Starting out with a food blog and some magazine articles, husband-and-wife duo Billy and Kayleigh Jarvis have always loved food (especially crispy squid). Branded under ‘Cocktails and Calamari’, the team started out at local markets in a gazebo, before buying a food van and starting Calamari Canteen for real. Join them to dig into freshly made crispy squid, seafood burgers and fries.
How did you get into the street food business?
One day, in 2019, Billy decided to book a trader spot at the Essex Food and Drinks festival. We had no set-up, equipment, branding or social media – it was a whim, but it worked! We did it, served hundreds of people – with the help of a few willing friends and cheap fryers – and we loved the rush. Then we joined KERB, did London Christmas markets, got our brilliant graphic designer friend (Katherine Pearce) to brand us up, and we bought our own van.
How do you find your recipes?
We come up with all our recipes ourselves. Kayleigh loves the creativity of coming up with dishes for events, the van and pop-ups. There are lots of scribbles and ideas in notebooks around the house. Calamari Canteen and our sister brand, Bait Restaurant, keep our creative minds going.
What fun stories do you have from your food truck?
For us, the fun part about working in street food is the community of other traders around us. Come rain or shine, the laughs and chats keep us all going.
What are you most excited about at the Selfridges Christmas Market?
We have been to a lot of east London events and markets, and it will be great to chat to new customers and get our food out to new people in central London. We love Christmas and can’t wait for the lights, atmosphere and cheer around the market – and, of course, trying out all the other traders’ food, too!