A love of home cooking has given two Hungarian friends a tasty new business venture.
A Little Taste of Hungary will roll into Hamper 2012 the Llangollen Food Festival on October 20 and 21.
Katalin Halmosi Clews, married to Russell Clews whose family are one of only two remaining British motorcycling manufacturers in the UK, started her mobile catering business last year, with fellow Hungarian Andrea Balogh.
“We both enjoy cooking and we thought we would like to introduce Hungarian food to the UK,” said Katalin, 34, who arrived in the UK in 2001 to learn English.
She and Russell live in Whittle-le-Woods between Chorley and Preston, but used to live in Gresford near Wrexham. Partner Andrea lives with her Hungarian chef husband Peter, at Flint Road, Saltney Ferry.
They are looking forward to their first ever visit to Hamper Llangollen 2012, one of the UK’s top food festivals, as a springboard for their business venture.
This year’s festival is being upported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution came via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s agri-food project officer, said: ” “In addition to many favourites, we have lots of new exhibitors like A Little Taste of Hungary coming this year.
“As well as providing a showcase for our fine indigenous producers there will also be an international flavour to this year’s event.”
Andrea said: “I came to the UK in 2006 to learn English. I had a job as an accountant in Hungary but I did not speak any English. I became an au pair in Chester from 2006 to 2007 ansd then I got a job as a caretaker in a lovely little school in Eccleston.
“One of my favourite things in Hungary was chimney cakes and I thought I could sell them over here, but no one had ever heard of chimney cakes. I love cooking,” said Andrea.
Although the food venture is part-time, mainly involving food festivals, Katalin and Andrea are hoping it will be the first step to owning their own restaurant. “That is a very, very big dream for us,” said Andrea.
“Food festivals like Llangollen are the best way for us to succeed. They attract people with an interest in speciality foods so they are the perfect venue to make people aware of Hungarian food.”
A graduate and qualified primary school teacher, Katalin also worked as an au pair to a family in Leeds when she arrived in the UK which is where she met Russell, then a student in Leeds University.
The pair married in Hungary in 2005 and went to live in Gresford while Russell worked for a financial adviser. When Russell was offered a job in the family’s CCM motorcycle business, based in Bolton, the commuting from North Wales convinced the couple to move back up north.
Katalin. a trained dancer, one-time model, teacher, interpreter, nursery nurse, also worked as a bar manager in Rossett and became friends with Andrea. Today Katalin works full-time as a teaching assistant in a Blackpool school for children with special needs.
“Andrea and I wanted to do something together and we both liked cooking. I used to cook for the family back home and was quite passionate about it, my mother taught me a lot. Hungarian cuisine also includes styles from Austria and Slovenia.
“In Hungary we have different eating habits because after breakfast we have our main meal at lunchtime, probably a soup and then mains, and in the evening we have something light.”
The kind of food served from the van – including the famous chimney cakes – can be found on the website www.alittletasteofhungary.com
“There are not many Hungarian restaurants in the UK and we would like to try to raise enough money to be able to open our own restaurant,” said Katalin.
Clewes Competition Machines, CCM Motorcycles, was started in 1969 by Russell’s father who bought the entire BSA stock when the company ceased trading and he set about making motorcycles by modifying the BSA engines.
Over the last three years the company has just completed an order for 2,000 motorcycles for the Afghan police force.
In January alone the Vale Street factory in Bolton turned out 400 motorcycles. It has also made motorcycles for the Jordanian, Canadian and British armies, apart from producing enduro competition motorcycles.
Also starring at Hamper Llangollen 2012 will be a trio of Wales’s top chefs.
Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, will be joined in the show kitchen by S4C favourite Dudley Newberry.
Completing the hat-trick will be the ever popular Dai Chef, who is returning to the event after an absence of several years.
Robert Price added: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.”