“Good food doesn’t have to be dull.” That’s what Ben Jennings at Twisted Street Food told The Lincolnite when we went to try out his now famous potato skewers, as well as a brand new item on the menu.

Ben Jennings, 48, is originally from London but has lived in Lincoln for 13 years, and he has worked in and out of the hospitality sector for almost a decade.

Twisted Street Food was an idea he had around two years ago, and after COVID-19 postponed the launch, he is now up and running selling street food delights in the city since October 2020.

Ben is meticulous with his food prep. | Photo: The Lincolnite

“I just love food, I am so passionate about it and always have been,” Ben told The Lincolnite. “Street food suits me down to the ground, it’s far better than being static in a kitchen.

“For me, the experience is of equal importance to the quality of the food, so it has to be fun as well as tasty.”

Here is where you can find Twisted Street Food, outside The Victoria pub on Union Road, Lincoln. | Photo: The Lincolnite

You can find Twisted Street Food outside The Victoria pub on Union Road, as well as his monthly pop-ups at Lincoln Castle.

Ben’s big hit so far have been his twisted potato skewers, which are twice fried and served with seasoning and sauce.

The potato skewers start off pretty routinely. | Photo: The Lincolnite

He has developed sixteen different seasoned salts and offers them in batches of four to six depending on demand, varying from cajun spice to Spanish onion and Cornish salt.

“This is where the magic happens.” | Photo: The Lincolnite

Ta-da! | Photo: The Lincolnite

The potato becomes twisted with a spiral cutter, before they are fried and dosed with a choice of Twisted’s various spices and sauces.

The skewers are then fried before being seasoned and prepped for serving. | Photo: The Lincolnite

His latest invention is a wonderful chilli dog, based on a 1950s recipe from Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

Ben has added a local twist to this legendary dish, offering Lincolnshire sausages, supplied by local butcher Foster’s on Monks Road, instead of the traditional Bratwurst.

The chilli dog looks mesmerising. | Photo: The Lincolnite

The chilli dog will come with caramelised onion, nine hour slow cooked beef chilli mix, blow torched mature cheddar and then garnished with fresh chillies, spring onion and American mustard.

The gourmet burger is a sight to behold. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Adding this to the menu alongside the already popular skewers and gourmet burger is part of the next step in Ben’s development with Twisted.

With a menu this good, how can you go wrong? | Photo: The Lincolnite

Ben added: “Street food is taking off, and with table service looking to be the route forward it’s cause for me to be excited, everything is just so much more civilised.

“The uptake has been massive since we started, people seem really interested in it, I think above all else the public are just delighted to be back out and about.

The gourmet burger comes with onions, molten cheddar, lettuce, gherkins, onion rings, tomato and a prosciutto crisp. | Photo: The Lincolnite

“As for myself, I’m hoping to be able to reach the festival and events circuits soon enough, as well as doing a few private events and carrying on with the success we’ve had at The Victoria and the castle.”

The twisted potatoes will cost £3.50 with seasoning and sauce, while the gourmet burger and chilli dog cost £8.50 with French fries and sauce.

Great options at Twisted Street Food. | Photo: The Lincolnite

A petition has been launched to fully re-open the toilets on Lincoln’s Westgate car park after council leaders announced they would only be opening the facilities for events.

The City of Lincoln Council’s executive will examine the plans later this month, which will also see the Victorian urinals at The Lawn on Union Road and Newport Arch closed permanently, and facilities at Lucy Tower opened for special events only in a bid to save £86,000 per year.

However, Fiona Purkiss of Midas Art in the Bailgate, along with other business owners, said the Westgate facilities need to be open and accessible to all on a daily basis.

Her petition “Save Our Loos – We demand the reopening of Westgate Loos in Lincoln” has received more than 160 signatures in 20 hours.

Fiona said it was good that the disabled facilities would remain accessible, but that the walk to the Castle Square facilities — the closest public toilets to remain open — was too far for some of those without radar keys.

According to Google Maps, the distance between the two facilities is 450-550m depending on whether users go via the castle or the Bailgate.

A screenshot of Google Maps showing two routes people could take from the Westgate toilets to Castle Square. | Image: Google

She said that since the toilets closed at the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown, she had already seen people caught short, having to take drastic action or have an accident.

“I have had people come into the shop a bit anxious about needing the toilet. I would not say “no” [to them using my toilet] but it’s not actually suitable for the general public,” she said, adding she also had security concerns due to her own loo being accessed through a stockroom.

“I witnessed three men stood there. They got out of their car, tried the door and shouted back before weeing up against the wall.

“It’s been going for some time, we have had some very embarrassed, middle-aged women arrive who would not make it to Castle Square. They have been forced to wee in a carrier bag or a tissue box they kept in their side door.”

“It’s mortifying for them,” she said.

Fiona Purkiss, of Midas Arts. Photo: Daniel Jaines

She said a suggestion that people use the toilets of pubs and restaurants could leave people feeling uncomfortable if they did not wish to purchase anything while there – particularly during lockdown when patrons are required to queue during busy times, and must have tables pre-booked.

She added that a lack of facilities could put visitors off coming to the city and that it was disruptive to delivery drivers, taxi drivers and others, including parents waiting to pick their children up from Westgate Academy.

The council, however, feels its proposals have been misrepresented by opponents.

It has denied the toilets will be closed permanently – but says that they have been “mothballed”.

Councillor Bob Bushell, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place at City of Lincoln Council, said: “The city council welcomes petitions and recognises they are a good way for people to convey their concerns to us.

“However, it is essential that people who are considering signing any petition are presented with the full and correct facts so they can make a judgement on whether to sign or not.

“Following consultation with the public, we are proposing to keep open the disabled toilet and allow the main facilities to be available during events such as Lincoln Christmas Market.

“At other times, alternative facilities are available on Castle Square, a short five minute walk away.”

“We have also never suggested that people use toilets in cafes and bars to supplement our provision, we have merely highlighted that paying customers have these facilities at their disposal and should use them if needed.

He said the proposals would also keep the toilets open at Tentercroft St and the bus station.

“Add to this the upcoming refurbishment of toilets at the Central Market and we feel there is a significant spread of facilities across the city, uphill and in the city centre, to serve the needs of shoppers and tourists alike.”

McDonald’s customers in Lincoln are disappointed for a second week by a national shortage of chicken selects — without an explanation why.

Customers have been unable to buy items such as chicken selects, the chicken deluxe burger and the big flavour chicken wrap since last Friday at least.

As well as this, some restaurants are not selling the sweet chilli chicken wrap, or the BBQ bacon chicken wrap either, as they contain the chicken selects.

It comes a few weeks after Animal Rebellion held blockades outside McDonald’s depots in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Heywood.

The animal rights protestors targeted the fast food chain for its protests, and asked for McDonald’s to commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025.

However, it is unclear as to whether these protests, which saw activists blocking lorries with bamboo, is the direct reason for the shortage.

The shortage has sparked comparisons to the great KFC delivery blunder of 2018, which forced the restaurant chain into over 700 closures until chicken supply accelerated again.

Fear not, though McDonald’s fans, as you can still order Chicken McNuggets to your heart’s content.

McDonald’s bosses have pledged to get the item back on the menu as soon as possible.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “We are working incredibly hard to get this popular menu item back on sale in our restaurants.

“We know some customers will be disappointed to hear this news, and we would like to apologise for the short term inconvenience.”

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