Deri Reed takes a sideways look at Cardiff for foodies, adding his own special flavour
Deri Reed is on a mission: to put Cardiff in the vanguard of a burgeoning Street Food movement. Street Food puts fresh produce, cooked the right way, at the right price, straight into the hands of consumers.Cardiff sits alongside Liverpool, Birmingham and London as growing centres for the type of ‘pop-up’ eating.
In Cardiff Deri, ‘The Ethical Chef’ brings his training as a chef, experience in one of Ireland’s top vegetarian restaurants and an incredible level of enthusiasm and commitment to bear on driving forward his mission.
He’ll borrow a restaurant and set up shop for the evening, bringing his own clientele – all brought together through social media.
On Sundays, you will find him at the farmers’ market at Riverside, on the banks of the Taff, opposite the Millennium Stadium. “I’m not a farmer,” he freely admits, “but they let me trade there because I’m cooking with fresh produce from local farmers.” He also runs food festivals in the city – a sell-out for local restaurants and producers who sell their dishes from street stalls.
“Pettigrew Tea Rooms in the castle walls is a great little business in a very special location,” says Deri. Not surprisingly, the Vegetarian Food Studio in Penarth Road is a favourite. “I’m not a vegetarian,” he says, “but I do promote the quality of vegetarian food.”
Deri reserves his greatest respect for the Park House: “The food there is by no means run of the mill. They are excellent and they are really pushing towards a Michelin star.
“I’m also a fan of Jamie’s Italian in The Hayes. The service is great, the food is very good and honest.”
Deri thinks Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium may be the city’s biggest asset. “It has the ability to draw in crowds from all over the world for a wide range of different entertainments; Speedway, rugby, music. I can’t imagine how they just tow away an international standard rugby pitch and turn the stadium into a Speedway circuit.”
Cardiff Bay is also high on Deri’s list because it shows how Cardiff has developed. “There’s a half hour video in the Millennium Centre that shows the Cardiff story. Sums it all up rather well.”
Another highlight is the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – not just as a centre of teaching and learning but as a place for high quality performances in intimate surroundings.
A spark shows in Deri’s eyes as he remembers another restaurant he loves: The Old Custom House at Penarth Marina, right next to the barrage. “It’s a great restaurant. You see the food you want in refrigerated displays. You choose it, they cook it, you eat it. What could be simpler?”
And his favourite ‘thing’ about Cardiff? “It has to be the Riverside Market. It’s my mission, my job, my career and my life. What more can I say?”