Interview: Savage Salads
SWAPPING the blazing heat of a Michelin Guide-level restaurant for the snowy surrounds of a wintry Waterloo may have proved the end for most passionate foodies.
But luckily for street-food fanatics across the capital Davide Del Gatto and Kristina Gustafsson are made of hardy stuff.
Together the intrepid pair run Savage Salads – a unique street food experience selling Mediterranean and Italian insalatas with an added emphasis on freshness and flavour.
The stall can be found at Lower Marsh Market on Mondays, and has proved a massive hit with Waterloo workers due to its taste sensations and the passionate nature of the pair behind the counter.
Kristina, 29, said she met Davide in a well-known London eaterie after she moved to the capital from her native Sweden via a variety of restaurant roles in Dublin.
Having been impressed by the culinary talents of her colleague – an Italian with a love for food from all areas of the globe – Kristina began working on a business plan which would see the pair ready to take on London’s finest street food businesses.
She said: “We focus on healthy food and especially salads as we want to make them more interesting and show they are more than just the usual leaf and vegetable concoction.
“We also do personalised menus and catering for events and private parties. Since Davide is Italian our food has a lot of Mediterranean influences.”
The pair trade at Berwick Street, Soho and in Merchant Square, Paddington as well as in Waterloo.
Kristina said: “The best thing about being a trader is meeting loads of lovely people every day and to be a part of the London street food buzz.
“The worst thing is when it’s really windy or when it is snowing and your feet go numb from the cold.
“Lower Marsh will always be special to us as this is the place where things really took of for us as market traders.
“We have learned and grown so much here. We have some fantastic regulars and fellow traders and think that Lower Marsh has a lot of potential to grow and become even better.”
Davide, 33, does all of the cooking on the stall while Kristina prepares the salad base and deals with the customers.
Kristina said: “Davide was born in the food mecca of Naples and grew up in a home where cooking was a major part of everyday life.
“As a child he grew up with his now 90-year-old grandmother living in the house.
“She and Davide's mother taught him how to cook. They got all the other children involved in the cooking when they were preparing the family meals.
“Now, Davide always think that less is more when it comes to making dishes.
“He prefers to cook and eat food with good quality ingredients, that isn’t too complicated and where you can taste all the ingredients in one bite.
“He likes to change our menu regularly according to the weather, season and demand but at the moment we offer fried halloumi or chicken salads.
“We serve these in a box with a pitta bread and a choice of four salads and leaves that you can mix and match to your own liking.
“So many people have told us they love the food and we love preparing and serving it.
“In the future we would love to do more catering work as well as the markets and maybe have our own little restaurant or bar one day.”