Healthy fast food

‘Healthy’ and ‘fast food’ aren’t two concepts we typically associate, but for Melbourne-based foodie Alicia Twohill and her mobile catering business Babes on Grill, it underpins what they dish up.

Popping up at music festivals, suburban bars, community events and private parties, Alicia works the grill alongside her friends serving up tasty, fresh and seasonal delights that people can’t seem to get enough of.

“A lot of our menu inspiration comes from seasonal produce and going to the market and picking from what’s available. With healthy fast food you want to use the freshest, best ingredients to create big flavours, and that’s going to come through in your product,” says Alicia.

With her business evolving from a passion for food and wanting to share it with others, Alicia whips up dishes that reflect the fun, colourful and social side of eating. Inspired by South American street food vendors and growing up surrounded by fresh food, Babes on Grill menu favourites include marinated chicken hot rolls, mexicorn, adobo mushroom rolls, taco cups and sliders aplenty. While the grill fires up in the summer months, cooler weather over winter sees dishes of slow-cooked organic Italian lamb and Charmoula chicken tagine on offer.

For Alicia, taking the artificial out of fast food means relying on natural flavours and, for her South American-inspired menu, that means focusing on fresh herbs and spices.

“The most important thing is to get your best fresh herbs. Use lots of herbs, use lots of spices and have a good relationship with your fruit and veg supplier. Keep it light and fresh and your product will be amazing.

The abundance of mobile food vans, pop up stores and farmers’ markets connects us with fresh, healthy food in a new way and is changing the landscape of traditional mobile fast food vendors. Where hot dog and doughnut vans once crowded the landscape, now fresh noodles, gumbo, tacos and dhaba offer delicious alternatives.

In the mobile food world, the rise of social media has helped these start up businesses spread the word and has been a very effective way to share where, when and what they’ll be cooking – an important consideration when many of these businesses have no fixed location.

“Social media has been the most important foundation in what we’re doing and marketing my business. Without twitter, instagram or Facebook, I probably wouldn’t have reached as many people. It’s a new form of word of mouth, times 100, and is so good for start up businesses,” says Alicia.

Whether we’ve got twitter, Facebook or Alicia herself to thank for how we’ve come to know about Babes on Grill, we’re pretty happy we have. You can find out where and what Alicia will be grilling next via their Facebook page.

Don’t forget to visit our recipe page in this edition of be. where Alicia has shared her delicious recipe for fish tacos with a simple slaw, guacamole and yoghurt sauce.

Recommended reading - Issue Eight Winter 2014

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