City Tastes & Tipples: Say hello to our very own Falafel Lady...

Wakefield 'Falafel Lady' Debra Lowe from Falafel Street Kitchen.
Wakefield 'Falafel Lady' Debra Lowe from Falafel Street Kitchen.

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.”