- June 12th 2017
On our quest for the must-visit food trucks on the British festival scene this #BarbourSummer, we found Anna Mae's Mac 'n' Cheese. We caught up with co-founder Tony, as he shares the inspiration behind their menu, his favourite memories of working at British festivals, and gives us a sneak peek at the dish created just for Barbour…
Firstly, where did the ingenious idea of taking the humble ‘Mac & Cheese’ out on the road come from?
Anna and I founded ‘Anna Mae’s’ 6 years ago when we’d had enough of our office jobs! Through a whim (and a prayer or two). We put in a lot of graft, blood, sweat and tears to form what you see today. When we started out, American food in London hadn’t been much more than burgers and hotdogs. We had an idea and, combined with knowledge of South American inspired cooking, decided to play around with ingredients and the popular foods out there.
Street and ‘festival’ food is a big part of getting outside and enjoying summer - where did your inspiration behind the menu come from?
We love the versatility of ‘Mac 'n' Cheese’. Whether it’s that American staple of Kraft ‘mac in a box’, or an eloquent Black Truffle number - posh or not, ‘Mac 'n' cheese has always got us right in the heart! It’s infused with a primal pull that leaves us feeling satisfied, but ever looking for our next cheesy hit.
Much of your menu has been influenced by Southern America. Is there a particular memory or experience that has influenced your choice of ingredients on your menu?
Each dish has a different inspiration. The great thing about mac 'n' cheese is that you can top it with so many different things – the possibilities are endless. We’re always taking inspiration from our travels to different culinary places around the world and in London.
If you had to choose only one dish from your menu, what would it be?
The Kayne Western – it’s Mac with chopped beef hot dog, BBQ sauce and crispy onions. It’s so wrong, but so right!
Anna Mae's resident #BarbourDogs, Albus likes to match his festival attire to Anna and Tony.
You’ve created us a special dish and we can’t wait to try it! What was the inspiration behind your #BarbourSummer recipe?
As burgers on the BBQ are a massive part of the summer food scene for most of us, we decided to re-create the burger experience by using our mac 'n' cheese as the main ingredient.
Barbour has been around for over 100 years. What was your earliest memory of the brand?
Well – Anna grew up on a horse farm in the South Downs. Her Barbour was always the first thing she put on in the morning, and the last thing off at night after a day feeding, mucking out and riding the horses!
What do you like most about the Festival inspired collection you’re wearing today?
When we’re working outside in the summer and all that brings (i.e. bucket loads of rain) it’s great to have something truly practical, that also has its roots in classic English style. The pieces are sturdy and fit for purpose, whilst also being comfortable enough to allow movement - an essential when you’re serving through a window all day or out and about offering samples.
What is most likely to be found in the pocket of your Barbour jacket whilst you are serving?
Cable ties…as odd as it sounds! When anything goes wrong on the job or at a festival, cable ties can fix most of them. And when I run out of cable ties? Usually a can of cider to allow me to sit down, take a sip and not worry too much about what’s going wrong!
And finally, what other festivals can we expect to bump into you this summer?
We’ve got Boomtown, Secret Garden Party, and Bestival, in the Isle of Wight. We'll then be at Wilderness, Number 6, Shambala, Big Festival, and Green Man. We'd love to see all of you there!
Follow the #BarbourSummer Campaign next week, as we catch up with Spit and Roast!