YORK cook Nancy Kotecha has launched a takeaway street food service from her driveway to make a living during lockdown.

Like many small traders, Nancy – a single mum of five - saw business grind to a halt during the pandemic.

She had been running her catering business Nan's Van - serving food from a converted horse box - for two and a half years, mostly attending weddings and festivals, until the coronavirus crisis forced her to stop.

York Press:

Nancy Kotecha serving street food from Nan's Van

But now she's found a new way to sell her food to customers - from the driveway of her home in Fulford.

Nancy has set up her van outside her front door and is selling street food twice a week to her growing band of happy customers.

Service runs every Friday and Sunday from 5.30pm to 7pm, with weekly themes and menus posted on her Facebook page: (facebook.com/nansvan.co.uk).

For her ingenuity and determination, Nancy is our Trader of the Week. If you would like to nominate yourself, or a local trader, for this title, click here to fill out our online form.

Operating from 13 Grants Avenue off Heslington Lane, Nancy says she has been winning great reviews with her adventurous food. The theme for this week is Malaysia - and the menu includes a Malaysian mixed starter box (£5) featuring prawn fritters, spring roils, curry puff pastries and Asian slaw. A range of soups and main dishes are on offer too, include a vegetable laksa, beef randang, Malaysian yellow chicken curry as well as a veggie option, all with rice for £6. A selection of sides are available too, including fries and halloumi fries. Vegan and veggie options are always available.

York Press:

One of the Malaysian dishes made by Nancy

Nancy said the driveway takeaway has provided a financial lifeline during lockdown.

"I would have been destroyed if I hadn't started selling from my driveway," she said, adding she was not eligible for furlough or other financial help from the government.

Nancy, who used to own a nursery school in Leeds before switching to a career in catering, cooks all her food in a working kitchen in an extension at her Fulford home.

She had been looking forward to taking Nan's Van to the York Festival which was supposed to have taken place in June.

She said; "I was one of 15 street food traders chosen for that. There was supposed to be 22,000 footfall - I was bordering on retirement!"

Read more: Farmer's market and takeaway starts at Saddle Inn, York

Instead, as for many people in the events industry - 2020 has been a huge struggle.

She said: "As a new mobile business, I am one of the ones who has fallen through the cracks so I do not qualify for any grants or other support schemes.

"My only option has been to open my van and start serving the local community."

"Trading from the driveway I have met and chatted to so many neighbours. In turn, they have met others that perhaps they wouldn't have – all socially distanced of course.

"Everything is Covid compliant and socially distanced. My van has a perspex screen fitted to the hatch and I have completed a Covid-19 food safety training course."

Nancy also decorates her van according to the season or the type of food she is serving.

York Press:

Nan's Van all dressed up for Halloween

She said: "I adapt my menu each week looking at different international cuisines. During summer, I did street food tasting boxes with a mix of hot food and salads. Now in autumn, I have been making stews and curries from places like Jamaica, India and Malaysia. Everything is homemade from scratch.

"I try to decorate the van according to the style of food I am serving and sometimes play traditional music from the countries. I am planning to decorate the van for Christmas and build a type of grotto around her with lots of fairy lights and other festive decorations. The neighbours are keen to have some socially distanced Carol singing."

Nancy encourages customers to contact her via her Nan's Van Facebook page where they can place their orders via a message and in return receive a pick-up time slot.

Don't forget to send in your nominations for our next Trader of the Week: click here to fill out our online form.