Smoothie barista championships this Friday

Oli Wilson-Fish
Oli Wilson-Fish

One of our favourite contests takes place at the end of this week, and we like it equally for the subject and the range of companies that take part. It’s the British Smoothie Championships, which run at the Lunch! Show on Friday, and we now have the identities of the nine finalists.

There is a former champion in the line-up – Vimal Depala of ShakeTastic, who was champ in 2010. There is also a representative from last year’s winning company, Imma Porcaro of Crussh, a business which has two dozen sites in London, and apart from its interest in smoothies and juices, is the only café chain we’ve ever seen to publish a weekly soup menu, at three choices a day.

There are two northern entrants. Oli Wilson-Fish of Juicafe in Lancaster may be thought to have something to prove this year – his company has come second on a couple of occasions, and is looking to go that one place better. Meanwhile, Mark Turner of Smoothies Etc competes from Stockton; he’s a smoothie cart operator, with a couple of interesting bits of recent history – he sold out entirely at the recent Stockton triathlon, the first sporting event his business had ever been at, and has also been asked to send a daily supply of smoothies to a local school, on health grounds.

The rest of the entrants are from London, and include some fascinating companies. Antonia Kadri is the founder of Milk In It, of Clapham Common. She holds the rare distinction of being named ‘best frozen yogurt’ supplier by the Financial Times, no less! An interestingly exotic entry is from Julie Dias of Vida Verde Juices in Brick Lane. She specialises in Brazilian and Amazonian fruit juices and smoothies, inspired by a smoothie recipe she brought back from South America. She too has been approached by schools looking for healthy drinks.

There is something extremely Essex about entrant Yahia Zaky from Yaya of (we think) Brentwood – this is the shop which has created a smoothie with gold in it… honestly. It’s something to do with a cherry bakewell and whipped cream, sprinkled with 23 carat gold. That, we believe, is an extra £18!

The other finalists are Jamal Houssien of Shake My Shake in Crouch End, who was a finalist last year, and Tomasz Konopka of Bartlett Mitchell, a contract caterer.

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Boughton’s Coffee House is the leading trade news magazine for the coffee-shop sector. You can read it at http://www.coffe-house.org.uk

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