Like many businesses, we changed course during the Covid pandemic. Only slightly admittedly, in fact more of a subtle swerve. I always used to say that we provided fun catering rather than full meals or the like. During the lockdown though a number of our biggest clients started asking for burgers and fries, Chinese noodles, rice pots and the like.
Not a problem, we can do that. What did crop up as a concern though was the fact that providing 900 burgers, meant we were having to transport far more stock than what we used to do with say candy floss, which at most would be a big tub of sugar. 900 buns take up a considerable amount of room.
So what to do, the obvious choice was buy bigger vans, trouble is, parking is a nightmare in places like London when you have a little van, so something long wheel base would be a nightmare. The other option was to acquire some box trailers. These could be used for things like stock, freezers, additional catering equipment etc. And when we didn’t need them could be left at base and we were back to our usual small vans.
The first of our new Debon C500 trailers has just arrived and been collected from the dealers. Pictured below this gives us a decent amount of additional carrying capacity, both in space and weight terms. It also looks the part being a modern construction, so will look great parked up at events.
The first thing we did on taking delivery, was to get it straight into our graphics people to have it lettered. Now this is a new thing for us. In the past because of the amount of jobs we did for other events companies we shied away from having the vans personalised. But with some young blood on the management team we have rethought that position and will be making sure our new Crazy & Co. brand is front and centre whenever possible.
Ziggy & Our New Branding
Pictured below is the current design for the trailer. Ziggy our zebra logo is prominent, along with details of what we do. Our web and social media, and a quirky saying for those following us to laugh about.
Next up in our new range of food trucks is our converted horse box. We looked at a wide range of converted horse trailers, but were never 100% happy with the design. We happened by chance upon a maker called Sinclair, long defunct, but their trailers were different as they had a curved front panel rather than the usual triangular style.
After much searching we located one at the other end of the country, a brief conversation and we were told that it is perfect, ready for the road.
Cue and early morning trip to Bournemouth. On arrival, the rather vacant sounding young man informed us that actually the lights don’t work. Hmm, so not quite road worthy then. Luckily I had the foresight to throw a lighboard in.
However upon examining the trailer we discovered that it had four different sized wheels.
“Tell you what mate, I’ll ring the boss and tell her about the trailer and let you know”
Luckily I had a back up plan, I had found another trailer at Knutsford, only about 100 miles out of our way on the return trip lol, and this one was described as ‘mint’.
We duly arrived at Knutsford. The trailer was far from mint, but it was suitable for what we wanted. We struck a deal, coupled up and discovered that a short on the trailer lights had blew the lights on the van. That turned into a whole other saga as changing the fuse necessitated a full strip down of the dash to reach the bloody thing.
But I digress, we set off home sans lights. On the way we did receive a text message from the first seller asking when we would be returning for the first trailer. FFS, we left there 7 hours ago.
The Initial Strip Down
After careful consideration we decided that rather than doing what most people seem to do, a quick coat of brush paint and throw some counters in, we decided to make it something nice.
So we started with a complete strip down to the bare frames, leaving my other half to retort, all you have actually bought is a bloody frame!
Taking it back to bare metal we primed everything with rustcoat, then coated the entire frame with black Raptor, one of our favourite products. This gives a hard wearing textured finish that protects everything and covers amazingly well.
One of the concerns the health inspector had was that the original floor would contain years of horse urine soaked into the wood. No probs, as we stripped and burned the original wood flooring and binned the rubber coating.
A new wood floor was fitted, two coats of stain to seal it, then a new rubber coating.
Big Decision, Wooden Cladding
One of the major decisions was how we were going to finish the exterior. The original wood was a high grade hardwood, but because all the screws and bolts were seized in, we pretty much destroyed it taking it off. A trip to our local wood guys yard and a look through his collection of woods saw us settling on Sapele. A tropical hardwood that is related to mahogany, and is a fabulous colour, ranging from red to golden brown.
We used a soak in wood treatment on all the panels, then a number of coats of satin varnish, as we didn’t want an overly glossy look to the trailer.
We also settled on a satin black for the fibreglass roof and aluminium corner panels. Again, we wanted a less shiny look, though I admit the satin clearcoat was a nightmare to spray without it looking patchy. In the end after numerous attempts I gave up. But curiously, after a couple of weeks the patches disappeared and a uniform coating appeared????
The front corner panels were steel, they were overly heavy and badly rusted, so we replaced them with three mm aluminium. In retrospect two mm might have been sufficient as the three really took some bending.
Making It Different
We wanted a different look to the usual horse trailers, and I freely admit that we had seen an American horse trailer that we loved, so we used that for inspiration. One of the things we added to achieve this different look was a number of windows, both to let light into the trailer, and to add some visual appeal.
On To The Interior
Finally we got started with the interior. A number of steel frames were built in situ, with sapele front panels added and temporary countertops in MDF. A water tank, water heater and waste system, single and three phase electrics and a cooking fume extraction system. Also in common with our other food trucks we added a 42 inch display for menus and such.
The interior corners we added alternating sapele and idigbo strips to add some visual effect.
Another Of Our Food Trucks Almost Finished
Our programmable light panel.
We added decorative copper panels to the exterior and additional windows to the front. Just waiting on the production of our top sign at this point.
Over the years, Citroen, the French Automobile manufacturer has stood out for doing things its own way. It has designed and utilised a number of systems for its cars different to anyone else. WIth it’s DS model in 1955 it gave the world a quirky hydraulic suspension system, swivelling headlights, a single spoke steering wheel, all wrapped up in a quirky streamlined body. Withs its 2CV, it gave something else.
A Legend Is Born
Post war France, like many nations was struggling with austerity, rebuilding, the after effects of that cataclysmic conflict. At the time in the Gallic nation, most people were still using horses and carts. The roads in most of the country were rural and unpaved.
Citroën Vice-President Pierre Boulanger wanted to design a vehicle that would be suitable for the many French farmers. Legend has it that the car he came up with was designed to allow a farmer to cross a ploughed field with a basket full of eggs, without them breaking.
Whether that was true or just an apocryphal story is open to debate. Either way the car features an unusual suspension set up, with a single horizontally mounted spring connected to both front and back wheels via shock absorbers, also mounted horizontally.
The Tin Snail
The novel suspension system was wrapped up in a simple tin body, corrugated for strength, whilst keeping the weight down, the car had a full length canvas roof, and has received a number of less than flattering names. An Umbrella On Wheels, The Duck, Tin Snail. Powering this new Citroen, was an air cooled, two cylinder boxer engine. Initially around 375 with a stunning 9HP. This was increased first to 425cc with 12.5 HP and then to 602 and 32 horses.
To keep costs down it came with no locks on the doors, a single taillight and no heating or ventilation system. Subject to much derision by the motoring press at launch, Citroen was flooded with customer orders, indeed at one point a second hand 2CV was more expensive than a new one due to the waiting list.
The motoring press got it wrong. Citroen sold 3.8 million of these little quirky cars, and it kept selling for over 40 years.
The car gradually became more ‘luxurious’ over the years, receiving upgrades such as wing mirrors, and two headlights. There was even a 4×4 version called the Sahara. True to form whilst everyone else in the automobile universe added a transfer box to split power between the front and back wheels, Citroen added a second engine in the boot to drive the back wheels. The car could run on front or back engines, or both, with two keys and starter buttons in the cabin, but a single linked gearstick, and two petrol tanks, one under each front seat, with holes in the doors for the filler caps.
Now you might wonder why a blog about a catering company has an article on a primitive French car? It’s simple really, the French didn’t just make the 2CV as a car, they also made a van version called the Fourgonnette. This was rapidly adopted by everyone from the local florist, to the French Post Office.
It has also been adopted by us. Well, not technically a 2CV van, but rather an Acadiane van. Basically this is a 2CV running gear and engine, with a slightly modernised cabin added. So instead of the single round headlights, you get a more modern streamlined wing mounted light. It is also slightly more powerful, and is based on the Dyane car, itself basically a facelifted 2CV.
This, like the rest of our fleet of food trucks, will be designed for multi use. From an espresso coffee bar, to a frozen yoghurt dispensary. Over the coming weeks we will post some more details as it is fitted out ready for launch.
Gone are the days when people were happy to book a ‘burger van’ for their event. Nowadays it isn’t enough for the food to be first class, the serving unit has to look good too. Everyone from the bride to the company director wants something ‘Instagrammable’ as social media continues it’s relentless takeover of the world, so food trucks seem to be the way to go.
To this end we have commissioned and have added, or are adding, a number of fun and quirky vehicles to our portfolio of food trucks.
The first of these is the venerable Citroen HY van. Only it isn’t. We looked carefully at where we operate, which is pretty much nationwide. The Citroen HY vans were last produced in `1981, making the youngest of them 41 years old. Not bad to nip to a local event or two, but a bit taxing for charging up and down the highways and byeways of this green and pleasant land. The size of them also means they are too heavy for our fleet of car transport trailers, so initially we were a bit stuck.
Then we happened upon a Spanish manufacturer, that was creating fabulous copies of the HY, but built upon a trailer chassis, and made from fibreglass and stainless steel, so pretty rot proof.
We ordered one in the middle of last summer, but with the six month waiting list, it turned up in the winter and then had a round a three month fit out period before we actually launched it.
Some images of the construction phase below. In truth more of a fit out phase, as the actual structure was provided pre made to us.
This one we engaged Fairtrade Fabrications to fit out for us. A protracted build period ended up, with a fabulous piece of kit. We are a bit limited in signage and theming as what we do is different everyday, so it makes it harder to add signs and such, though it looks like it will be appearing at a Christmas Fayre for a protracted period this winter, so that is liable to see a full branding effort.
Sports commentator and broadcaster Ian ‘Moose’ Abrahams has recently broke twitter with his latest weird food fetish tweet, about the filling he likes in his savoury crepes.
In the many years that we have been experienced crepe makers
we have found that Nutella and strawberries or lemon and sugar are the top choices
for sweet fillings and recently having offered savoury option cheese and ham or
a tomato and pesto being the top choices there. Now the fillings are all down
to personal choice and were not judging here however the twitter trolls have
been out in full force judging poor Abrahams for having one particular savoury
filling in his crepes.
TUNA!!! Is the culprit of the twitter agg! So someone out there –perhaps some warped and weird cook – is out there cooking crepes and filling them with tinned tuna chunks and people like Abrahams is loving it.
I mean as I said before we don’t judge here and tuna chunks are nice aren’t they? But many of the social media population don’t agree. The Sports Commentator has attracted a lot of attention for sharing his love on savory crepes on twitter. Many people are angry, many concerned and many are relieved that they can finally admit the same.
One tweet read ‘Ian mate you need locking up for
this’ whilst another quoted “That’s
the sort of thing a stoned student would eat. What’s for second course?
Porridge with cheese spread?”
Have you ever wondered about when the fair comes town. It suddenly appear on your doorstep, almost overnight in many cases?
The funfair owner just gets up one day and decides to come and set up in the park across from your house right?
Erm, no, not exactly. Most events are planned months in advance. Indeed many fairs follow a regular date, in some cases stretching back hundreds of years. They tend to be the culmination of much planning, regular meetings, inspections and so on.
We were responsible for a few years for the fairground supplied in conjunction with the summer festival at Gainsborough. I had happened across the event whilst passing through the town one summer day. I contacted the organisers about attending with some attractions at the following years event. This was politely declined, and I tried again the following year with a similar result. Out of the blue I received an email asking if I would like to supply a couple of candy floss and Popcorn stalls. So cue a meeting with the relevant people, a deal was agreed and I was asked to supply all of my safety documentation.
A few weeks later, again out of the blue, the organisers asked if I would be interested in supplying a full range of attractions. This meant another meeting and plans being discussed. This proceeded quite well, until it was pointed out that the council couldn’t agree this with us directly, it had to be put out to tender to a minimum of 3 operators.
All 3 of us submitted tenders, and eventually we were notified that we had been successful.
After receiving the green light, we submitted details of the actual line up we proposed along with safety documentation. Then the council Health & Safety team contacted us asking for an onsite meeting. Cue another trip to Gainsborough to talk through their concerns.
Full steam ahead now, or so we thought. Until we were informed that part of the car park could not be occupied. It turns out that a local solicitors needed 24hr access to their building. So this meant a rewrite of the plan, and some modification to the line up we were bringing.
The day before the event, we had to be in Gainsborough to oversee the setting up and siting of rides. We were obviously there for the day of the event. Also the day after to ensure we had cleaned the site up and caused no damage. Oh, and the organisers wanted a debriefing meeting to discuss any issues that had come up.
So you can see, far from just rolling up, we had not only to deal with numerous organisations and individuals at the planning stage. We also had to travel to Gainsborough a number of times, for in the end what was a 1 day event.
When the fair comes to town, its the result of a lot of hard work, before the rides even turn up.
Take a walk on the wild side. Not your usual beef (now we have nothing against beef, and are very partial to a good juicy beef burger, but beef is a bit, erm vanilla). We now have a range of exotic wild meat burgers.
During the after Christmas part of the year, when our work load drops rapidly for a couple of months. We use the time for maintaining and refreshing our equipment. Improving what we do, and adding new lines to our services.
With the new found spirit of democracy permeating the business. We now hold group sessions to actually discuss things. Truth be told, I still prefer the old system of benevolent dictatorship, but I am co-operating at the minute.
In the interests of bringing you the tastiest burgers possible we undertook a series of ‘tastings’ to check out the potential contenders. Here is a round up of what the butcher told us, and what Emmerson and I thought of the meat.
Now I admit, this one is unusual, I mean, usually its the crocodile doing the eating.
They Said; This one has the look and texture of chicken with a bit of a shellfish taste to it.
Jason Said; This one wasn’t bad, it was more chicken like than beef, but had a faint tang of prawns in the aftertaste. Not my favourite, but edible.
Emmerson Said; Not a big fan, too fishy tasting for me.
Just in case you don’t know, an Ostrich is a bird. Now I know this conjures up images of a robin or something. That’s about as far away as you can get from this bird. Its big. Bloody big in fact, upto 9ft tall in some cases. It is also bloody heavy, weighing as much as 2 adult humans. Oh, and its also bloody fast. Reaching 40m.p.h in bursts and being able to maintain about 35 m.p.h over long distance runs. Makes you wonder how they catch the bloody things.
This one is quite healthy. Well, for meat. It is a red meat (ha, bet you were expecting white like a chicken, which is also a bird). It is lower in fat than beef and high in protein. During the mad cow disease days, or Bovine spongiform encephalopathy to give it its true title (for the record I can actually pronounce that). There were a number of initiatives to replace beef with ostrich, but it seemed to fizzle out after a couple of years.
They Said: A great healthy alternative, low in fat, high in protein and taste delicious
Jason Said; Weird being red meat, cos you really expect a bird to be white. Not bad, similar to beef.
Emmerson Said; I liked this one, not too strong a taste, but different.
Another iconic animal, hailing from the land down under. I know we all tend to think of them as cute and cuddly, but an Aussie friend tells me they are a real pest. Oh, and they are definitely not cuddly, being heavily muscled and potentially quite dangerous. Personally I voted against this one as it would feel too much like eating Skippy. (If you don’t know who Skippy is, ask your mum, or possibly grandma).
They Said: This one is a very tender, heavily flavoured meat.
Jason Said: I liked this a lot, a strong taste that stood out.
Emmerson Said:The bold earthy flavour definitely puts a bounce in your taste buds.
Wild Boar Burger
This one is another animal, that if you haven’t seen one tends to get associated with a pig. These can be huge. Like, massively huge. Weighing upto around 330kg (about 4 average sized humans). These can be aggressive, are heavily muscled and bloody heavy. There are plenty of documented cases of people being killed by boars.
They Said : A nutty, sweet flavour, but lower in fat than pork.
Jason Said: Another flavoursome meat that stood out.
Emmerson Said: Eatable, but not my favourite.
Now we also have another entry to the menu that has been democratically voted on. I wish to go on record as being dead against this one. But sadly, not everyone is as sensitive and deeply caring as me. This one is the;
I think it smacks of cannibalism. We choose an anthropomorphic zebra for our company logo, then decide to eat him.
They Said; “This one has a subtle taste compared to the others”
Emmerson Said : the taste is similar to a beef burger but different , slightly disappointed the burger didn’t have the stripes in.
Jason Said : OH MY GOD! I can’t believe we just ate Ziggy!!!!
Weighing anything upto almost a ton. This is one big chunk of meat. Gawd knows how many burgers is walking around in this image.
They Said; A very health and tasty alternative to beef. The burger is high in nutrients such as protein.
Emmerson Said; Definite liked this, stronger than beef but very similar.
Jason Said; Loved this one, very beef tasting, but a stronger flavour.
If fancy a walk on the wild side and would like to book our Exotic Burgers Service, then check out our burger services.
One of our most popular lines this summer has been the humble hamburger. Though perhaps humble is the wrong description given just how pervasive this simple dish is throughout much of the world. A staple of fast food establishments, and synonymous with American culture.
However have you ever given any thought to how we came to eat the dish and why it was called a hamburger.
Hamburg Germany Or USA
Like many things the origins are hotly disputed. The two main schools of thought are that the dish either came from the German city of Hamburg, or the good ole US of A.
The contender for the American side is that it was alternatively invented by Charlie Nagreen, Frank and Charles Menches, Oscar Weber Bilby, Fletcher Davis, or Louis Lassen, and with it being advertised in newspapers from New york to Hawaii since at least the 1890’s puts up a good claim.
The burger gained national recognition throughout the States when they were offered at the 1904 St Louis World Fair, so it is an argument that will rumble on without conclusive proof for either claim.
One of the earliest nationwide (USA) vendors was White Castle chain based in Wichita Kansas. They launched a square beef patty called a slider, which had 5 holes in each patty to relieve the necessity for flipping the burger over to cook both sides.
Big Boy Burger
In 1937 Bob Wian created a double decker burger at his stand in California. It was called the Big Boy and would go on to become the name of his restaurant chain. They expanded nationally before gradually contracting, but a few do remain with the signature double deck hamburger.
Perhaps the most famous exponent of the burger world wide is the ubiquitous McDonalds. Originally established by the McDonalds brothers in 1940. The chain was eventually acquired by Ray Kroc who undertook a massive expansion which built the behemoth we know today.
Along with Burger King, McDonalds dominate the market in the UK and USA. A number of local chains put a brave showing on, they are all only bit players in the market.
Crazy & Co.
Of course if you are planning an event and need burgers you can always have the burgers come to you. We offer a nice line in 100% beef patties, with cheese, salad and a range of gourmet toppings, basted in our special orange and cognac sauce and served in a brioche bun. Great for small events such as weddings or parties. But equally scalable to serve upto 2000 guests at major corporate events.
Another of our favourite snacks, hot fresh popcorn. Answers to some of the questions we receive. If you have any others just add them in the comments and we will try and answer them for you.
How Was Popcorn Invented
The answer to that s lost in the mists of time. In 1948, in New Mexico, Herbert Dick and Earle Smith discovered small beads of corn, and popped kernels. This was inside a cave known as the Bat Cave. When they were tested with carbon dating, they were found to be 5600 years old!
The Aztec indians used popped corn, not only as food, but also to decorate clothing and ceremonial wear.
In north America, colonists were popping corn after adopting it from the native Indians. It was also used as a breakfast cereal with milk and sugar. By the 1800’s it was one of the most widely eaten snack foods.
How Does Popcorn Pop
The popcorn kernels contain a minute amount of water, surrounded by soft starch inside a hard shell. As it is heated up, the water expands and the pressure starts to build. This pressure builds against the hard outer shell, which eventually gives way. As it bursts the soft starch rapidly inflates turning the kernel inside out. The steam is released and the corn is popped, ready to eat.
Where Do Popcorn Kernels Come From
We have all eaten popcorn niblets, or corn on the cob. Turns out that doesn’t make popcorn. A particular species of maize called ‘Zea mays everta,’ is the only variety that pops. Though there are over 100 strains of this with different flavours. One strain produces the mushroom shaped popcorn, whilst another turns into the snowflake style, which tends to be the most popular for snacking.
Is Popcorn Bad For You
It’s low in fat and high in fibre. Really it is a healthy snack. BUT, as soon as you start adding butter, caramel, sugar, salt and toffee it ceases being healthy. So you could keep it as a natural healthy snack, but where is the fun in that. It should be slathered in butter, and sugar. Or if you are American or just plain weird, salt.
Are Popcorns Carbs
Yep definitely are. Around 74g in every 100g in fact. So definitely high on the scale.
Will Popcorn Help You Poop
As a matter of fact it will, it is high in fibre so it can provide relief from constipation. And it sure as hell will be a lot more pleasant than a suppository.
Is Popcorn Harmful To Cats
Popcorn itself isn’t no, but some of the additives and toppings may be, so before sharing with your feline friends it would be wise to check with your vet. The unpopped kernels can be harmful to their teeth, or even pose a choking hazard.