Shoot The Bull : Interview and recipe ahead of the British Street Food Awards
We spoke to Shoot The Bull’s Chris Harrison ahead of the northern heats British Street Food Awards, which will take place this weekend as part of the Leeds Waterfront Festival.
So Chris, how long have you been cooking professionally?
I started first working weekends in a kitchen at 16 so just over 10 years ago. I then took such a liking to it that at 17 I left school and got a full time commis chef job! Never looked back since!
Where have you worked in the past?
I have been lucky enough to work in some top places with top chefs. The Fat Duck in Bray was the best restaurant in the world, The Hand & Flowers still remains the only two star pub in the world. Gidleigh Park two Michelin Star and three years working at a Michelin starred Pub group. These are great claims to have and I went into those great restaurants like a sponge, longing to soak up as much information, ideas and recipes that I could.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
In one word….Exciting. The way food should be. I try to create excitement with food…whether that be in the interesting flavour combinations you try or actually seeing me take a blow torch to a Mackerel!
What’s been your highlight so far in your career as a chef?
There are so many given the amazing places I have worked. Handling food products that are worth more than a months pay! But for me the highlight so far was going it alone and starting my own business. Good feedback and happy customers, that’s my highlight!
Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off?
I don’t get many nights off this time of the year but when I do I love to eat out. I enjoy Ogino’s in Beverley, The Hope and Anchor in South Ferriby and its nice to go back to 1884 my old stomping ground in Hull every now and then too.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration as a chef?
Being a Chef is hard graft there’s no getting away from that. My parents have always inspired me to work hard like they have. I have a family joke that my Mum inspired me to be a chef, as I couldn’t stand her cooking!! She’s actually not that bad! I think Heston Blumenthal is inspiring to me as he shows food can be different and exciting and not necessarily what you expect and that’s kind of what I go for.
How do you find juggling time between the street food business and your permanent site, the old house?
I work hard. I enjoy being busy and always having things to do so I find it exciting. I tend to work the early week at The Old House and then go on the mobile street food style on a weekend. I have a good team in place now which I can trust at the pub and also who give a good help getting sorted for the street food. Having a good team behind me is key to me juggling and operating both businesses.
What tips could you give to any aspiring chefs / street food traders wanting to get into the business?
Go for it. Don’t take no for an answer and be prepared to work some hard, long hours to start with. Listen to what experienced people tell you and be aware of what’s going on around you. Like when I went into some of the best restaurants there is, I soaked up everything I could and it’s really paid off.
What trends do you see up and coming in the food / street food scene at the moment?
There’s no avoiding how crazy the UK has gone for burgers but there’s only so many you can eat! I’m finding people are taking a greater interest into something a little different. For example our lamb breast dish always sparks conversation as its a cut a lot of people wont use yet it is so tasty when done right.
What recipe could you share with our readers ?
Our Macaroni Cheese Sauce… We use this for our pasta dish with aerated bacon foam, spiced tomato gel & crispy onions!
You are probably best halving the recipe unless you have a party coming up!
3 large onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
350g plain flour
3.5 ltr milk
500ml double cream
600g Gruyere cheese
4 tsp English mustard
Place the butter in a heavy bottom saucepan and melt, add the onions & garlic and lightly fry. Add the flour and stir to a stiff roux with a wooden spoon. Cookout for one minute on a low heat, add the pernod and continue to stir gradually then add the milk and salt and pepper. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the floury taste has gone and you are left with a smooth glossy slightly thick sauce, add the grated cheese and stir till melted and finish by adding the cream.
Check out Shoot The Bull’s full profile here
To find out more about the Leeds Waterfront Festival click here