Car 6

Mr Andrew Vowles

Outward appearance

Tall, pudgy black man with long hair brushed straight down his back. Conservative brown suit, worn but expensive shoes. Carries translucent shopping bags full of unlabelled tins. Along with a tin opener.

Inside information

Qualified industrial caterer and past nominee for a Foody Award (Industrial section). Teaches at the Education Authorities Catering Training Unit, a homely bungalow in a Peabrane Estate near Waterloo.

The bags contain prototypes for a new product -- ready-prepared West Indian dishes. Andrew has a theory about why Indian restaurants prosper and West Indian don't.

White people aren't frightened of Asians. Working class Brits, intimidated by posh eateries, feel at home with a curry and lager served by a small polite brown man to whom they can still feel superior.

But they're frightened of Caribbeans. And there are Caribbeans who would be buggered if they'll be waiters to anyone.

So how to get the British eating West Indian food? The answer is to serve it to them in non-West Indian environments. Andrew's Typically Tropical line of prepared food would be served in Italian restaurants, Thai restaurants, even Indian restaurants. He hopes to premiere his new product at this February's IFE 95 show.

What he is doing or thinking

Rehearsing his pitch. He pictures the bank manager. Did he know that chicken tikka is the second most popular British sandwich after egg mayonnaise? Did he know that Thai and Tex Mex are now the fifth and sixth most popular forms of cuisine? The British have developed a taste for spicy food.

But not, evidently, for spicy people.

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