We hear from Harriet Webster, co-owner of brand new Sheffield street food company Fizz & Fromage, who will be one of our exciting new traders at this year’s Sheffield Food Festival.
When my sister Emily and I decided to go into business together we instantly agreed it had to be food, it had to be delicious and it had to have extra sparkle.
I had been living and working in London for six years and hadn’t spent much time in Sheffield during that time at all. Em and I have always been close and would catch up a couple of times a month but our WhatsApp thread was mostly a lot of “Sorry! Busy! Call later! xxx” messages. I was completely out of the loop when it came to where and what to eat in my hometown.
We both grew up in Sheffield but while we were plotting our cheesy, boozy adventure I was quietly curious about the Sheffield foodie scene. Was an often-drizzly town the best place to launch a street food business? Where would we source our ingredients? Has the independent scene really taken off here?
Emily on the other hand has been working for and socialising at Sheffield’s best independent establishments for years – stints at gourmet cafe Marmadukes, Michelin-tipped Joro and the fabulous Chimney House, made it a quick job for her to convince me that there definitely IS a thriving foodie scene in Sheffield and we should absolutely be part of it.
Deciding what to make was easy after a quick chorus of ‘My Favourite Things.’ Cheese and wine = gooood, melty cheese and wine = better, melty cheese with sparkling wine = best. And so Fizz & Fromage was born. We take the winning classic, mac & cheese, bring it up to date with cheeky toppings and serve it with our favourite tipple – a glass of fizz.
The extra sparkle we wanted to offer comes from Sheffield too. From Our Cow Molly milk and butter to meeting the wonderful Porter Brook Deli family, it became very clear (after about the thirtieth version of our signature cheese sauce) you really can taste local quality. It’s been fantastic to find so many local opportunities to get out there in our vintage horsebox,“ Roux”, and taking part in the Sheffield Food Festival in our first summer is a huge coup.
We’ve already learnt a lot about setting up your own business and the biggest lesson (after ‘We need to buy a catering grater!) is to talk about your idea all the time. The combo of Emily’s experience of high-end hospitality and my background in marketing means we have got some skills between us. For example, she knew all about biodegradable packaging, suppliers and Health and Safety regulations, while I can find the best way of spreading the word, but we’ve also been asking experts a million questions and absorbing everything.
Last Autumn we attended a brilliant course at Google Garage (do one!) and over the last few months we’ve been laying the foundations of our brand with the creative genius’ at We Are Awesome. Joiners, banks, cheese suppliers, friends and family, licensing regulators, paella dish companies, payment providers…the list of people you need the support of goes on and on. And we’re learning more about how it all fits together, together, every day.
And that’s what this was always meant to be about. These days, Em and my WhatsApp thread is a never ending loop of ‘what did you have for tea last night?’ and if I haven’t heard from her in 24 hours I start to panic she’s been crushed by our 80cm macaroni pan.
Since being back in the same city and realising the other was the best thing since Cheddar Gorge, we haven’t looked back. We can’t wait to take our love of hosting and incessant need to feed on the road.