Something rather Square and American has come to Great Western Arcade in the shape of Square UK’s first ever pop-up shop, and follows in the footsteps of Square’s first physical store in New York, which opened last month.
To celebrate opening in Birmingham they have also had a few speakers over the last few days including Ree Ree Rockette (lifestyle blogger) and Paul Hardwood (Birmingham Brewery Company), who’s talking on Thursday 14th September.
I had chance to hear the amazing Gizzi Erskine talk about her life and career with Birmingham’s own amazing Full to the Brum (Laura)
It was a fantastic talk, covering her bohemian upbringing, and her mothers introduction of world food to her diet at a different age. Her difficulties with completing her normal education and then moving in to being a trained body piercer.
We then moved on her enrolment at Leith’s Cookery school being the most intense and fulfilling experience of her life and balancing cooking in professional cooking with completing her course. She was also lucky to work at St John with Fergus Henderson provocateur of ‘Nose to Tail Eating’ and her first day at work boning a goat.
This led to her becoming a pioneer of Pop-Up cookery with her friend and fellow St John employee Abby at an art gallery in Brick Lane in 2001. With three course dining and a pay what you want ethos.
Gizzi also won the intern prize at Leiths to work at Good Food magazine and was lucky to go to the Good Food show in Birmingham as a warm up act for Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, and from then on was being chased to become a TV Chef, starting behind the scenes on Full on Food with Heston Blumenthal and Richard Corrigan, and then on to Ready, Steady, Cook. She found her feet on the second series of Cook Yourself Thin and the battles between being an authentic chef and meeting TV’s demands.
She’s now taken her early inspiration of Eastern cuisine into her latest show (Gizzi Erskine Seoul Food airing now on the Good Food Channel), and her love of Bao buns via way of Dave Chang (Momofuko), and the amazing boiling pot of fusion cuisine in New York.
We also learnt about her experience in setting up K-Town, a pop-up eatery inspired by New York’s Korean quarter in Shoreditch in 2012, the story of how Korean Fried chicken came to be, and how she’s now looking to Malaysian and Thai food and how that wave will soon hit the UK.
An hour wasn’t long enough to hear her talk and was great to see the warmth, wit and genuine passion for food coming through and I’ll be attempting to make food from her books at some point in the near future, where she gives lots of technical advice.
A big thank you to Square for giving me a heads up about the talk (free and open to the public).
IF YOU POP DOWN BEFORE SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER AT 6PM
Local business owners will also be able to pick up a free Square Reader if they visit the pop up shop and sign up for Square in September.
Square’s pop-up shop will be open from 4th – 16th September from 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 11:00 – 17:00 on Sundays.
There’s one more free masterclass being held (tomorrow at the time of writing) and I urge you to get down if you have chance.
- Thursday 14 September at 18.30: Birmingham Brewery Company’s Paul Hardwood will talk about the challenges and joys of giving up your job to follow your dream – in his case to launch a ‘Brummie Beer’ range – a tasting of which will be held after his talk
With the Square card reader, businesses can take card payments with no monthly contracts or hidden fees, and get their money the next business day. It takes minutes to get started, and sellers can quickly and securely begin accepting chip & PIN and contactless payments from Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Square’s card reader costs £39 +VAT, but to celebrate Square’s first UK pop up shop, local business owners can get a free Square Reader if they visit the pop up shop and sign up for Square in September.
For more information visit www.square.com/westmidlands
Where: Square UK Pop Up Shop, Great Western Arcade, Unit 6, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B2 5HU