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Guerilla Eats Celebration, 8-9 December

Jonathan Schofield and a nice festival that shouldn't try to be so smug

Written by . Published on December 6th 2012.


Guerilla Eats Celebration, 8-9 December

GUERILLA EATS is taking place on the 8-9 December in a car park close to Port Street Beer House on Port Street.

The whole tone of the Guerilla Eats publicity for the event is unpleasant, smug even, sneering at existing operators, usually small businesses who work week-in, week-out in rain or shine. 

It looks good but it’s taking itself very, very seriously.

This is the publicity.

‘Guerrilla Eats is a new foodie collective of passionate street food traders set to shake up Manchester’s street food. (The) traders will initiate Mancunians into their great food movement, bucking the idea that street food means either dirty kebabs or sky high prices and is the preserve of ‘those in the know.’

‘Tired of trekking around poorly planned markets and paying extortionate trader fees (which they have to pass on to the customer), the collective is run by the people for the people who just care and love the food they make.’

‘Guerrilla Eats’ manifesto is simple – create a buzz about great food served by great people at great prices. December’s mission will give street food its chance to shine and convert people to the Guerrilla Eats ideology that great food CAN and IS able to be served on the streets; which hasn’t happened thus far in Manchester.’

Well according to them it hasn’t happened yet.

Really?

Fire and Salt BBQFire and Salt BBQ

The organisers must have forgotten about the Farmer’s Markets and other markets that have been taking place in St Ann’s Square, Piccadilly, Albert Square and elsewhere for ages. 

Savin Hill’s superb rare breed burgers at the farmer's markets are as good as street food gets, meanwhile my kids and I love the hotdogs at the end of Market Street in that stall that looks like a tram. And if they want to nip down to Old Trafford with me I'll show them a kebab in Ashiana which will make them weep for joy.

The whole tone of the Guerilla Eats publicity for the event is smug; sneering at existing operators, usually small businesses who work week-in, week-out in rain or shine.  They need to cut that tone out with future events.

Nor should they harp on about ‘over-priced’ German markets and the like.

‘So how much will the food be at Guerilla Eats?’ I asked via email. 

‘The traders have made an agreement to cap it at £5 with one exception,’ came the reply. ‘The Fire and Salt stall have put on a more expensive dish - but it's pretty massive, box of pulled pork, mac and cheese, coleslaw and bread for £7.’ 

£5 is no cheaper than the German markets. More expensive than operators in the Arndale Market. It's a bit silly to talk about them under-cutting existing operators.

The shame is that Guerilla Eats looks like it could be a very good event -and clearly they are very nice people even if they are giving themselves airs.

Anyway here are the traders, described in their own words. 

Fire and Salt BBQ is inspired by the traditional art of BBQ from the southern states of America and smoke whole pigs over hickory smoke to bring you divine pulled pork and sticky ribs all topped with moreish homemade sauces  – http://fireandsaltbbq.co.uk@fireandsaltBBQ 

Dirty Dogs like to bust the myth that hotdogs are poor quality, mechanically reclaimed meat sausages in pappy white buns Dirty Dogs teams good quality franks with innovative and creative toppings - @dirtydogsarehot 

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – unusual and sometimes rather adult flavours of luxury ice cream (yes, there’s booze in some of them!). Ginger’s recently won ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Best Dessert’ at the British Street Food Awards 2012 – www.gingerscomfortemporium.com@gingerscomfort 

The BarnHouse Bistro sources the best quality ingredients and makes quality burgers from scratch all served out of a corrugated iron clad trailer - @BistroBarnHouse 

Chaat Cart serves traditional Indian street food; no spicy curries here, just simple chaat made from local, organic vegetables (that’s right, this is amazing veggie food) – www.chaatcart.co.uk @ChaatCart 

Sugar Bun Sisters use the finest ingredients coupled with their amazing baking skills to create crazy, creative cupcakes that will fill your life full of cake filled happiness – www.sugarbunsisters.co.uk @SugarBunSisters 

Las Paelleras cook vibrant Spanish street food from scratch with responsibly sourced ingredients; expect proper paella and tasty tapas, with a twist. http://laspaellerascom @LasPaelleras 

Not bad.

Let's hope Guerilla Eats can live up to its own hype in 'initiating' us ignorant Mancs into real street food. As stated above the organisers are clearly good guys, but they need to be careful how they make their boasts.

By the way there’s not only food to eat but entertainment too at Guerilla Eats, such as spice tolerance competitions, man vs food challenges and street performers plus stall holder competitions. 

Guerrilla Eats Celebration takes place Sat 8 Dec 4-11pm and Sun 9 Dec 11am-4pm at Port Street Cark park, near Port Street Beer House, Port Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 2EQ. www.guerrillaeats.co.uk 

 

Barn House BistroBarn House Bistro

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31 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DavidDecember 6th 2012.

Sounds like they are trying a bit too hard to get noticed but understand the whole high trading fee's at poorly planned markets, look at the "street food" market that the council runs at the gardens, high trading fee's and most of it is mass catering companies selling poor quality food. Also mfdf12 is a great example of a great gestival but the fee's they charge are rediculous

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

fees not fee's.

GordoDecember 6th 2012.

Cupcakes. Oh Dearie. Follow @gordomanchester to find out what he really thinks about cupfuckingcakes

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

No apostrophe on fees. Agree with you, David... sounds a bit 'try hard'.

IanDecember 6th 2012.

Burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork. What's new?

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

i was in london recently and a friend suggested i go to street feast, with traders such as the rib man, big apple hot dogs, bhangra burger the place was heaving and the food was great, manchester could do with something like this as the markets we already have are rubbish, this thing just needs some booze

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

'Jonathan Schofield' and 'shouldn't try to be so smug' in the same article! Oh the irony.

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

Hmm what a smug tone, trying to decry passionate local traders as smug themselves...how ironic! Maybe Jonathan shouldn't beat down local people with a bit of passion and try and support them instead?

1 Response: Reply To This...
D ClarksonDecember 8th 2012.

I so agree with this post , who's side are you on Janathon? Try dealing with Mmanchester City Council then you'l come across smug arrogance!!!

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

Well, how very strange. My post from here has been removed, relegated to 'latest rants' and then thoroughly edited there as well.
I am sure it is just a computer glitch in the Confidential Corporation and all will be as it should very shortly.

Poster BoyDecember 6th 2012.

Let's not be too judgemental. It's classic N4Q -the street food movement was the height of fashion in London this Summer, and of course they are going to over promote.

But JS is also right to defend all those small businesses currently providing great food at the street/farmer's markets etc, albeit without the sprinkle of being 'on trend'.

JS has simply succumbed to the honeytrap of age -cynicism. Nothing is new, it's all been done and seen before...

JimDecember 6th 2012.

The chaat cart are also in the pic gardens market. I assume they'll be cheaper here? After all less fees.....

Claire KelseyDecember 6th 2012.

Drop your tiring cynicism, wear warm clothes and come get fed! X Claire, Ginger's Comfort.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
IanDecember 7th 2012.

Nothing like ice cream when it's -2 degrees.

D ClarksonDecember 8th 2012.

Well Mr Ian Hall, I can vouch that Gingers Ice Cream was indeed eaten tonight with a gorgeous warm toasted brioche & @kel Surprise' it was -2! & abs Gorgeous well done Ginger, Mr Hall, get back to you neopolitan! & give a local initiative a bit of encouragement! D Clarkson

AnonymousDecember 6th 2012.

Wow what a totally disappointing lack of support for some good sounding food and fun!

David WhitneyDecember 7th 2012.

How ironic that this article should claim that Guerilla Eats is taking itself too seriously, when the only person I can see taking themselves too seriously is the author of this cynical article.

The author forgets that the offers on existing food markets across Manchester are a) predictable and b) over priced. The examples given have been a regular staple on Manchester Markets for so many years that they have become dull, overpriced and predictable. Other than perhaps the Cupcakes, these street food options are much more original and better value than anything else being offered by the Manchester Festive Markets. £4.50 for a basic sausage on Albert Sq is a total shambles.

its not just about price. The existing markets might offer food for similar or lower prices, but the quality and value for money is worse than ever.

For examples, I would question whether the author has sampled Dirty Dogs, as their offer is in a different league to that available from either the festive markets for the sausage cart at the bottom of Market St. Its not just about cost, but value for money.

Such a sneering article.

JanDecember 7th 2012.

I would like to comment on some of Jonathan's comments about the present Mancunian street food:

"Savin Hill’s superb rare breed burgers at the farmer's markets are as good as street food gets".
Well, then I feel really sorry for you. Although the beef isn't bad at all, the bun is a disaster, and I've been served a burger that was just picked up from on top of the fried onions, - tasted very 'tired'. Cooked long before I came to the stand.

"my kids and I love the hotdogs at the end of Market Street"
I feel sorry for you again. I often pass the tram and god would I like to have a Hot Dog, I sure would, but I would like to know where it's from. And the offer; a drink and a dog for £2, I think it is. Simply too cheap to have meat in it. It might taste ok, but you don't know what you are eating!

To compare any decent street food to what you can get at the German market is an insult. The other day I was at the German market. I like to pop by every year and I always end up having a Hot Dog, and it hasn't failed, yet how disappointed I get. Tasteless dog in a bun that must have been at least a week old.

I welcome any new initiatives re good street food in Manchester.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
bigearsDecember 7th 2012.

my my my, someone is in a moaning mood today eh?! god, get a life and stop moaning about everything! if you dont liek it dont eat it, simple. dont start whining about it! i take it all you eat is organic then? idiot!

bigearsDecember 7th 2012.

oh and if you look, the rolls they use are usually left on top of the coals so the heat makes them slightly tough and chewy, nothing to do with being old.

Richard HJDecember 7th 2012.

"I welcome any new initiatives re good street food in Manchester."

That line has made my day. All hail Jan.

lukeunabomberDecember 7th 2012.

people who correct other people regarding grammar and the use of apostrophes havent been shagged since 1981

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 7th 2012.

Maybe Luke, but using an apostrophe to express plural rather than simply adding an 's' is such a basic error.

Not only can it change the meaning of the sentence quite profoundly, it also makes the writer look well, err, fick.

D ClarksonDecember 8th 2012.

Well, let me tell anyone who cares to read this article ( I sincerely hope you have got to my comment) These guys turned out in really appalling conditions, I mean wet, very cold, against all odds I believe they managed to stage the event as some of the beurocrats wanted to pull the plug at the last minute? What I tasted was wonderful food, what I saw was a group of entrepreneurs who care so much about making a success of it that & producing some pretty amazing foodin in the most exceptional circumstances & conditions. Coupled to the food they provided seating , Guerilla props & fairylights there was even tasteful Xmas music! pluse odd car headlight to add lighting where the owners failed! Well done Geurilla Eats, looking forward to the next one!!

Jonathan SchofieldDecember 9th 2012.

Well done if it was a good event, and it's a shame I couldn't be there. Confidential will support good food events whether they're 'independent' or not. But this isn't class war it's about providing good food.

Confidential has always been on the side of the small shopkeeper, trader, restaurateur and so on, but only if they're good, not merely because they're 'trying'.

Thanks Jan for feeling sorry for me in the comments above, although that condescending tone is exactly what I regret in the article. Maybe you think me eating the nice hotdog man's Market Street/Cross Street food and sharing it with my kids is somehow morally wrong?

No, what I objected to about Guerilla Eats was its aggressive and insensitive promotion by attacking massively popular street food elsewhere in the city and sort of asking if Mancunians were intelligent enough to appreciate their event.

All the way through the article above I wished it well and thought it a good idea.

One last point.

The food on offer at Guerilla Eats is not street food in the sense in which most people picture it in their mind's eye - those bulging stalls full of tropical flavours out East.

The impulse that drives most street food traders in India, Thailand and so on is work to provide money. They tend to do it for life as well, seven days a week.

I'm not sure that any Bangkok street trader tries to promote themselves on the ticket of 'locally produced and ethically sourced' or because they want to bring 'real flavours' back to the Bangkok public.

Nor am I sure the majority of their customers eat there for any other reason than economics.

I hope Guerilla Eats comes back but this time returns extolling its own virtues rather than attacking others.

The good news is the article resulted in more 'oxygen of publicity' than if I'd merely said, goody good, hurrah.

AnonymousDecember 10th 2012.

Do you get paid by the council for publicity for their events?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldDecember 10th 2012.

Yes sometimes. And sometimes we don't. And during none of those times does it affect our critical judgement, which if you'd read us a while you'd probably have realised.

AnonymousDecember 10th 2012.

you seemed to have assumed a lot in this article, i have read about this event on many web site's and didnt think they were "sort of asking if Mancunians were intelligent enough to appreciate their event". I sort of think you got out of the wrong side of the bed the morning you heard about this event

CastromofoDecember 30th 2012.

hey,
im a trader who regularly does over 100 hours a week in 'the season'. mainly because i love what i do. i often cant feel my feet, get ripped off, receive no reply to calls and emails to the council and rarely know if ill be coming home with a profit.
im hoping to do stuff with the guerillas next year, simply because they have access to land and seem like nice folks. try to do anything with the council and youll find out why these things are rare. same regarding alcohol, sure we'd all love to be able to sell amazing craft ales and home made champagne etc, but again its a no go yo.
basically all of us can tell who and who shouldn't be under the 'street food' banner.
the street food traders i know work harder, while earning less, than they would in regular jobs
paying a couple of quid more for something produced in front of you by a person who can tell you how they made it and where its from seems like a good deal to me.
not everybody always wants the cheapest thing available.
this is the pay-off for doing something you love.
quality will always be around, but at the same time most chefs probably wont ever be able to afford premises.

why not help 'us' get to the point that things are at in london,

just saying

simon

@CASTROMOFO

1 Response: Reply To This...
CastromofoDecember 30th 2012.

*who should and who

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2013.

I attempted to attend on the Sunday of the event. On finding it (over two hours after it was supposed to open) a half open mash of stalls. Only the burgers and gingers ice cream seemed to be fully functioning. The whole experience didn't inspire me to eat and I love the concept! Luckily for me their is other amazing food in Manchester so else where in the northern quarter got my money. My advice for the next one is doesn't matter how good the saturday night don't neglect the Sunday lunch crowd x

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