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Caterer Profile

Low 'N' Slow


Low-'N'-Slow

When did you start Low & Slow? Had you always wanted to be a caterer or
did you fall into it?

I started Low ‘N’ Slow in June 2013; I was made redundant from my job as a panel wirer, something I’d been doing for 4 years. The job was never anything I felt I could do for the rest of my life and I dreamt of doing something that I’m passionate about, something I’d want to get up every day for.


When I was made redundant my girlfriend and family encouraged me to seek a route into food as that and music are my two main loves in life. I started thinking about how I could do it without ever having any proper training - I’m essentially self-taught. I’d been cooking pulled pork (in the oven) and my brisket chilli for years for private parties and family events. I always wanted to learn the art of BBQ / smoking.

Low-N-Slow-Stall

After doing some research on the internet I spoke to the boys at NCASS who were very helpful, they encouraged me and gave me the info I needed on what steps to take to make things happen. I had been drumming up a lot of interest posting pictures and asking questions on Facebook so held a tasting session from my garage one Saturday morning where I sold about 50 portions in a few hours to friends and family. After that my local pub gave me their beer garden for free on a Saturday and I started doing Saturdays there creating more of a following for my food and getting feedback.


What food do you serve? can you tell me about it?

The food I serve is inspired by American style smoked BBQ then I try to add and tweak things to give it a British twist and bring flavours together I like to eat. The food I am putting out now has come a long way in the six months I’ve been going. My two main dishes are18 hour hickory pulled pork and brisket chilli, but I also do smoked beef short ribs, pork baby back ribs and will soon be adding oak smoked sliced BBQ brisket.

I use meat from my local family run butchers who also source locally. My bread is made by an artisan baker and all my sauces and dressing are made by myself, using fresh local ingredients where possible, adding nothing but natural flavourings. The food is very labour intensive and preparing for a night like Digbeth Dining Club alone can take 3 days cooking, getting up early to collect meat and prepare it, get it on, then take it off 18 hours later whether that’s the next morning or the middle of the night.


You’re a first year caterer, What lessons have you learned? What advice would you give to a start up?

My advice to anyone thinking about doing this is firstly, have a good solid idea of what food you want to do and be passionate about that food, I get a lot of people ask me how to set up then when I ask what they want to sell they don’t even know yet!!!!


I always tell people once you have a solid idea of what food you want to do, make sure you have good branding and a concept / theme, these basic s should be a natural reflection of yourself. Seek advice from NCASS and the guys in the scene trading at events. Be humble and grateful to people who buy your food, never take anything for granted, never sit back and think anyone owes you anything, a good product with a bad attitude will be sniffed out straight away. All of that as well as get the right accreditation, insurances, equipment and qualifications and you won’t go far wrong.


Low-N-Slow-Burger

Also, have fun, do it because you love it - we aren’t making millions, we aren’t in it to make millions, the main thing for me is job satisfaction and being proud of what I do. The scene is full of friendly helpful people who are all in it for the one same reason, we LOVE cooking food and want to put our own take on things.


When I first met you at Dining Club we talked about your gas set up, the next time I saw you, you’d invested in the (NCASS approved) Bingham’s gas rig. Are you glad you changed over?

I am yes, a lot of traders saw it as an unnecessary expense, and admittedly it wasn’t cheap and while the rig I was using was signed off by an engineer it restricted me from where I could set up and limited me to where I could trade, I can now set up my appliances in different wayS and places in my gazebo and have my gas bottle right away from where I am serving/cooking, meaning it can’t be messed with or god forbid anything happening during service; its clean out the way of danger, which to me is priceless.

I had a fire officer at a big two day event say it’s the best rig he has seen and get a lot of traders and customers say how professional it looks.


Would you recommend it to other traders?

Yes, if they are serious about what they do and take their business seriously.


Has it helped you to focus on the health & safety aspects of your business or is this something that you always considered?

It’s something I’ve constantly been on top of and aware of, but after getting the rig and talking to people, it makes me realise how many traders out there, mainly markets and non-street food guys are using equipment that is so dangerous its quite scary. Things like Flame Failure Devices on equipment and placement of the gas bottle are things that we should all make good practice and something that with a little thought can be done safely and affordably.


The street food scene in the Midlands is not as developed (less events and markets) than in London, how does it compare?

The scene is maybe less developed, but we aren’t as big an area as London. I don’t like to compare us really, I have the up most respect for London and obviously they are a massive inspiration to us but I think for us to stand alone we have to have our own thing going on, which we have. We have DDC that was voted best event in the country that runs weekly all year long apart from January. Week by week there are more events popping up, not all positive, but the foundation is here and it will only grow and grow, as long as the main object of these events is about the food and the party, not just making money - with huge pitch fee’s or cramming as many traders into one event as possible.


How do you think/hope the Midlands street food scene will develop? What do Brummies think of street food?

I know the Midlands scene will continue to grow because we have such amazing passionate traders and people putting on events who genuinely care about the scene. The events that are established will continue to grow and do what they do best, the rubbish events run by people who don’t have that passion will be whittled out and make space for new people to develop new ideas and build exciting things.


You worked at the 4 squares event, which we consulted on, how did that go? Would you say that was the first time most Brummies had come across street food? Did they like it?

It was a good event, I think it gave exposure to a lot of us to people that may not know about what we are doing and the fact that street food or, food on the street doesn’t HAVE to be a potato or a burger, there is obviously room for those products and I am not knocking that, but in this day and age I think it’s good that people can buy something different and get restaurant quality or style food, on the go and for a fraction of the price. I think it got a lot of exposure for our street food events, maybe brought in new people to the events and also showed the city council that we are wanted in the centre as much as these other products that have been around for a long time.


What food do you like to eat at events and markets?

Hmmmm I love to eat, so that’s a tough one. I love smoked food but when I’m out I like to try and eat things I don’t cook myself. I love Thai food, my friend Sai who runs Buddha Belly makes the best Thai food around. I’m a sucker for a good burger as well so I love the patty men and the Meat shack and always go for Caribbean food when I can get it, curry goat is one of my favourite meals. I also love sea food, mussels, prawns, scallops are heaven for me! Oh and anything from the Mexican Bean is always a winner!


Are there any issues that you think NCASS should be prioritising to support your business and event caterers?

I would like to see more events promoters look at the whole health and safety aspect of things, as I said earlier I see a lot of very dangerous set ups and practises that I feel are over looked to get events to happen, I know this is something you guys are constantly working on though but it won’t happen overnight.


When you’re not selling food at markets and events, what do you get up to? how do you spend your down time?

I spend my own time doing a lot of cooking still, I love cooking for my friends and family so never get sick of it. I’m also a DJ when I get chance, I’ve been really into Hip Hop since I was 12 years old and love going to clubs and gigs to see and support artists, I have a lot of friends who are DJs and rappers so get to see the cream of the crop. I also love trainers and fashion, whenever I have spare money I love buying trainers and clothes as well as looking at and learning about graffiti art, again something I’ve been in to since I was a kid, basically the whole Hip Hop culture


Did you know NCASS once got retweeted by hip-hop legends the Pharcyde?

That’s mad that pharcyde re tweeted you haha, I’m a big fan of theirs, have been since I was a kid!


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