Meet the innovative Leeds chef Rob Hallas breaking boundaries with scotch eggs and booze-infused street food
Chippy tea scotch eggs, pina colada fried chicken and deep-fried lasagna balls - there is nothing conventional about Leeds chef Rob Hallas' food.
Rob is the founder of street food brand B******s Bistro, catering for events, pop-ups and bar takeovers in the city.
It's food cooked with booze and served with booze, pushing the boundaries of what's expected on a plate.
Rob's food is a reflection of his unconventional journey into the culinary world.
He's run a nightclub, worked in graphic design and as a bartender before he "fell into cooking" when he started running street food events with friends.
“I always wanted to be a chef", Rob, from Cross Gates, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"But I thought because I was progressing in my job as a bartender that I’d missed the boat."
Rob is friends with Masterchef Professionals finalist Matt Healy and after the success of his early street food ventures, he asked for experience working at The Foundry.
He fell in love with the restaurant's unconventional British food and quickly climbed the ranks in the kitchen before he was given the opportunity to host his first B******s Bistro event two years ago.
"I think Matt was a bit worried, to be honest, having me take over his restaurant," Rob, 33, admitted.
“But we sold out really quickly, everyone enjoyed the food and the concept - food cooked with booze.
"I was trying to tie together my experience of working behind the bar and then being a chef."
When The Foundry shut its doors for the first lockdown, Rob spotted the opportunity to run with his brand.
His unusual takeaway menus brought a smile to people's faces and his customer base quickly grew.
"The support has been phenomenal," Rob added.
“I started doing scotch eggs as a bit of a joke when Boris Johnson said a scotch egg was a substantial meal. We sold 5,000 of them.
“We did pretty much every genre of food, just to keep ourselves entertained as well as other people.”
Rob is "stacked out" for the next three months, launching events with Moët at Domino Club, a pop-up with O'Brien's Bottle Shop at The Brunswick and taking over the food at Headonist and Liquor Studio.
His biggest challenge yet is hosting a night of 'culinary madness', live art, 3D projections and party music at Chow Down festival on May 26 - combining his artistic experience.
“This is like my masterpiece," Rob said.
Rob may have arrived late into the culinary world, but he's sprinted ahead with his innovative menus. He shared his advice for budding cooks who dream of turning their love of food into a career.
"I’ve always had the self-drive, but maybe not the self-belief," he said.
"Matt gave me a chance and instilled that belief in me.
“I feel like I’m playing catch-up a bit, which gives me that push I need to gain that experience quicker than I would have done if I was working in a kitchen for the last few years.
“It’s a bit of a cliche thing to say, but just go for it - you never know unless you try. Just network as much as you possibly can and don't stop asking people to give you a chance."
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