Kevin Pyke was 17 years old when he realised his calling in life, and set off on a journey of food discovery, with nothing more than his passion and determination. From 14 hour shifts in street kitchens, to finding his finesse in Michelin-starred restaurants, Kevin spent years perfecting his craft. But he couldn't satisfy his cravings. He knew he was meant for more.
After touring the world for over ten years sampling the most secret recipes from exotic lands such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand, Kevin returned home to Northern Ireland with a new found understanding of food.
In 2013, the Derry man found the missing ingredient to what would eventually become his own restaurant - a steel shipping container. Old and beat-up, the container looked like waste to most, but mustering all of his savings, Kevin revamped the container into Pyke 'N' Pommes. An authentic street food kitchen was born and Kevin started cooking up a storm on Derry's Foyle Marina.
Pyke 'N' Pommes is now an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning street food eatery. The industrial, hard-hitting eatery is an everyday reminder of how far a fearless attitude and determination can carve a path to success.
After finishing my A-levels, I still had no clue as to what my direction in life was supposed to be. I've always enjoyed eating food…why not make it for a living? So, I decided to enroll on a catering course in a nearby college. Over the next two years I learned lots, but it wasn't until the final year that I realised I wanted to work full time in a restaurant. So I did. With the help of a friend, I left my part-time job as a butcher and began working in a local restaurant where Kevin Pyke was head chef.
Kevin pushed me to my absolute limits, testing me constantly, and pushing for the highest possible standards. This drive for perfection certainly rubbed off on me as I too strive for perfection everyday in work, and push my team to do the same.
One day Kevin pulled me aside and said “I'm buying a van dude and doing street food, and I'm taking you with me." I said OK. Looking back to those early beginnings in Kevin's back yard peeling roasted peppers under an outside tap, or cleaning the van in the street, it's humbling to think where we are now. A van, a fully loaded kitchen in a converted shipping container, the Blackbird, and a multitude of events under our belt. Hard work! But, when you work with someone like Kevin, you can only do your best. I'm constantly learning, and trying new things. Getting to know our customers by name, and encouraging them to try new dishes. Seeing customers enjoy our food is the reason I do what I do. You just don't get that in a restaurant. Here's to the next five years...