When Dan Hope decided he wanted to do something different and follow his first love, food, he probably never thought that 6 months later he’d be serving up dishes in one of Manchester’s hottest (and busiest) new venues.
Currently operating out of YES, the new venue took a bit of a risk on getting Dan in – a relatively new street food operator who had only previously traded at Hatch for around 6 months.
But the gamble paid off and since then Firebird Hope have been smashing out their unique sandwiches since it opened, and even managed to bag themselves a Best Street Food Trader nomination at the MFDF Awards last year.
Dan takes great pride in the simple menu at Firebird Hope, offering only 2 choices – the Level-Up Chicken Burger and the very special Triple-6 Vegan Burger.
Everything on the two burgers is completely vegan (apart from the free-range chicken thigh of course), with the Triple-6 being of particular pride to Dan.
“We wanted to focus on creating a great vegan burger first because it’s still an afterthought in so many places.”
“We then used all of the same stuff on the free-range chicken burger including our homemade koji mayo, house slaw and pickles.”
The main influence on Dan and his desire to create “the best sandwiches in the world” was the incredible food at Nationale 7 that used to be located in Mackie Mayor. The bread was a particular high point – being sourced from Lovingly Artisan in Cumbria, in turn providing Dan with the perfect vessel for his ample fillings.
Dan has particular passion for the vegan burger, which was created using seitan (a popular vegan substitute to meat) an ingredient that was perfected after extensive trips to London, and in particular Temple of Seitan in Hackney.
What’s been created is a revelation in vegan food, a sandwich that defies the age old perception of tasteless ‘meats’ and re-invents how you look at street food dishes. Dan is unapologetic in his desire to push the vegan burger to as many people as possible and it must be said – it was fantastic.
Dan has certainly been fortunate in the street food game so far, with a placement in two of the city’s busiest and most impressive venues under his belt. So what would his advice be for someone looking to get involved too?
“Start by doing a single night pop-up. Get all of your mates to come. Ask them for feedback on the food. Listen to the feedback. Do a few more pop-ups and repeat the feedback process.”
He’s keen to highlight just how important talking to people is – speaking to current traders at events such as GRUB, approaching some of the street food markets around the suburbs to get yourself a pitch. Dan stresses how he’s been influenced by other street food traders that he’s worked with at Hatch, providing feedback and support during the difficult times.
“Go for it” he proclaims – and judging by how well Firebird Hope have done in such a short space of time – that’s good advice.
Firebird Hope, YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7BD