You will find Beat Kitchen’s food truck serving beautiful burgers, croquettes and other takeaway foods prepared from scratch (including making his own burger buns and the sodas he serves) by chef and owner Craig Sefton in Kirby Lane each Friday, and I can highly recommend the food.
Friday’s at Kirby Lane has turned into our go-to place for a quick and tasty lunch, we can choose from Japanese fried chicken, Argentinian style barbecue treats, delicious falafels and now great burgers and pulled brisket dishes.
So how did Beat Kitchen end up joining others in Kirby Lane? Craig told me he is originally from Christchurch but spent many years in Nelson, he met his lawyer wife, Noon, here and he completed his chef training at NMIT while working part time at Deville Café.
After working as a chef at Deville for a number of years after he qualified the couple headed overseas together to get more experience and so Craig could refine his craft in Melbourne and Morzine (in the French Alps / Haute-Savoie region) before returning to Wellington where he was a head chef at Foxglove, a large waterfront restaurant.
He met his business partner Kei Akiyama when they worked together at C1 Café in Christchurch, “and we stayed in touch over the years, we always said we would start a business together sometime and when I was in Wellington I saw an old bus on Trade Me so at 1am I phoned Kei and asked her if we should buy it, all of a sudden we were the proud owners of a retired Japanese library bus and we built a commercial kitchen in it.”
They ran the food truck in Wellington for a little over four years before Craig and Noon moved back to Nelson and Kei moved to Christchurch where she operates a second Beat Kitchen food truck.
The Nelson business is based at Hillwood House at the foot of the Gentle Annie hill, “many people will remember this venue at the home of the Gentle Annie Fair for many years and the wonderful park-like gardens are perfect for weddings, large functions and corporate events.
“While this isn’t a full-on function venue we do have the opportunity to have small events so people can book it for events like summer weddings and Christmas parties, we’re even thinking about reviving the Gentle Annie Fair as a community event in the summer.”
In the meantime, you can check out the food being served by Beat Kitchen at Kirby Lane each Friday. And the name? Craig is a drummer in a local band too so music is in his blood, and he says the stereo in the food truck is just about as big as the kitchen!
This week’s recipe from the top team at Hopgood’s & Co is for Pulled Pork Croquettes. Head chef Aaron Ballantyne says “this a fun dish to make with the kids and is perfect as an appetiser for a dinner party, the recipe is quite adaptable too, you could use roast ham or chicken instead of pork. Use very tender, juicy meat. Avoid left-over meat from a roast that has dried out.
“The main thing to remember if you are cooking this with the kids don’t let them near the oil used for frying the croquettes, that’s a job for adults.”
- 800g boneless pork shoulder or belly
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Salt and black pepper
- 660ml apple cider
- 200 g butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 small leek, finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 150 g flour
- 100 ml extra apple cider
- 400 ml milk
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 cup grated aged cheddar
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 cup plain flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 200 g panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Rub the brown sugar over the pork and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Put the pork in a big casserole dish, skin-side up, and pour over the cider. Cover with tin foil, then slow roast at 150C for about 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat is very tender and falling of the bone. Check every few hours in case it gets dry – if it does, add more cider or water to keep it moist.
- Remove the skin from the pork, then shred the meat using two forks, removing any excess fat or bone as you go.
- Meanwhile – Melt 50g of butter in a heavy-based pan, over a medium-low heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes until softened, add the leek and garlic. Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the leeks and onion are tender. Lightly season. Drain off any excess butter, cool, then add to the shredded pork.
- Melt the remaining butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cider until the mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in the milk, a third at a time, until incorporated.
- Continue cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes until thickened and there is no raw flour taste. Add the thyme, cheddar, parmesan, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and parsley.
- Cool slightly, then stir into the pork and leek mixture. Season. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until firm.
- Using clean hands roll the mixture into small cylinder shapes. Chill for 1 hour to firm.
- Arrange three wide shallow bowls in a row. Add the flour to one, the beaten egg in the second and the panko crumbs in the third.
- First roll the croquettes in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, drain well, then roll in the panko breadcrumbs to coat.
- Chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.
- Fry the croquettes in vegetable oil heated to 185°C until golden brown and piping hot in the middle. Drain on paper towels, season with salt, and serve.