people with employment barriers the opportunity to learn barista and other catering industry skills. We are also on the lookout for a more permanent spot for one of our coffee bars from which we can then open up job opportunities for said young people.”

So do the Earth (and yourself) a favour by getting a delicious and most of all sustainable coffee today!


To learn more about Earth Day and initiatives visit:

Earth Day Website: https://www.earthday.org/

To stay up to date with The Common Grind at events & on social:

Appearing Next: 

13th May @ Gourock Highland Games

18th- 20th May @ The Scottish Street Food Festival

Facebook: The Common Grind

Instagram: @thecommongrind

Twitter: @commongrinduk

Website: https://thecommongrind.com/ 

#strEATtalk is our narrative series that shines a spotlight on Scotland's culinary scene, focusing on the journeys and stories of up and coming food innovators. Follow #strEATtalk as we get to know the people who are making our nation taste better!