Chow Down will host one of Leeds’ most anticipated food pop-ups this spring and summer. Having done a good stint taking over the Boot and Rally in Meanwood, they have become a favourite among local chefs and restaurateurs, and we agree that they serve up some of the best Sunday Roasts in the area.
How did it all start?
Jord and I (Jamie) used to secretly meet up during lockdown to barbecue our hearts out because we missed working together. I must admit now that this was all above board and complied with rules at the time. It was almost like a hidden smoking club beneath the ground, with a complete wall between you and the outside world. Spending our days and nights outside in the sun / good weather, cooking exactly what we wanted, was a welcome change from being cooped up in a hot, dark kitchen. After everyone had to go back to work, we launched Braizin’ Squad to pursue our shared interest in food through cooking like this.
What is in the name?
A chef we both know and respect has a knack for coming up with clever names for food. Others were ‘gyoza loud’ or ‘spice grillz’, and they used to make us laugh even in the midst of hectic services. Since we were all born in the 1990s and share a fondness for the music of that decade, the name Blazin’ Squad seemed most appropriate to us/.
What have been your biggest achievements as a brand so far?
Having an article written about us in The Observer or the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP) is one of our proudest moments. Even though we were cooking in a makeshift “kitchen” and had limited space, it was encouraging to receive a review from rategoodroasts on Instagram naming us the 14th best roast in the UK during our first month of business. I think we’ve improved a lot since then, so I’m looking forward to having him back this year so we can finally crack the top five of his rankings.
Favourite places to go for eating weekend?
Bundobust is one of our go-to spots whenever we’re in the mood for a more laid-back, street-foodie ambiance. When we’re in the mood for something a little fancier, but still relaxed, we head to Sarto or Stuzzi. Hern is one of our favourite restaurants in Leeds, and it’s the place to go for a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two.
Favourite Leeds people? (who should we be checking out)
We love Tom Stafford from Doh Hut and TIB and Sam Haworth from the Brunswick and the Melbourne. Rob Hallas from Bastards Bistro also gets a lot of praise; both establishments are well worth a visit. There are also persistent rumours that Andy Castle, one of our closest and dearest friends, will soon be back in Leeds.
Tell us more about your menu at Chow Down?
The menu at Chow Down contains essentially all of our favourite foods in one dish. What could be better when drinking than some braised, smoked meats on some homemade flatbreads? One of our favourite restaurants and cookbook, Black Ax Mangal, has served as a source of inspiration. On a weekly basis, we will also feature something special that we enjoy cooking over an open flame or smoking for a long period of time. Watch this space!
Who has the best Sunday Roast in Leeds?
The Brunswick is one of our fave roasts in Leeds. Obviously we don’t get out and about as much as we are busy serving but got a lot of love for an Ox club roast. Dijon boys have a pretty good roast too and we have a nice friendly rivalry with them in Meanwood.
What next for Braizin’?
Hold on to the success of recent pop-ups and events; we’d love to expand into more private hires and more festivals. For the upcoming festival season, we have been considering getting a food van too. To have a permanent home of our own, however, is the ultimate goal. A joint dream of ours is one day to be invited to Meatopia.
What keeps you inspired as foodies and chefs?
We find a lot of culinary inspo in foods that have been prepared in an unconventional manner, such as over the open flame. This method of cooking requires a great deal of focus and time. Everyone has a great time attempting to get better at it too. One of our favourite activities is foraging, which is very primitive. I believe that spending time in nature is something we can all share a deep appreciation for. SY23, Brat, Black Axe Mangal, and Lennox Hastie from Firedoor are a few other sources of inspiration for us like Nikolas Ekstedt etc
What is the future goal of the squad? Will you be adding people to the squad?
Our future goal is really our own gaff/ Bricks and mortar, plus attending Meatopia. Hopefully one day we’ll be big enough to need to add more team members too but right now we are concentrating on Chow Down and the next few months!
Braizin’ Sqaud are Chefs Jordan Kaye, Jamie Marrion and Michal Marud