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Market serves up global goodies

Cape Town - Sean Smith and Tori Vickery liked making French toast in their own kitchen so much, they had to bring their creations to other people.

Sunday marked their foray into the world of markets at the Cape Town Street Food Festival, a World Design Capital 2014 project at Sidestreet Studios in Woodstock.

Tori Vickery makes French Toast. Picture: Willem LawA recognised World Design Capital 2014 project, The Cape Town Street food Festival aimed to introduce people to the Citys most loved street food. Picture: Willem LawFestivalgoers take shelter from the poor weather. Picture: Willem LawGetting stuck into the gatsby-eating contest at Cape Town's first street food festival  at Sidestreet Studios in Woodstock.  Picture: Willem LawA birds-eye view of the festival. Picture: Willem LawTim Patterson cooks paella. Picture: Willem Law

“We love market culture,” Smith said. “You get to meet eclectic people, and sit outside, and really enjoy this Cape Town winter.”

It was a lot more stressful on the other side of the table, Vickery said, but it was “fun, even more fun than in our kitchen”.

“And when people come back and tell you they enjoyed your food, it’s really rewarding.”

Kyle Miller, who owns Lotus food truck with Chris Payne, said they wanted to get people thinking about different food.

“Street food is about bringing different ideas to Cape Town,” he said.

Lotus was the third food truck to roll the streets of Cape Town, and the first to do Asian – authentic, with a South African twist, he said.

“I wanted to bring this fusion of flavours to the streets.”

Their approach, he said, was a departure from the mundane burgers-and-chips type of food, and an exploration of healthy fast food on the go.

“It’s artisanal, it’s craft,” he said.

There was value in it, too, for Cape Town. “It’s opening up the streets,” he said. “Every culture is represented by its food – it’s at the heart of what people are, so you’re teaching them.”

Tim Patterson, of Gusto, pushed around jollof rice in a wide, hot pan, and explained that markets were characterised by informality.

“As a vendor, you put out what you want and people decide if they like it or not. People see food as it is prepared and can choose by looking,” he said.

And choices abound. “If you go to a market you get food from every corner of the world,” Patterson said.

Indeed, steps away from koeksisters were craft beers.

A truck with a smoky braai was parked across from another with Hungarian flat breads. There were also pancakes, pizza and burritos on offer.

Henri Visser, who organised the event with Patrick Visser, said she wanted to “celebrate the food that is such a big part of our lives”.

“I want people to get inspired, and to expose people to the talent we have in Cape Town.”

She said street food was about giving a nod to where you came from.

“It’s the most basic food, stripped of pretence,” Visser said.

“And all these vendors are all so passionate about what they make. That’s what excites me.”

She loved the sense of community among the vendors, of which there were about 25.

The turn-out was so strong, she said she hoped to make the street food market a monthly event.

“Let’s celebrate the guys that do the deal,” she said. “Let’s just do food.”

Anne Steele, Cape Argus

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