Smoked food going down well in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 10:06 07 February 2014

Stuart O'Leary

Stuart O'Leary


An enthusiastic young caterer has boosted his trade by sharing premises with a Welwyn Garden City car cleaning business.

Stuart O'LearyStuart O'Leary

Stuart O’Leary, 27, found it challenging to make a decent profit before moving his smoked food van to the Burrowfield Industrial Estate in November, but is now enjoying both reduced costs and greatly expanded sales.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “At first I had a pitch in St Albans, but that had hardly any footfall.

“It was better at North Weald Market, but the pitch was costing me £200 a day, and another £100 for electricity and diesel.

“Now I can serve 60 or 70 people on a good day, and my costs for a week are what they were in a day at North Weald.”

He shares customers with the Burrowfield Hand Car Wash in Southfield, where he starts cooking in his van at 5am every weekday, and wins steady trade from the many surrounding businesses.

Stuart added: “There are plenty of burger vans, but no-one else is doing smoked food for 20 miles. I get customers from as far away as Rickmansworth.”

While he prepares smoked ribs, coleslaw and pulled brisket baps, and hand-pressed burgers, his employee Lee delivers to businesses throughout Welwyn Garden City by van.

Driton Shehu, who runs the car wash, told the Welwn Hatfield Times: “I was a bit quiet before, but since Stuart started business has been very good.”

Stuart, who was brought up in the Haldens area of Welwyn Garden City but now lives in Stevenage, invested £3,400 in a van equipped with a wood-burning smoker after learning to cook on his travels, including spells in kitchens in Thailand and Portugal.

He offers a free burger to any reader presenting a copy of the Welwyn Hatfield Times who has a car wash.

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