Nick hoping spuds will become star of festivals

Graduate Nick Stuart is hoping to take the festival catering scene by storm with a new twist on an old favourite

NICK Stuart has spent the last two summers selling pies at many of the country’s biggest festivals.

Now the 22-year-old and one of his pie-slinging comrades are going it alone – and are on a mission to take the humble baked potato and turn it into a trendy treat for the delight of festival goers across the country.

After working for the company Pure Pies at events such as Glastonbury, Bestival and The Big Chill – where Nick served up to his fair share of celebrities, including BBC Radio One DJ Zane Lowe and singer Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine, he and partner Josh Fleming, 21, are set to launch Spud of the Earth onto the festival circuit.

Nick, who lives on the York Way Estate, off North Road, Holloway, said: “After doing it for two summers. We just thought, ‘why don’t we do it on our own?’

“We thought about what we would serve and decided baked potatoes would be a cheap and healthy option – and a little bit quirky and unexpected.

“Our aim is elevate this humble comfort food to a delicious, healthy treat, using some of the best produce we can get our hands on.”

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The potato pair have been hard at work designing a menu, sourcing ingredients and getting their potato van together – the Spud Station – with its Pickwick Big Ben Oven, which they proudly claim can cook up to 200 spuds an hour.

But the biggest job of all is getting their foot in the door and securing the plots – and last week they had their first booking confirmed at one of the country’s hippest festivals.

“I was elated when we found out,” said Nick, who prefers not to name the festival in question as it is anti-publicity.

“We have put all this effort in for four or five months and had not heard anything back from anyone. To get a festival like this in our first year – we’ve hit the jackpot.

“Hopefully there will be more to follow.”

Their menu features a mouth-watering selection of toppings, from the classic cheese and beans, to chilli con carne, curry with mango chutney, and smoked mackerel.

Nick, who finished university last summer and is currently working as an admin temp, added: “It’s damn hard work selling food at festivals, but you’re watching live music all day, it’s a great atmosphere, and you make money.

“If we get a full calendar of events we would love to do it full time – that’s our dream.”