American southern food has to be the ultimate comfort food; if only we could make it like Mama did. Luckily for us Bluegrass Bills has mastered the technique and is rustling up classic go-to comfort dishes. The story of southern food is as much about the people as the dishes so we caught up with Billy to find out how he’s putting the soul back into event catering.
★ Can you tell us a bit about your background and your interest in southern food?
I have a whole bunch of family and friends in the US as my mum is American. I get over there any chance I can and road trip around the Southern states, experiencing many different cuisines and local homemade southern dishes and of course the ‘southern hospitality’ which really is like no other. It’s all about the BBQ over there too, so what with a big appetite and a love of easy laid back cooking (with fire), I am in my element. I’m a big eater and love to cook and learn about different methods of slow cooking and taking your time to produce a fantastic feast. This goes great with my passion to cook and entertain for other people to share this wonderful experience. For me, it’s all about combining these things, good food, good people and good music. It makes for a great atmosphere and just adds that little bit extra to the taste.
★ What is the Bluegrass Bills approach to food?
It’s an important question because this is something I really believe in. Although the food is a massive part of it, it’s not just about this. I take care and time over producing hearty and tasty locally sourced food, but it’s everything else that adds to the experience. I always bring a retro Marshall boombox with me whatever the event and play some old southern foot stomping songs. We always have a good bunch of people working who like to talk to the people more than serve food, and whatever the weather, we’re out in full force. When you get all the finer things right, it creates a bit of an atmosphere and everything just flows. This is what street food is all about.
★ These days, people want more than food; they want experience & authenticity. Along with your street food what else can people expect when they work with you?
Laid back southern good time hospitality and a belly full of good stuff. You won’t go home hungry and you’ll probably still be dancing with a smile so wide you could eat a banana sideways.
★ Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything gives me inspiration. I find getting out and about in your everyday life and putting yourself in new situations really opens up your mind. But to name a few: travelling different countries, exploring new towns, eating at different markets, theatre shows, running, cycling, train journeys, books, meeting new people, and most importantly, asking questions! Soak it all up, formulate an opinion, and then go for it.
★ What’s the secret recipe for a great night?
Good music, the right company and food and that ‘eats real easy’ as my Grandad used to say. It’s all about the prep work. Work like a donkey and then enjoy the ride. The prep work of street food events is pretty hectic, but when we’re there all ready to go and have done everything we can, we really enjoy serving up and watching people enjoy their night away.
★ How important is getting the presentation of the food right?
Presentation is everything. You can go to a bar and have your favourite drink in the wrong glass and it tastes awful. With street food, it’s sort of cooked a bit rough and ready, back to basics style so once you serve it up and hand it to the customer you want to show it off in all its glory. You want the person to show it to their friends to stir up a bit of food envy. This aside, the proof is in the pudding. It should taste even better than it looks.
★ What’s your favourite comfort food?
Hard choice, but it’s got to be Mac n cheese, slaw, and bbq refried beans. It’s a pretty basic combo, but hey that’s comfort food. Warms the soul and tastes like heaven all together.
★ Any future plans that you can share with us?
We’re in talks with some clients and funky venues to do some awesome quirky pop ups and events, and one particular idea that I am working on but should probably keep it under wraps for now J watch this space.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email email@example.com
For more information about Bluegrass Bills visit their website here.