Boss Food Stylist Andy Broda has worked with brands like Kellogg’s, Asda, Morrisons, McCain and Coop Food. His attention to detail along with his vast and varied experience have given him ideal credentials for life on set; creating dishes and getting them screen ready. Andy has hustled hard and his skills in the food industry are well honed. Along with years of kitchen experience – from casual bites to fine dining – he has worked at a butcher, fishmonger and has run his own deli with outside catering for weddings and corporate events.
Exposure to New York cuisine from a young age while visiting American relatives ignited Andy’s passion for food: ‘Food has always been an integral part of what we’ve done as a family. We always sat down together to eat as a family and we ate proper food.’ Exploring his different heritages, Andy was able to experience food from different cultures, ‘I was born in Edinburgh, my mother was from America but she was from Ukrainian heritage and moved to New York. My dad’s side were immigrants to Vienna from the Czech Republic so there was Austro-Hungarian dishes mixed in there too! I moved to Manchester when I was 9 though, so I definitely consider myself a Mancunian.’
At school, Andy was never drawn to academia and instead gravitated towards more hands-on subjects, ‘I went straight on to working in kitchens when I left school. I worked in the kitchen at lots of different bars and restaurants around Manchester to build up my experience. Then I started ‘Cyclo Salad Bar’ when I was 19. I would deliver salads and sandwiches to local businesses on my bicycle and trailer in Didsbury, where I grew up.’
As well as restaurants like The Lime Tree in Didsbury, Primavera in Chorlton and Greens in Didsbury, Andy cites a stint in a Chinese takeaway as one of his best learning experiences, ‘It was unusual for a Westerner to work in a Chinese takeaway. My head chef at the time was 16 and had come from Hong Kong when he was 11. He couldn’t speak English but I learned so much about Chinese cookery from him that I still use today. He was the best chef that I ever worked for – amazing!’ After a few more years in different restaurants, Andy trained as chef lecturer, covering Asian and classical French cuisine and training up young chefs.
‘Back’s Deli’ was Andy’s next business venture. Inspired by his great grandfather’s delicatessen in Brooklyn of the same name, Andy refitted the deli and ran it alongside a catering business for 8 years. ‘It was great but really hard work! I worked weekends and late nights for what felt like forever.’ With a young family in tow, Andy gave up the deli to go travelling for around Europe for a year, trying a geographical buffet of different food along the way and getting inspiration for future endeavours.
Working as a Food Stylist at Boss for almost 2 years, Andy has utilised the experience that he has racked up, ‘What I particularly enjoy now is styling the food. I understand how food works and I think the fact that I can organise a kitchen has helped me to be able to organise a set. On an average day I’m up at quarter to six! I sneak downstairs for breakfast and feed the dog. I don’t eat sugar in the daytime, I only eat whole grains and so I have toasted bread and a cup of tea and then take plain oats and seeds with me to eat mid-morning on set. I usually get lunch when I’m on a job and I like to grab something on the way home so I’m not eating too late. I LOVE street food. There’s a great place I’ve found in Bradford which is just a van in car park but it’s really authentic and always has a huge queue outside!’
A full-time foodie, Andy cooks at weekends and when gets home from a long day at work too. ‘I absolutely love cooking and either my wife or I will cook each night. Sometimes we get a takeaway, but only a really decent one. My kids have never had a McDonalds and there’s no Pot Noodles in our house!’ As well as bringing his industry experience through to his role as a food stylist, there are a few things that Andy has learned from being on set that he has brought home. ‘Food styling has really helped to keep me fresh! It’s easy to cook something you know your family will all like but it’s great to push the boundaries and mix things up a bit. The job has really helped me to keep on top of culinary trends – although I don’t prop the dinner table!’
Andy said, ‘I have worked in pretty much every aspect of the food industry: From high end fine dining, to running my own business and heading to the market at the crack of dawn. It’s been really helpful as I still have close links with the wholesale fruit, vegetable, meat and imported produce sellers in Manchester. I know the business side of it and I also know about the important aspects that come with presentation.’ As someone in the know, who has tried and tasted his way around the food business, we asked Andy for the inside scoop on where we should be dining in Manchester: ‘There’s loads of places that I like to go in and around Manchester but I think the Kathmandu in Didsbury is and has been one of the best restaurants in the city for the last 20 or 30 years. The girls that own it were in my class at school so it’s great to see them doing so well.’
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