Toronto chef brings peameal bacon sandwiches to the London Olympics
A few short years ago, Jane Tran was an accountant with a passion for food. The two practices seem mutually exclusive, but fast forward to the present, and she's selling peameal bacon sandwiches out of her food stall, dubbed BellyLondon, at the London Olympics. Launched just a few days ago, and present during the weekends until the end of the games, BellyLondon is bringing one of Canada's most recognizable signature food items to the British capital.
Tran left behind a big-ticket Toronto job in the financial industry (Cinderella story alert) to study at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Soon followed positions at Bar Boulud NYC and Bar Boulud London (those are Daniel Boulud's joints; no big deal), as well as Annisa.
Something of an ambassador of culinary Canadiana, Tran's menu is simple and succinct, and she says that the no-frills peameal--hand-trimmed and traditionally brined--is the best-seller, but the whisky-glazed version is hot on its heels. Not content to rest on her sandwich laurels, Tran also offers fried mac 'n' cheese with cheddar and bacon, which is garnering a "cult following."
She launched her own venture, BellyLondon, at the Olympics because she sensed a heightened sense of patriotism. Her stall, located across from Canning Town Underground/Bus Station, and about a 10 minute walk from the ExCel Stadium, is "the one decked out in Canadiana." After attending a Canada Day festival in Trafalgar Square and attempting to expose friends to Canadian food, she discovered a criminal lack of peameal. Thus, her menu was born.
Her clientele, for the time being, is comprised of Canadians who are either visiting for the games, or who are residents of London. "When they see the stall, they get really excited to see Canadian food being represented by a bunch of Canadians," Tran says, and while she's not sure what her plans are following the Olympics, her twitter feed hints at a bright future.
Photo courtesy of Jane Tran