Barry and Peter Tiffen conceived the idea of healthy vegetarian food whilst watching Sting at Wembley Arena back in 1982. Whilst pausing for breath between rocking out to classics such as 'Message in a bottle', we realised there was absolutely nothing to eat that was either vegetarian or vaguely healthy. Barry, never being one to act in a hurry, spent the next seven years wandering the world, whilst Pete did much the same but at least picked up a respectable degree on the way. In 1989, no longer able to procrastinate or fend off the “What are you planning on doing with your lives?” questions, we put our heads together and subjected family and friends to all manner of samplings and brain-storming sessions. Eventually we decided on serving three totally unique veggie burgers, falafels and hummus with great salads. The days of wilted lettuce leaves were numbered.
We aimed to make it easy for people to do themselves some good, and to make it taste good too.
We quickly came to the realisation that it wasn't feasible to make all the food ourselves, so we sourced a few quality vegetarian food manufacturers who were happy to make our recipes.
Back in 1989 there was no competition; by our way of thinking, mobile fast food was appalling; a dirty word. After a few years working the agricultural and flower shows, we realised that our best customers were happy party people who needed a shot of deep cleansing in the form of our great food. And there was no better place to be doing that than at the festivals that were starting up all around the UK. We attended our first Glastonbury in 1994 and have never looked back.
What Matters Most- Our Food.
We use the best ingredients; why scrimp for a few pence? Great ingredients make great food. Yes, we were a bit more expensive, but the old adage "you get what you pay for" holds a lot of truth.
Gone were the days of salad consisting of some iceberg, red cabbage and a bit of onion. To accompany our quality food we created a better salad, using 12 ingredients including rocket, lollo rosso, and green oak leaf. Our hummus, falafel, spicy mexican and organic veggie burgers are all made to our own recipe. Our cakes are still made by a small collective who have produced these for us since the beginning.
To serve the best vegetarian food wherever we go, served from marquees and units with a unique appearance.
To employ a happy and bubbly crew who actually enjoy what they are doing; happy staff make for happy customers.
To be knowledgeable about our food. All of our staff are trained to understand the specific dietary requirements of celiacs and other allergy sufferers.
To be environmentally accountable. All of our trucks run on carbon neutral Bio diesel from recycled chip fat. We use 100% biodegradable packaging, and have done so for years. All of our tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar and fruit juice is fair trade. We offer an organically certified veggie burger and use only free range eggs.
When we started, falafels were virtually unheard of at festivals, but over the years both our menu and appearance have been imitated to a greater or lesser extent. To begin with, vegetarian food was perhaps connected with a bunch of hippies brewing up, an admittedly sometimes tasty fayre, in a bedraggled tent under some pretty dodgy hygiene conditions. However, we believe we have played no small part in changing the perception of vegetarian festival food, the evidence of which is that the majority of our customers are non-vegetarians simply seeking quality and value. And with the Saddlespan marquees, revamped banners and menus, we are continually pushing ahead of the competition.
What About Our Staff?
In 29 years, due to our outstanding reputation as an employer, we have only had to advertise for staff on two occasions, pretty good for a seasonal business, most of which traditionally struggle to find good staff. Tales of the lively working environment, and the direct relationships enjoyed by the staff with the bosses Barry and Pete, passed on by word of mouth, see us inundated with job requests each year. We believe we have created a great working environment, which staff enjoy returning to year on year; indeed one old dear has been with us from the very start!!