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Café Môr


Cafe Mor

This is a mobile caterer on a mission. A mission to celebrate Welsh produce in a unique and inspiring and delicious way. We chat to Jon Williams, founder and owner of Café Môr, about getting started in the business, and some of his pretty impressive achievements... 'Môr' is 'sea' in Welsh by the way.


Hi Jon! When and why did you start Café Môr?

Hello! I started Cafe Môr in 2010; I was sitting at my desk in Swindon wondering how on earth I had ended up there. I was missing the sea and the beaches of Pembrokeshire and was thinking I needed to find a way to get back home quickly - spending hours every day in front of the computer was not what I wanted to do. I'm a beach bum at heart so needed to be near a beach!

So one night I sat down and really looked at what I enjoyed in life and it became clear that the sea, food, and being creative were my passions. The next day I told my boss that I was going to work part time to allow me to start my new mobile catering career which would be based on the best of Pembrokeshire produce from the sea and wild seashore plants and seaweeds.


Was it easy getting started?

Yep it was, borrowed some funky old kitchen stuff from my folks and hired a stall at the local farmers market. The biggest lessons I learned in my first season trading are to keep it simple, which I am still trying to learn to this day, and to know who your customers are and where they are likely to be!

 

How did you choose which food to serve?

I love seafood and love the flavour that seaweeds and seashore vegetables bring out in seafood. I felt that Pembrokeshire needed to know how good the seafood was as most of it gets exported to Europe. It was a simple choice.


We’ve never seen lobster at Glastonbury before… how did that go down?

Went down a storm! We had the poor fisherman in Pembrokeshire out at all times to keep up with stocks. The lobster was brought in around 5pm Friday, transported overnight and I had it in my hands by 9am Saturday morning, don’t think Glastonbury has ever seen such fresh beautiful lobster before!


Delicious food by Cafe Mor

Excellent, excellent. Tell us about your LAVERBREAD!

Ah well, laverbread is delicacy in Wales and has been for hundreds of years. We use laver seaweed as a backbone for a lot of our cooking from making sauces with it (drying it out and using it as a condiment which we have named “Welshman’s Caviar”) to putting it in our cakes and puddings. Essentially laverbread is laver seaweed which has been boiled for 10 hours and made into a green/black purée, admittedly it is not the best looking ingredient out there but it is packed full of flavour and marries beautifully with seafood.


Our freshly made flatbreads are still the biggest seller, we make our own dough and fill it with crab, or salmon or cockles and then wrap them and dry fry them in big paella pans.


What about working in the Olympic Village in 2012?

Those where hazy days. We got contracted to provide 20,000 seashore wraps and I spent 3 months with a local bakery to make them. A week before they were meant to start they bailed out. I got a phone call at Hay on Wye festival and my heart dropped; my good lady was 9 months pregnant and we had 3 weeks to deliver the stock. Josie was born on the Sunday, and on Monday morning I hired out a local commercial kitchen to start making the wraps.

 

We completed the contract and arrived on site with 2 days spare. Our Beach Shack got completely covered in health and safety tape and all of our stock went missing for 3 days but it all came good just as the first athletes started entering the village.


London was buzzing during those 3 weeks but the athlete’s village was something else. I guess after 4 years of intense training all the athletes were just on cloud nine just to be there. The food went down a storm and we got asked to cater for the British Athletes after-party which started around midnight after the closing ceremony, it was a great night!


Trading at the Olympic Village

Experiences like that are few and far between so it was simply fantastic to be part of and a big thanks must go to LOCOG for letting a rogue street food trader from west Wales into their immaculate village!


Well done on your shortlisting for the Pembrokeshire Sustainable Tourism award and the Green Trader silver award (and you thought you’d never go back to Glastonbury…)! What have you done to get these acknowledgments?

Sustainability has always been a passion of mine so we do what we can to lesson our impact on our surroundings. We’ve tailored our menu to use only sustainable seafood, focussing on crab and lobster, and using lesser known species of fish. We work closely with the Marine Conservation Society to help promote sustainable seafood.


Sustainability runs through the core of the business from packaging to stalls made from drift wood. All of our lighting are LEDS; they use less power which means less demand for power at events, saving us money in the long run. And they last for bloody ages!


The thing I hate most is waste. We work hard to make sure that there’s no food waste at all from events; any leftovers get re-made into new dishes if possible or distributed amongst the staff. We have almost zero food waste; good for the environment and the pocket.


Cafe Mor in Pembrokeshire

We also work closely with our suppliers to get re-usable catering-size food packs and find ways to help minimise food waste. The old phrase “one man’s waste is another man’s treasure” is something we adopt. We found a guy who runs his old van on cooking oil so we get rid of our waste oil to him for free and he gets to run his van for free.


Your pitch at the National Trust’s Freshwater West is quite an achievement!

I wanted to have a semi-permanent location in Pembrokeshire; a flag ship where people could come to us and experience great street food. Now in Pembrokeshire we have some lovely little markets but we do not have a burgeoning street food scene like in London so I drove around Pembrokeshire to find a location.

Freshwater West was the only place that ticked all of the boxes. It’s my favourite beach in the world; I grew up surfing, fishing and throwing beach parties here, plus it’s simply stunning.


Secondly I have used Freshwater West for a number of years to collect seaweeds and it has an historic link to collecting laver seaweed which is one of the main ingredients we use. An old seaweed hut is still there as a reminder of the historic links it has to the trade. So I approached the National Trust and the concession at Fresh Water West was coming up for tender so I basically put in a kick-ass tender that blew the competition out of the water.


How’s ‘developing food tourism in a sustainable manner’ going?

We work closely with the National Trust in Pembrokeshire by developing links with local suppliers on National Trust land. We also produce newsletters and leaflets about the best local food and producers’ so that visitors to the area instantly know where to go to get the raw cooking ingredients or the best eating experience. It's early days but I think food tourism in Pembrokeshire is going from strength to strength which is fantastic for the local suppliers as well as for the local economy.


How has your NCASS membership helped you?

As soon as I thought about doing street food I went on Google and found out about NCASS. Bob's book was my bible for the first year; so much good advice and it just keeps coming every year. The food safety manual is great, the guidance is fantastic and advice on new events is invaluable!



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"Invaluable"


"As soon as I thought about doing street food I went on Google and found out about NCASS. Bob’s book was my bible for the first year; so much good advice and it just keeps coming every year. The food safety manual is great, the guidance is fantastic and advice on new events is invaluable!"

Jon Williams, Café Môr, Mem No 8896

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Cafe Mor are based in Pembrokeshire

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Thanks, Café Môr!

www.beachfood.co.uk


Cafe Mor is based in Pembrokeshire