#strEATtalk: An Interview with Chompsky

Chompsky are a Glasgow based street food company who have been around for a few years. In that time they have established a consistent following of foodies and people curious to try something new! They generally formulate their menus on a rotational basis so there is always something fresh and exciting on the line up. Whether it be Hoisin Peanut Pulled Bao Buns, Jerk Ham Hock Mac n Cheese or their infamous BBQ Vietnamese Pork Bahn Mi, Chomsky are masters at keeping street food delectably innovative

We were fortunate to catch up with Felicity Day one of the founders and talked community, food culture and their latest culinary venture, Gnom!

Q. When I hear about your story and your beginnings in Glasgow, it’s difficult not to get a little bit excited! Chomsky, of course, also caused a lot of controversy and shook things up a bit with his innovative ideas. How important is innovation in relation to your street food? 

A. Innovation is very important to us and it has worked in our favour. When we first started we knew that we wanted to do something a little different. There were hardly any street food trucks in Glasgow and even around in Scotland and yet we knew how popular street food in the western world could become after looking at other cities such as Berlin, London and New York. Obviously it is hard to say that our food is innovative in terms of each dish - we do a lot of research to try to bring authentic street food flavours from the places that have been serving street food for centuries as part of daily life. And taking this and the fact that when we started we were amongst the first to buy a truck meant that innovation became our thing. We continue this through constantly changing our menus, exploring new flavours and travelling to different spots. 

Q. And how palpable is that excitement and buzz around street food? Do you think the people are hungry for change?

A. In just the two years that we have been trading we have seen a massive buzz develop around the street food industry. Over time there is more demand and more markets to trade and people coming to events have increased. Street food seems to bring out very good things - community, inexpensive and accessible dining and above all the opportunity to try new things. The tangible change in the industry over the last few years leads us to believe that this industry will go from strength to strength.

Q. The street food community of Glasgow seems to be growing. What obstacles have you come up against so far? 

A. Getting the council to trust the health and safety concerns around street food given the extraneous variables has been one obstacle. This results in trying to prove to the relevant sectors that we are indeed food businesses who take this aspect as seriously as fine dining restaurants. We applied for a street traders licence which was a lengthy process with many complications that are off putting and frustrating. There isn't one department who have the answers to any questions and so trying to find our legislation and regulations is difficult. 

The general public can occasionally also be slightly mistrusting of new flavours and often ask in disbelief "you don't sell roll and sausage?!". 

Q. Your van is certainly one of a kind! There’s a saying that “People make Glasgow”; do you see the work you are doing with street food as reflective of this mantra (perhaps in the face of the pressures of big business and rapid globalisation)?

A. We have found ourselves, luckily, to be part of the street food hub of Glasgow. And this saying 'People make Glasgow' is very relevant to that. The people in this industry are all running small businesses and often are trading in the same space. But instead of severe competition we find that we work together, help each other out and go out of our way to ensure that everyone is gaining from the experience. With regards to us personally - we are happy to be considered as breaking the mould potentially but we know that we are minuscule players in a large world. Anything that we can do to encourage small businesses in Glasgow we would do though - these are the sorts of things that make Glasgow what they are. 

Q. We are seeing a movement towards ethical eating in Glasgow, and ingredients are in the spotlight. Tell us about how you source your ingredients! 

A. Trying to buy Scottish meat, fish and fresh vegetables is always at the forefront of our mind. Scotland has such great produce and the welfare of any animal that we use as an ingredient is important to us. Also we try to keep other things in mind - for example only using Rapeseed Oil whenever we do frying as it is much better that the 'vegetable' palm oil that is ruining much of the worlds rainforests through deforestation and has half the saturated fat of other frying oils.  We feel food businesses have  a duty wherever possible and realistic to source ingredients thoughtfully and with an understanding of origin. 

Q. You signalled your recent appearance at Dockyard Social as one of your last (as Chompsky) for a little while as you work on a new permanent project. Are you able to tell us a bit more about this and what we can expect from the new venture?

A. Gnom is our new venture and it's going to be a little different to Chompsky. Whilst we love street food and are taking inspiration from these kinds of flavours we are using our new space to hopefully add a slight bit of finesse to our cooking. We can't reveal to much right now but it will have daytime opening hours and lots of sweet things too.

To keep in the loop of what Chompsky are doing next, check out their website and Facebook below:

Gnom: 758 Pollokshaws Road. Strathbungo (Opening Soon)





Instagram: @ChompskyFood

Website: http://www.chompsky.co.uk/

#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 Turnip the Beet


Turnip the Beet is a bespoke catering company who promise to provide good quality, creative and healthily cooked catering for all types of events. They are based in and around Glasgow, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. strEAT caught up with Owner Laura Burt who is planting her business back in Glasgow after an exciting stint cheffing it up in Super Yachts around the world!


Q: We talk to chefs and entrepreneurs from all walks of life and its always interesting to know what spurred them into business. You have been rather entrepreneurial from a young age...How did you end up establishing Turnip the Beet?

A: I’ve always been a huge lover of food, travel and outdoor adventure.  At university I studied Outdoor Pursuits management and we would get long Easter holidays so I would call up the ski resorts to see who needed chalet staff so that I could go snowboarding for a month & get paid for it!

I enjoyed a few chalet chef positions in varying resorts and then I decided to fast track my chef qualifications at Ashburton Cookery School in Devon. The course was totally amazing and I’d fully recommend it to anyone interested in taking their culinary skills further. It opened so many doors and allowed me to start working on superyachts.

Over the years I have been lucky to travel the world living and working in Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The States, Mallorca and Antigua. I believe all of these places have left their mark on me and have added something to my cooking repertoire.

A series of recent events led to my decision to give my passport a break and return to Scotland to try my hand at something here. This resulted in the creation of ‘Turnip the Beet’ a bespoke catering company for any event. We are presently based in and around Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and like to get involved in anything from food festivals to private dinner parties to canape or buffet events. You name it, we do it! Each menu is written individually for the client and we like to bring something different and unforgettable to the table.

Q: So your back on home soil, how are you finding what’s probably a big transition?

A: This is a huge transition but a welcome change after living such a hectic travelling lifestyle for the last 6 years. I am loving simple pleasures such as making plans with friends, having time for myself, going on mini-adventures and being able to say yes to things that are months in advance. Previously when I wasn’t even sure which country I would be in next month, my only answer would be “Í don’t know yet”. That gets quite tiring after a while!

Scotland is such a beautiful country with so many amazing things to offer. At least once a week I make a trip North to go snowboarding or hill walking or anything that involves getting up in the mountains, appreciating where I live & earning a wee dram of whisky & a good feed one way or another! That’s a transition I can get used to!

Q: Poke Bowls, Indian Street Food, and the infamous avocado are all set to be the big food trends of 2018, What’s your signature dish & will you be incorporating any of these new trends into your menus this year?

A: I feel like these trends are already in place. If they are set to stay, then I’m delighted as they are all super tasty & I have been eating more than my fair share of all of them!

I’ve always found it hard to answer what my signature dish is as I think my signature move is that I cook to suit the client or event. 

My cooking styles vary completely across the board. Sometimes I’m all about the fine dining and other times I’m all about true & wholesome home-cooked food with the rest of the time being somewhere in between! That’s the joy of cheffing, it always moves with the job & the trends, there’s never time to get bored, we’re always changing it up.

Q: You’ve clearly had a lot of experience in the catering industry, what tips would you give to people new to the industry?

A: The catering industry can be brutal but if you find your way through it, it can offer so many great opportunities in varying forms. Being a chef is a job that requires constant personal development, as well as creativity and passion. Don’t let the light go out on your passion or creativity and don’t be afraid to move around, change jobs and try new things! These are the experiences that will shape you and help you find your strengths.

Work/life balance is essential to keep up with the pace and so is taking care of yourself. It saddens me to see so many people in the catering industry affected by stress or health issues due to the fast pace and long working hours. It’s an industry where habits are easily developed as a distraction or as an aid to keep going but in the long-term just create serious issues. I think it is important to be aware of that and to try to avoid it by taking good care of yourself and your health. A job is never more important than good health or personal happiness!

Q: We notice that you have started a pretty exciting home delivery service….tell us more!

A: Take Home Friday is a fairly new project that I launched about 6 weeks ago. I always thought there must be room somewhere for good quality, healthily cooked take home meals that don’t break the bank or hurt the planet. I like the idea of a changing menu to keep things fresh and a simple set-up that delivers every time. 

Take Home Friday consists of a weekly changing menu of 3 dishes that includes at least one vegetarian or vegan option. The menus change in cuisine and we aim to explore the whole world with it! Each dish costs £7 and includes a generous dinner size portion & free-delivery. Important to us too is that we use completely eco-friendly & compostable take-out packaging. I take orders online through my website up until Thursday midnight. I then offer a pick-up service between 2-4pm from my home or I deliver between 4-6pm. We are beginning to collaborate with other small local food business’ to help launch their products into the local community too. We are pretty excited to have Dr. Sushi onboard as well as Naughty Italian, two brand new local food creators that will be featuring on our menus from time to time. As of last week Friday Take Home is also available through the Milngavie Food Assembly. We are so hyped to be a part of it!

For more information about Turnip the Beet's services and whereabouts, check out their website and Facebook below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TurnipTheBeetCatering/

Website: https://www.turnipthebeet.co.uk/

#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!


Burns Night Celebrations

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Robert Burns all across the country! Here are some of our top picks for where you can raise a wee dram for the good man himself and have some amazing food while your at it!


Have An Experimental Burns At:

The Glenfiddich Burns Night Experiment (SWG3, Glasgow)

Go experimental this Burns Night at SWG3! Glenfiddich are hosting an evening that promises the unexpected, experimental cocktails, unique menus and some surprise entertainment. Your chance to try something different.

Tickets: £50 (Includes 3 Course Menu & all drinks)

Available from: http://bit.ly/2rEFfRu



Have A Tropical Burns At:

Reggae Burns Night (The Rum Shack, Glasgow)

Fan of Rum & Whisky then The Rum Shack has you covered as they heat things up Reggae Style! With music, poetry and a 3 course menu your sure to have a smooth night riding the Caribbean Waves! 

Tickets: £25 (Includes 3 Course Menu and Drinks)

Available: http://bit.ly/2DHa6Ss (But Not For Long!!)



Have An Extra Special Burns At:

Burns Dinner with Glengoyne (Porter & Rye, Glasgow)

Why not treat yourself to something special. Never one to disappoint Porter & Rye are putting on a specially curated 5 Course Dinner, all topped off with wine, cocktails and a dram!

Tickets: £70 (Includes 5 Course Menu and Drinks)

Available: http://bit.ly/2E5nJbz 



Have An Afternoon Burns At:

Rabbie's Haggis Afternoon Tea (Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen, Glasgow)

An interesting twist on the traditional Afternoon Tea and Burns Night for that matter! Enjoy a selection of menu traditions with a side of beer.....afternoon beer (we like it!)

Tickets: £15 (Includes Afternoon Tea Menu & 1/2 Pint of Innis & Gunn for 2)

Available: http://bit.ly/2n9xWM9





#strEATtalk: An Interview with Küche

 Fatima, Souaad, and Saffanna prepare a meal.  Photo by Dariusz Sipowski

Fatima, Souaad, and Saffanna prepare a meal.  Photo by Dariusz Sipowski

Küche is a social enterprise that organises food-led events and community dinners in collaboration with refugee and migrant chefs. Their mission is to promote integration, overcome social isolation, celebrate global cuisines, and create sustainable outcomes for the chefs that they work with.  StrEAT talks to founder Deborah May about narratives through food, the importance of eating together, and her vision for Küche going forward.


Q: Eating is joyous, highly personal, and often political.  Do the chefs that you work with have a clear story that they want to convey with their food, that they maybe wouldn’t get a chance to tell otherwise?

A: There is definitely a narrative there; food that tells collective and individual stories. They aren't stories that they *don't* often tell (most of the chefs are enthusiastic home cooks) but I think by working to put on an event together, they are getting to tell these stories to an audience who are hungry to experience something new. There is a quote that I really like by Zena Saro Wiwa (chef/artist): 

“I make food to tell stories. I make food so that people receive whatever alchemy or magic happens when eating another culture’s food. To tell them something. Or perhaps it is just my way of telling myself that the land belongs to me too. That it is not worthless. That the labour of so many women is not for nothing.” 

Something I would like to do more through events is tell a political story - linking the food and culture to the geopolitics of a place. 


Q: As a social enterprise, what are your main hopes and goals for Küche going forward?

A: This is a good question to ask because I don't often speak aloud about my future dreams for Küche. My hope for the near future is to have more regular food commissions so that I can create a more sustainable outcome and further job opportunities for others. I also hope that we will have the opportunity to go on a residency somewhere - my idea was that Küche should always be able to travel. My long term future dream is to build on my food engagement practice and develop Küche as a institute of the anthropology of food, which would support multicultural and refugee chefs. The institute will host a chef-in-residence, a day-time cafe, as well as a program of events (engaging food, arts and activism - including the staging of feast performances, discussions, symposiums and food gatherings, cookery classes, kitchen spaces that can be rented out by other chefs)... The goal would be to continuously provoke discussion, and form new recipes and new tastes in collaboration with multicultural chefs. 


Q: Glasgow has always been seen as a more welcoming and inclusive city than perhaps others in the UK - how do you think Glasgow has been responding to your events so far?

A: Glasgow has been great! I am always surprised about all the other organisations and ventures that are doing amazing stuff and with a similar ethos. I think Glasgow has quite an appetite for food and community events, so I am interested to see how things develop here. Maybe someone will create a food institute before me or maybe there will be so much other amazing things happening in collaboration with multicultural chefs that there won't be a need for Küche. I find with doing the events in Glasgow there is such a ready audience to engage; I guess what can be difficult is trying to diversify that audience and make everything that we produce accessible. I also love that people in Glasgow come to the events on their own as if joining a dinner table with family and friends. Glasgow is good at that, making strangers into friends even if it is just for an evening. 


Q: Everyone is understandably nervous at the moment about what Brexit will mean for immigrants and refugees.  Do you see Küche, and eating together in general, as one possible way to help make Britain’s uncertain future a little brighter?

A: Yes, I do. Thanks for saying this as well. I think sometimes I forget to think about how important the basic happiness is that comes so simply from creating a space where people eat together. It is easy to get caught up in doubts but I guess as long as we are coming together, enabling someone to share their food and all the stories that comes with that, then we are always encouraging activism and solidarity to take place. 


For more information about Küche's upcoming events, check out their website and facebook below:



An Iranian Feast 18th May:


Dinner Doctor 27th May;




#strEATtalk is a new narrative series that shines a spotlight on Glasgow'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 city taste better!