We chat with street food crusader and all around cool cat Andy Bates, catching him inbetween world tours, baking and filming slots for the Food Network. He wants to see a more personal touch to food production, and for everybody to eat his pies.
We’re OK with this…
Full name: Andy Bates
Role: Chef on a global food adventure
DOB: “Old enough!”
Birthplace: Kent, England
Twitter Handle: @eatmypies
Fun Fact: “The biggest pie I ever made was a four tier pork pie wedding cake!”
J: Could you tell us about your culinary journey to this date? You started out at age 14 right, ending up in a Michelin Starred restaurant when you were 17. Cue some montage footage and now you’re on TV, travelling the world and everything! How did you do it?
A: I’m very, very lucky! I started my pie stall in 2008, was approached by Foodnetwork and have not looked back since. I have an amazing team behind me putting things in place.
Where did it begin with the street food for you? You had a stall at one point? You deliver, too?
I found it on my doorstep in London. Back in 2008 I was eating at streetfood stalls from all over the world but couldn’t find anything British. That’s where the lightbulb turned on… I was going to start a pie stall.
I read great British food is your thing. What does the world need to know about British food, and what is the quintessentially British food?
I love British food, and I especially love putting a modern, street food twist on classic British dishes. You can’t beat some quality meat too – one thing I’ve learned is to always look for the Quality Standard Mark when you’re shopping for meat as it’s the only one that guarantees the eating quality of what you’re buying.
You can get QSM beef and lamb at your local butcher or supermarket: http://www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk/quality-standard-mark
You’re a Kent man, right? Has that any effect on your style of cooking? Did you grow up in a ‘foodie’ environment?
Yes, we are lucky enough to have the best of the weather in the south east which reflects in the produce. For me 3 of my favourite foods/produce come from Kent.
3. Romney salt marsh lamb
How did you break into TV? Did you start with Street Feasts?
A friend heard that a TV network was looking for someone new to cook a few recipes on the channel. They came to my stall, filmed me working and cooking and guess that they saw what they liked. I was very nervous but had a great team at the channel. From those first few recipes Street Feasts spawned and I’ve not looked back since.
Could you tell us about the new cookbook?
It’s a lot of the inspiration I took from my first 2 series’: Street Feasts UK & Street Feasts America. Homely dishes with my own little twist to them.
When it comes to food, what have you learnt and incorporated from your travels?
I’ve been lucky enough to sample some of the world’s most incredible food on my travels, particularly in the likes of Brazil and South America.
I love bringing herbs, spices and anything else I can get my hands on back from abroad and testing them out on different dishes.
Can we eat your pies? I’ve never tried one!
Of course! You can find us at www.eatmypies.co.uk.
I read that you’re taking a stand against mass production in food. When did the issue first start to appeal to you, and how are you making a stand against it?
It’s how my business began. Just making food that’s now mass produced like pies, pasty’s & Scotch eggs in your own kitchen with a little love. Give it a go!
What’s your greatest and most memorable moment as a chef been, to date?
Starting off on a little market stall to travelling the world meeting inspiring people, learning about food
What are your most favourite and least favourite things to cook?
Favourite – Today is Beef cheeks and slow braised dishes, but changes daily
Worst – Tripe.
What’s a ‘day in your life’ like? Could you give us an insight into Andy Bates’ world?
No two days are ever the same, but first thing first is to wake up and have two cups of tea…
What advice would you give to aspiring professional chefs who’d want the kind of results that you’ve had?
In street food, do one thing and do it well. Get yourself a name for the thing you do best!
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing instead?
First Englishman on the moon! (One would like to think…)
What’s your ultimate aim and goal for your career? If you could achieve anything with it, what would you pick? Money and reality are no obstacle, so shoot for the moon…
Continue what I’m doing, I’ve got the best job in the world! More of the same. Also helping people start businesses and getting a good restaurant chain going…
Where next for you?
Hopefully more travelling, eating and cooking
And we always ask three customary ridiculous questions…
You’ve ended up back in time to the dying days of Imperial Rome and it’s Emperor Caligula who’s getting hungry. You are the head chef and are tasked with preparing a three course meal. With an unlimited budget and ingredients, what would you cook for him?
Starter – Salt and pepper squid
Mains – Steak& Lobster, French fries, Béarnaise sauce
Dessert – lemon tart, raspberries, shortbread biscuits
If, for some reason, you were forced to turn Eat My Pies into a travel agency, what would you call it, what types of holidays and locations would you specialise in and what would your game plan be?
Fly by Pie – Luxury flights to famous pastry destinations around the world
At what point do hand grenades become a necessity?
Bad hygiene in a kitchen!