What a year. After the ravages of 2020, everything was meant to be back to normal in 2021. It wasn’t. With countries going in and out of lockdown, live events were the first things to suffer, and our planned national Awards in Austria, Georgia, Russia, France and Bulgaria? All cancelled. HOWEVER we still managed national Awards in 10 countries (thank you Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland, Poland, Scotland, Wales and Britain) and we’ll be back with the European Street Food Awards where country can compete with country again. What a party that’s going to be! We’re just staring at the calendar until it’s next year…
Travelling across borders wasn’t possible this year, with quarantine rules as they were, so an international competition with a Big Time grand finale wasn’t possible But we made the best of what we’d been given. Like 2020, we were one of only a handful of organisations that managed to run a live food event in a pandemic. We learnt how to deliver things safely AND soundly, and that’s a blessing. We’ve also been busy working with traders in the USA ahead of the launch of the USA Street Food Awards in 2023. And the American winners can’t wait to take on the champs of Europe!
In a year when so many street food traders were forced to close down, we were delighted to see so many familiar faces. We had a fair few returning champions. Porcobrado in Italy, for instance, who won the Italian Street Food Awards back in 2017 and took home the Best Sandwich at the first EVER European Street Food Awards when we parked up at Bite Club in Berlin. The Icelandic jury chose the same champion as 2020 – the wild game experts Silli Kokkur. But we were staggered by the influx of new talent. And our first ever winners from Switzerland.
It might have been the toughest year in our history, but we still managed to find the very best that’s out there. Food Mutiny (who now run the Street Food Awards in Britain, Europe and the USA) have a habit of blazing trails. So we’ve also decided to build our own stage where the best can perform. With the coolest traders on rotation. At Bumper Bar + Kitchens, we will make ‘food courts’ look very static and old fashioned. Watch this space. But for now, it’s all about the talent that’s working the streets. And waiting, fingers crossed, for 2022. Not long now….