About the JabberwockyAwards, books and toasties.
About The Jabberwocky
This is us; Barny and Flic. We bought our green food van, lovingly known as the Beast, in early 2011 and have been making street food ever since. It’s our full time job, our hobby and our chosen specialist subject on Mastermind. In 2015 we added to the industry in the form of a book, Street Food Soliloquy, and a new toastie enthusiast: our son Mortimer.
Barny has been a restaurant chef, a chemistry teacher and has worked at summer camp in the USA. It’s easy to see how street food was a natural progression from there. He is the Revered Grand Master of Toasties (self-bestowed) and still considers them his favourite food. Current occupations with the Jabberwocky include Owner, Executive Head Toastie Slinger, Maintenance Guy and Bookkeeper.
Barny is the guy behind the twitter. Worth a follow I dare say.
Flic came down the other Street Food career path, working as a Games Master (actual job title) and in marketing for Some Random Company. Having grown exceedingly bored of selling people things they didn’t want to buy, she moved on to toasties, which everyone loves. She is the Chronicler of the Jabberwocky, Chief Service Officer, Director and Payroll Monkey.
The Beast is a Long Wheelbase VW LT31 with an uncanny level of reliability for his age and a contradictory tendency to break down unexpectedly. He contains a full kitchen, perfectly designed for selling toasties and has been consistently awarded a 5-star hygiene rating by Warwick District Council. He is not a big fan of hills.
You can follow the Beast on twitter (of course), although he mostly just tweets what we tell him to.
Leamington Hospitality Business of the Year 2016 (Details)
We entered this award in 2014 and were finalists, but didn’t take home a trophy on the night. This time we did! It’s a special honour to be recognised in your home town, and the trophy (a replica of the Jehpson Garden railings) has pride of place in our collection.
Sandwich Designer of the Year Semi Finalist (Details)
We beat last year’s total by getting 4 different entries through to the Semi Final, even if a place in the final wasn’t to be this year.
Cafe Life Sandwich Challenge Semi Finalist (Details)
Once again we took a sandwich down to the glitzy award ceremony in London. What a night!
NOEA Caterer of the Year 2015 (Details)
The National Outdoor Events Association are the trade body for the festival industry. They said: “…the judges recognise that this part of the industry has changed dramatically, Jabberwocky bring something new to event catering and really deliver this.”
Sandwich Designer of the Year Semi Finalist 2015 (Details)
The British Sandwich Association Awards are the crème de la crème of sandwich making goodness. We got close with a version of our curried lamb toastie. Next time.
Best Afternoon Tea 2015
We managed to get our pet project, the sushi afternoon tea, through to the finals at the Cafe Life Awards.
Leamington Business Warm Welcome Award 2014
It was a privilege being able to represent Leamington, even if we didn’t win. Plus the food at the awards ceremony was lovely!
BBC Midlands Street Food Award 2013
This gave us a free pitch at the BBC Good Food Show, our first ever major event. Good times.
Frequently Asked Questions
We get asked a few things all the time in the van, so in case you were wondering, here are the answers.
What’s your best-selling toastie?
It is, and always will be, the cheese and ham. Sometimes you just can’t mess with a classic. Instead we use amazing local cheddar and organic, rare breed ham to make it possibly the finest cheese and ham toastie you have ever eaten.
Do you have a favourite toastie?
Any toastie only gets on the menu in the first place after rigorous R&D, which means we have to like it. Notwithstanding that, there are a few that stick out as favourites: The Reuben, the Manwich, the Scotch Egg, the strawberry cheesecake and the BBQ chicken, along with many others.
How long have you been going?
We bought the van in Jan 2011 and have been trading since late that year. In July 2013 we finally quit the day jobs and the Jabberwocky has been sustaining us ever since.
Did you convert the van yourselves?
No, we bought it with the hatch and the counters already in, then made it safe and legal from there. Our next project we are building from scratch though. Barny’s getting pretty handy these days!
Do you do brown bread?
Valid question. No, we don’t. However our loaf comes from a little bakery in Wellesbourne and is made specially for us. It’s perfect for toasties, only 4 ingredients long (flour, yeast, water and salt) and delivers the crispiest of toastie exteriors.
What’s your weirdest toastie combo?
The Elvis is peanut butter, maple bacon, honey and banana. We also have a scallop one with cauliflower, black pudding and cheesy béchamel sauce. The lovely thing about toasties is that almost everything works. Pro tip: don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Have you ever done Glastonbury?
We have been offered a pitch there, but we turned it down. To make money at Glasto you need to be selling all day, every day, and firing those toasties out of the hatch at speed. We prefer the relaxed atmosphere of the boutique festival any day – plus there are some epic smaller festivals round here.
The Jabberwocky Soliloquy
This is the blog: long-serving first hand account of our adventures and misadventures in street food. It’s a big part of what we do, and it’s what makes us truly the Jabberwocky. The posts below are some of our favourites.
Knowledge that has been handed down through the ages about the art of encompassing melted cheese within bread. Here is the best way to make a toastie; each method excelling in its own way and providing you, the cheese connoisseur, with nuclear hot, melted glory. The...
Knowing you have a problem is the first step towards living with cheese addiction. If you have come this far then you probably already suspect that you are a cheese addict, or you are seeking help for a close friend of relative. Raising awareness of Cheese...
Little is known about these beasts, which migrate across our land in a mysterious flow of events, markets and festivals. Today we will observe the street food truck when taken out of it's natural habitat and allowed to nest within a musical gathering. First, we see...
We never really encourage it, but strange requests are one of the nice things about working in street food. It means, I think, that people feel able to trust you as much as they would a restaurant to improvise with food. Mostly this means solving problems with...
There are conventions in customer psychology that are unspoken but carefully observed, like a code of conduct for street trading which we have noticed sits just below the surface. Once noticed it seems to be everywhere, or perhaps it's just me. The Invisibility Gap....
If you are looking for serious and useful advice please check out our post on starting and running a street food business. This post is, at best, silly and unhelpful in that respect, but nonetheless, in the opinion of the author, delightfully readable and...
Not Just a Pretty Van
Street Food Soliloquy
This is the book we wrote to accompany the all the information on the site about starting a street food business. It’s selling well, has great reviews on Amazon and is full of the equivalent of about three years of blog posts. Plus people tell me it’s quite entertaining, which is nice of them.
As we keep bringing it up, you might have noticed above that we have won a few awards. We’re very chuffed about this, which is why we keep mentioning it. Multi award winning street food. That’s us. Not just one. Several.
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