A new competition has set out to find the next generation of street food entrepreneurs.

A new competition has set out to find the next generation of street food entrepreneurs.

The Tooting Street Food challenge was launched at Tooting Market earlier this week. Tooting was chosen to host the competition, run by the council’s Lifelong Learning team, because it has become one of London’s top foodie destinations.

Five Wandsworth schools will go head-to-head to come up with the best idea for a street food and/or drink product or business. Participating schools include: Burntwood Academy, Chestnut Grove Academy, Ernest Bevin College, Nightingale School and Southfields Academy

Set in and around Tooting market and surrounding area, the street food competition will present young people with a unique opportunity to develop a business idea and to put their entrepreneurial skills into practice.

JJ Goodman gives some advice

The competition was officially launched from Unwined in Tooting Market. Kiki Evans, one of the co-founders of Unwined, spoke about her route into the hospitality industry and Roi Mengelgrain, Tooting Market Manager, spoke about how the market has developed in recent years, and the vision and commitment needed to launch your business.The launch was also supported by JJ Goodman, owner of London Cocktail Club former MasterChef finalist Daksha Mistry and Tim Andrews from hospitality recruitment company Learn Train Recruit. Other local businesses, Meza, Vijaya Krishna, Nuvola Bakery and Tota will also participate in offering guidance and support in what it takes to establish a successful restaurant.

During the next few months participating students will work with a business mentor to develop their ideas. Students will also attend workshops from business gurus throughout the challenge. The final will be in October where their ideas will be presented to a panel of industry judges. The winning team will get launch their new product at Unwined.

The council’s spokesman for employment and skills Rory O’Broin said: “Tooting is the perfect venue for this competition because it brings together world-class food, a thriving night-time economy and some of our brightest and best food and drink entrepreneurs.

Chestnut Grove students develop their street food idea

“The Tooting Street Food Challenge is a great way to encourage the next generation to develop the skills they need to get into this fast-developing industry. I look forward to seeing, and tasting, what they come up with.”The project is coordinated by the Lifelong Learning team and consultancy firm Rinova, and is the latest idea to come out of Pan Out – an EU-funded project aimed at promoting careers in the hospitality industry. In Wandswsorth employers are working with schools on 18 pilot Pan Out projects. Lifelong Learning also runs the Wandsworth Young Chef competition to help young people get a foothold in the catering industry.

For more information about Pan Out and other projects supporting young people into employment visit the Wandsworth Lifelong Learning website.