What’s On meets TV’s Pie Man and travelling food reporter Andy Bates, who’ll be at Street Feast this month for Abu Dhabi Food Festival 2015.
Tell us about the nickname Pie Man. That came in 2008 when I first started my street food business. I made classic, British cold raised pies and they didn’t know what to call me, so they just called me the Pie Man.
What’s your food philosophy? Always have fun. And wash your hands.
Why are food trucks so great, especially for people new to the business? It’s quite rock and roll and gives young people a good opportunity to start a business with low overheads. There’s no brick and mortar so young people can start a business with good ideas and work on a basic budget rather than paying for rent, staff, electricity – they are just doing it on a truck.
Young people have really embraced the concept. Why is that? Food trucks have done really well, especially with young people. They really work with social networking, they work hand-in-hand with things like facebook and twitter and instagram. You can always let people know where you are.
What will you be doing at the Abu Dhabi Street Feast? I will be doing demonstrations, lectures as well as enjoying the great food on offer.
What food truck trends have you noticed from your travels? In the last year I saw a lot of basic Central American dishes come through. Personally I’d like to see more South American and more Asian dishes come up as well. For what is going to be trending next year, we are going to be seeing secret menus. People ordering recipes that are not advertised, word-of-mouth items.
Can you sum up your experiences with food trucks in the three countries you’ve visited on your TV show – the UK, the US and Brazil? In the UK, I found it very exciting to be part of it, as that is when I started as well. I found it exciting to find people like me, starting their business up, really enjoying it and really getting their teeth stuck into it. It was really exciting, vibrant times. When I went to America, it was very good to see a country that has been doing it for years. And they are the experts in it. Once again really good vibes, good people and a sense of good food being served from a truck – you can’t beat it. In Brazil I found that things are just starting to happen there. Things are just on the cusp. Things are quite exciting there – festivals are just starting up.
What advice would you give people about starting a food truck? If you are going to do it, do one thing and do it well. The worse thing that can happen is people doing the same thing. The Street Feast will be held in the Western Region’s Madinat Zayed from February 5 to 7. Next week the festival will head to Al Jahili Park in Al Ain from February 12 to 14 and the trucks will roll into Abu Dhabi’s West Plaza on the Corniche on February 19 to 21.
Various locations, including Corniche, Abu Dhabi, entrance fees Dhs20 in Western Region, Dhs20 in Al Ain, Dhs30 in Abu Dhabi. Tel: (800) 555. Taxi: Abu Dhabi Corniche. abudhabifoodfest.ae