Dan Black and Zee Ali, from Stonehaven, have been friends for a number of years.
“You could say we’re more like brothers,” says Dan, 30.
The pair are business-minded, creative and possess different skills that have helped them launch their own mobile catering brand, known as The Catering Collective.
Based in Stonehaven but able to provide services nationwide, The Catering Collective currently has six street food units under its name serving a range of different cuisines.
Three of these are operational and the other three are still being worked on. It is hoped they will launch in the coming months.
“The idea of The Catering Collective is to eventually be a one-stop-shop for all people’s mobile catering needs,” Dan added.
“We will be able to offer a premium bespoke service to any event large or small.”
Dan and Zee were “just chatting” one day when they agreed there was a niche in the market for street food.
Wanting to add a street food culture to Stonehaven and beyond, they decided this could be best done by selling produce from a line-up of different units which were purchased on Facebook Marketplace.
The three street food units currently operational include:
- Bombay Grillz. It offers naan rolls, puri rolls, pakoras, biryanis and chips. RJ ART engineered and fabricated Dan and Zee’s tandoori oven to the end of the food truck, fitting a bespoke chimney.
- Al Burritos. This is a permanent fixture in the beer garden of Zees Nightclub in Stonehaven, which serves Mexican street food.
- Whip ‘N’ Roll. This is the brand’s ice cream and desserts truck. Customers can order pan-n-ice rolls, Mr Whippy, waffle lollies, fresh doughnuts, cookie dough and candy floss.
Dan and Zee, 39, are aiming to open their second permanent fixture, The Greasy Spoon, in Stonehaven soon.
The entrepreneurs’ next work in progress is Sicilian Slice, a converted horsebox trailer serving up authentic Neapolitan pizzas in a wood fire oven.
They also have an 18-foot trailer yet to be refurbished. An announcement will be made regarding its name and menu in the coming months.
Calendar of events
Other than Dan and Zee, the pair have chefs in their permanent locations and a few helpers including Owen Brindley, who Dan says is “a great asset” to their team.
Dan, who has always loved cooking, was in the oil and gas industry before The Catering Collective, and also relocated to Ibiza for five years working mainly as a PR manager.
This is where his marketing and creative side comes from.
Zee, on the other hand, has been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years having owned and run many successful restaurants and bars.
“You could say Zee is on the business side and I’m on the creative side, which works perfectly,” Dan said.
“So far in the last month, we’ve done events at The Butchers Arms, Aberdeen and Islamic Centre and Farm 2 Table.
“We’ve also done pop-ups at Zees Nightclub and The Bike Yard with many more bookings yet to happen such as Stonehaven Feein’ Market, Royal Deeside Motorshow and Stonehaven Harbour Fest.”
Dan added: “We feel like we are always learning every step of the way but all in all, it’s a very satisfying feeling seeing your visions come to reality in such a short space of time and the response it has received.”