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Street food interviews: Jessica Olson of Only Jerkin'

Jessica Olson is the founder of Only Jerkin', a street food company speicalising in unbelieveably tasty jerk chicken nuggets triple dipped in a ginger beer batter. Here she discusses how she first got into the street food scene and the lessons she's learnt so far.

Hi Jess! So what originally inspired your decision to go into street food?

Our inspiration actually came from our jerk chicken nuggets. After the discovery one night cooking dinner at home, we couldn’t wait to share it’s tasty crispy goodness with the world and street food was the quickest and easiest way to do this.

Why did you specifically select Caribbean cuisine?

Luke's father is from the Caribbean so has been brought up on the cuisine. Cooking was a huge thing in his family!

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What are the most important things to bear in mind for chefs looking to get into street food?

I had no idea of the amount of work that goes into setting up a market stall every day. I think that would be the main shocker for chefs as they are used to working in a fixed kitchen space. Secondly, you are exposed to all customers at all time... no hiding away in the kitchen.

Why do you think that the London street food scene is thriving to such an extent at the moment?

People are now more willing to try new cuisines and flavours, and that’s exactly what street food brings. There’s now such an excitement of food being cooked there in front of you, which people are totally buying into.

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Do you think the street food movement is going to continue to grow across the UK?

Most definitely... well to the cities anyway. We have been doing a few events up in Birmingham and the scene there is certainly growing.

Are there any other food trends that are particularly exciting you at the moment?

We love the collaborations going on at the moment between street food traders. There are some seriously tasty combos like Butchies X Voodoo Ray's and Burger and Beyond X Other Side Fried.

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Do you have any street-food related funny stories?

Well at the time this was far from funny, but looking back... We were working a very busy event, I ran to the van to get more stock and managed to lock myself in the back without a phone. I found a gazebo pole in the back which I could reach the horn with, so continuously beeped, waving my hand through a small gap. Eventually a passerby came to my rescue, but many people looked and carried on walking by!

What's the best tip that you ever received?

Winter tips - wrapping plastic bags around your feet, you look ridiculous but it’s the only way to survive out there.

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The most delicious thing you've ever tasted?

The first thing that comes to mind as it was a few days ago is the homemade flatbreads served at Queens in Camberwell.

Where can people find you?

Rupert Street in Soho, Wednesday-Friday 11am-3pm.

At various KERB markets which change month to month. Currently at their West India Quays market every Wednesday and the Gherkin one Thursday of every month. Details can be found on our Instagram.


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