If ambition is the path to success then Alex Nowotynski, 28, is surely on it. The good-humoured mountain biking fanatic born and bred in Drinagh, who learnt the gourmet burger trade from the late Frankie Murphy of Frankie’s Badass Burgers and has been carrying on his legacy since 2018, is getting ready for another busy summer season with his food truck The Badass BBQ.
Born with the gift of the gab, and a fierce work ethic he credits his Polish grandad with, Alex is never happier than when he’s serving up his tasty gourmet burgers and talking the talk to a long queue of hungry customers at Skibbereen Market with the help of his righthand man, nephew Luke.
When he’s not at the market, Alex, who has been racing competitively since he was 13, is following the Irish mountain bike race series around the country, catering for, competing and sometimes even winning in it!
The Badass BBQ is renowned for its mouth-smacking, finger-licking breakfasts and beef burgers with all the trimmings piled high. Alex sources most of his ingredients locally: The beef comes from Drinagh Butchers in Skibbereen, where the burgers are made to Alex’s recipe and collected on the morning, the Pork is from Allshires in Rosscarbery, eggs from Shehymore Free Range Poultry, cheeses from Gubbeen and Carbery and the bread from Field’s Bakery.
On the menu are nine different beef burgers, all available gluten-free, three hot dogs and seven breakfast options, which boasts an Italian, Mexican and Irish-style breakfast. Alex is in to Skibbereen market early every Saturday to collect his supplies and get the 10 to 15 kilos of chipped, par-boiled and marinated potatoes twice-fried for his famous vegetarian hashes. He makes his own hot sauces, salsas and salads. The biggest seller on the Badass menu is the ‘Gubbeen Smoked Cheese and Bacon Burger’ with the ‘Not a Big Mac’ hot on its heels. “It has all the elements and taste profile of a Big Mac but it’s done properly,” laughs Alex. All of the ware and packaging used by Badass is compostable.
Come winter and Alex will be off for a brief spell to Scotland where he drives machinery in the Christmas tree harvest. “The money is too good not to do it,” he shrugs. And then it’s over to France, where he has completed six seasons, four of which were under a Michelin-trained chef.
From March until October however, it’s foot to the floor between the market and catering to private events and mountain bike race events. It’s not unusual for the Nowotynskis to cover 90 breakfast orders in under two-and-a-half hours or feed up to 300 between 9am and 3pm on a good day in Skibbereen and cater for up to 600 famished racers during a mountain bike weekend. “Every day that I have a queue and it’s a sunny day that’s a high for me,” shares Alex. “I feel really privileged that people come back week after week; I have at least 100 repeat customers every Saturday…I think a lot of people come for the chat and the craic,” he adds laughing.
This year Alex is looking for a permanent location to park his food truck midweek in Skibbereen so if you miss it on a Saturday keep an eye out for the queue!
The Badass BBQ can cater up to 200 for private events and functions. For more information or to make a booking contact Alex by emailing email@example.com