The first-ever inter-school Tooting Street Food challenge was launched in June 2018 by Wandsworth council’s Lifelong Learning team, who chose Tooting because it has become one of London’s top foodie destinations. The winners were chosen in October 2018 and part of the prize was to launch the winning food product at Tooting Market.

The challenge offered young people a unique opportunity to develop a business idea and put their entrepreneurial skills into practice. Teams from five schools across Wandsworth received coaching and mentoring from professionals in the hospitality industry.

During the challenge young people received industry support from JJ Goodman, owner of London Cocktail Club, Roi Mengelgrein, Tooting Market Manager, former MasterChef finalist Daksha Mistry, pop up and street food chef Tom Mathews, Eleni Trantou, Celarium Café and restaurant, Tim Andrews from hospitality recruitment company Learn Train Recruit and project partners Rinova. Other local businesses involved included Meza, Vijaya Krishna and Nuvola Bakery.

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The winning team, Donia and Kaafiya, from  Burntwood School, had their taco business celebrated in Tooting Market at an event hosted by Unwined in Tooting

The celebratory event was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Jane Cooper, high profile hospitality professionals, other young people who had competed in the competition and local business representatives, including the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.

“Everything about the competition has been fantastic. We couldn’t have done it without our mentor, Sarah, who is amazing! Kaafiya and I have put so much hard work into this but we now need to get down to some serious studying and preparation for our A levels next May. After that we are going to return to our business idea. This is just the start of Panda Tacos!”

A quote from winner Donia.

Donia and Kaafiya were mentored by local chef Sarah Kettel.

The schools taking part are:

Burntwood School
Chestnut Grove Academy
Ernest Bevin College
Nightingale Academy
Southfields Academy