Fire pit legend, Digbeth Dining Club regular and one of Birmingham’s favourite street food vendors, Andy is better known as Andy Low ‘n’ Slow, taking his inspiration from traditional Texas BBQ and Mexican flavours
Tell us about your cooking
The food I cook is Modern Mexican and traditional Texas BBQ. I draw inspiration from my travels to Texas and their style of bringing in the Mexican garnishes and tortilla to add vibrancy to my food. I specialise in heritage and rare breed meats, so the Texas way of cooking appeals to me as it is simply salt, pepper and oak letting the meat shine through. It’s crucial to me to work with small farms who select meat to my exact spec and to support our amazing produce which I strongly believe is the best in the world!
How did you become a chef?
I taught myself how to cook after being made redundant from a factory job eight years ago. At the time, Jamie Oliver was a big influence as he made cooking accessible to home cooks with shows like his American Road Trip. Around the same time, I was going to the Notting Hill Carnival (I was and still am heavily into reggae and hip hop) and seeing the families on the corner cooking with their jerk pans, with clouds of wood smoke and aroma billowing across the street blew me away and sparked an interest into exploring BBQ.
What do you eat at home?
It all depends on how long I’ve been at work that day. I’ve always loved to cook Indian and Caribbean food. At this time of year simple grilled fish and tomato salads are a fave moving into braises and ragus when autumn hits.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
It’s hard but if I had to pick one it would be Sean Brock from Virginia, US. His passion and obsession over ingredients blew me away. He goes above and beyond to source heritage ingredients and only works with the best produce so his style of cooking influences me every day! In Birmingham, I think I’d have to say Glynn Purnell. He is a great ambassador for our city and has always supported me when I’ve seen him. I like how he stick to his guns and stays true to himself as a Brummie chef!
Is the customer always, right?
Of course, me and my team will always go above and beyond to make sure every aspect of the customer’s experience with us is incredible, but sometimes expectations and attitude can be beyond realistic. I will always try my best but I believe you simply can’t please everyone, all of the time!
Share a cooking tip
Seasoning! I eat so much food that’s just a pinch of salt away from being amazing. Also, use the best produce you can, cook with respect and let the ingredients do the talking.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Ha ha that’s a funny one! I was famous for going camping with a crate of beer and a tin of all-day breakfast. My mom’s always cooked lovely pasta dishes with rich tomato sauces that I loved!
Food heaven and food hell?
Heaven is slow cooked food like a ragu or Ossobuco alla Milanese. It warms my soul and is so satisfying. Hell is a hard one as I like most things. Dusty old bulgur wheat or dry couscous dishes make me weep with boredom and I hate raisins or pomegranate in savoury dishes!
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Maybe calves’ testicles in Texas. They thought I’d hate them or be weird about it, but they were lovely!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
In another life I’d have gone more into my music. I was a grade five trumpet player in high school until I discovered hip hop, cider and girls. I’m also massively into interior design and gardening believe it or not.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
The Achiote pork steak with heritage tomato, watermelon and nasturtium. It’s grilled over beautiful ash charcoal and ticks all the boxes as a perfect summer dish.