A lifelong obsession with Japanese culture has evolved into a business for foodie Alastair Green.
The 31-year-old from Camden, launched Temaki Bros, a contemporary Japanese market stall selling sushi handrolls or Temaki on Broadway Market with his best friends Tommasi Radice and Andreas Toumba.
Alastair and Tommasi had been watching a football match at the Emirates Stadium, at half time having been inspired by the merchandise market stalls on the walk down from the station, they struck upon the idea of serving sushi as street food.
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He explained: “It’s such a convenient food to eat when you’re out and about. You can hold it in one hand and you don’t need any cutlery. We serve our sushi rolls in bamboo cones that you can crush and recycle easily.
“We had always been really passionate about Sushi and used to go and eat it constantly. I had been eating sushi since I was eight-years-old. I was, and still am, obsessed with Japanese culture – I’d eat Japanese four times a week and, from the age of 13, I was practising making it at home all the time.
“My wife Tess pushed and pushed me to follow my dream. I’m quite good at ideas but not very good at making myself go that next step – her encouragement made all the difference.”
Alastair had previously been working in store management and merchandising for his parents’ fashion company.
His friend Tomasso left Temaki Bros fairly early on to continue a career in Italy. Andreas Toumba quickly perfected the art of rolling with perfect symmetry and was with the business for nearly 2 years. He left after having a baby and Alastair now runs it by himself.
Alastair added: “It is about presentation but it’s mainly about flavour and quality of ingredients.” Different rolls include salmon and avocado, tuna cucumber and spring onion, and a vegan roll made with seasonal vegetables as well as their signature Spicy Tuna Crunch.
As well as the market stall, he also sets up Temaki Bros at offices in the city and Shoreditch, working in partnership with Karousel, to provide hot meals, in a market environment at their office. He’s currently building a kitchen in the garden, which will enable Temaki Bros to double its capacity.
Alastair added: “I am really happy – I go to work doing something I enjoy. Broadway Market is fantastic, at other markets there’s a feeling of competitiveness among traders but not here; no-one’s too busy to talk to you and they’ll do anything to help.
“In winter the cold can be tricky. I wear foot-warmers in my socks and four or five t-shirts rather than a jacket (I like to have my arms free when I work).”
He grew up in London but lived in Phuket, Thailand with Tess for a year and has been to Japan three times. He added: “I love it. I went the first time and found it unbelievable and exciting and very intimidating. You understand immediately why Japanese tourists here take so many pictures – our countries are just so different.”
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