It rained all weekend. But the people still came to Henryka Sienkiewicza Street for the 2021 Polish Street Food Awards hosted by Street Food Polska. And of the 33 vans, trucks and trailers nominated, it was Centralne Biuro Smaku – or the Taste Central Office – who ran out as champions. They may only have been operating since June, but their menu of ostrich spring rolls and kimchi pork soup blew the judges away.
Jarosław Śliwka, the truck’s head chef, has had experience running his own restaurant. He has appeared in “Top Chef” – one of the most popular cooking shows in Poland – where he promoted modern Silesian cuisine. He had a reputation across the country for genuine culinary ingenuity. But the pandemic was crippling his business. So he pivoted. And clearly he pivoted successfully.
It’s a story that we’ve seen a lot since the start of the pandemic. “Our food truck is the result of lockdown – and the closure of gastronomy” says Jarosław. Because the ESFA finals can’t be held this year, Jarosław will receive a green card, and automatically “jump” into the finals next year to compete with the finalist from 2020 AND the finalists selected in 2022. Can’t wait.