What do you get when you mix 24 years of kitchen experience and westcountry cider? You get the Meat The Chef! Head chef Christian has only recently joined the table of the gourmet food revolution but his food truck is already being recognized as one of the best street food trucks in the UK. With 24 years of experience in the kitchen, Christian decided to take his food mobile so we can all enjoy his meat goodness from all around the country. We have managed to pull Christian ( head chef and owner of Meat The Chef ) away for a few minutes to find out what's the recipe for success... and of course a delicious buttermilk fried chicken burger.
Hi Christian, thank you for chatting with us, first things first, how did Meat The Chef begin?
Obvious answer and most honest would be over a few pints of Westcountry cloudy cider, thrown in with 24 years of high pressured kitchens, 18 of them back to back Christmas Day working.
That sounds like you have real experience in the gourmet world. Through the years, what would you say is your signature dish and how would you describe it?
Buttermilk Fried Chicken is where we are at! When we first started out on the truck we wanted to cover every base really, we had a different topped hot dog (chilli dog, cheese whiz) a loaded Sub roll (slow cooked lamb shoulder, harissa, feta, pomegranate dressing) and a Buttermilk Fried chicken sandwich (bacon jam, house pickles). The fried chicken was an easy 70% of everything we sold so we then decided to go with the chicken but with a few versions, this was to date the single most “game-changing” decision.
That does sound tasty! So what is it like to cook on wheels compared to the kitchen?
I basically call it a “restaurant with road tax” like most things, it has its pro’s and cons. It is great that every day you can be somewhere different and go where the business is spreading the buttermilk-fried-chicken-loving across the land, but it's not so great when your tire mounts a curb and your fridge door opens.
We can imagine! Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?
Exactly like when I was running kitchens previously, the dishes were always evolving. We never stood still and thought this is it, this would be the end product. It’s the same for us now with our fried chicken sandwiches (not burgers!). We're always asking what could make this a great sandwich into an amazing sandwich? The 15 herbs and spices in the flour mix is always measured and never changes now that it's perfect.
Which big festivals/events have you attended or will attend/ Where can we find you?
MTC has held back with the really big festivals for the first 2 years. We wanted to get ourselves out there and exposed by means of the street food scene in and around the capital and to get used to working the truck, equipment, and menus. Some events we have done in 2017 were Twickenham 7’s, NFL Twickenham, Surrey Food Fest, Essex Food & Drink Fest, EAT Reigate, plenty of cool weddings and much more, just watch this space.
We definitely will! What would you say is your favourite meat to cook?
Other than frying chicken that’s been marinated in a buttermilk brine for 24 hours, I'm still a bit of a low and slow kind of a guy - shoulders of lamb, ox cheeks/tails, pork belly. Slow cooked pigs head is a thing of beauty to me.
And what is your favourite meat to eat?
Big fan of charcuterie, having worked a year in kitchens in Germany and another in France I got to taste and experience some amazing hams, sausages, cured horse, and bear.
Would you give in and add vegetarian options or would you stay true to your meat-beliefs?
Well with the name it kinda cries out what we're all about. We have been known to Buttermilk Fry some halloumi for private hire...strictly under the counter of course.
Of course! What advice would you give to beginners in setting up a street food business?
Commit to it as soon as you can. Working 2 jobs and having it as your hobby isn’t going to give you enough drive to make it work. Cook what you fully believe in, and have the ability to cook something people don’t mind parting the best part of £7 with. Also, hook up with a like-minded event/pitch finder… hey, try TruckStopToday they are amazing! Lastly, it's your own destiny, you will get out exactly what you put into the industry.
What would you say is the secret behind the perfect chicken fried sandwich? (#nospoilers)
Just buy the best raw ingredients that you as a company can afford, team this up with some kick-ass garnish and sauce combinations. Throw in a little bit of knowledge of what is relevant and in-trend at the time and most of all - hire someone who can cook.
And finally, your Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger is one of the best we have tried. What is that makes it taste so darn good!?
15 herbs and spices and 3 types of flour...you give me 12 of them and a Buttermilk Fried Chicken is yours for the taking.
Thank you for your time, Christian.
If you would like to visit Christian and try any of his infamous burgers and sandwiches, then be sure to follow us on our social platforms for up to date news! Alternatively, head to our Calendar section on our site at http://www.truckstoptoday.com/Events/Calendar