City Tastes & Tipples: Say hello to our very own Falafel Lady...
People familiar with the city centre know her as the '˜Falafel Lady'.
Debra Lowe runs the Falafel Street Kitchen van that sits outside of Wakefield Cathedral.
Her culinary journey started when she left Hemsworth for Antwerp and worked in a Kosher vegetarian restaurant in the Belgian city for 20 years before returning 11 years ago to bring falafel to Wakefield.
She admits it was a bit of a struggle to introduce the city to the Middle Eastern staple when she first started trading at the recently-closed Market Hall.
She said: “Everyone told me it would never work but I wanted to do something else rather than work in a factory again. That would have been too much like going round in a circles.
“When I first started on the market most people were looking for bacon or burgers.
“They would ask me ‘What’s falafel? Is it foreign?’ A lot of people couldn’t even pronounce it.”
It was a leftfield choice and vastly different to what she was used to growing up.
But customers tastes have broadened and Debra has warmed to her new moniker.
She said: “I was thinking about having Falafel Lady on my epitaph actually!” As well as a growing “foodie” culture, she has found her menu appeals to a range of people from different cultures. She said: “I think it has helped that I can speak a little bit of a lot of different languages.
“I have an idea of how people want to be approached because I’ve been in other countries.
“People might not expect it from someone with a such broad Yorkshire accent but I know the word for cabbage in five languages.”