” I don’t know what to cook. Shall we get a caterer to do the food for our party “. There is a tendency to outsource food preparation to some other person or organisation. We sent out our “EATING OUT” reporter Kirsty Eastman to track down caterers and find out how they put together and create mouth watering recipes.
Below is an actual interview with Joan Sounders; who runs her own catering business preparing and supplying food for and to parties.
Q. How did you get into party food business Joan?
A. Well, I love cooking. I used to cook food for my family at home. I found the whole experience very relaxing. I organised food for a few birthday parties at home and even for some school friends. My business just took off from there and now I have four full time employees. It is doing well touch wood.
Q. Do people come to you with an order knowing exactly what they want? Or do they come to you with an idea and a budget and you do the rest?
A. We have many requests for food. Some people choose from the menu and we simply prepare their order and then arrange to deliver their order. Others give us an indicative budget and we then prepare food to meet their budget.
But most people come to me because they want something different. For example, I have a client who wants to launch a vegan society. I have been given the task of organising food for their guests. My instructions are:-
1)All guests are VEGAN.
2)Organise a three course meal
3)They have given me a per head budget of £18.50
4)Number of guests equals 300 in total.
My thought processes are: What can I give then which is colourful, there is variety and that there is substantial quantity of food. So with that in mind, I have put together the following menu:-
Organic fresh spinach for salad. I made my salad base using spinach. Garnish the salad with slices of avocado pear, for colour I used papaya slices, skinless cucumber, slices of tomatoes. Added a hint of my secret blend of spices and finished the salad with a mint. I served the starter with a home made source which complimented everything.
What can I give them with a big wow factor? It must be a combination of carbohydrates and proteins in perfect harmony. I made a mixed lentil pot kidney beans, white eye beans and chick peas for contrast. Roasted a nutty whole meal bread; sliced it and garnished it with three different home made chutneys. Boiled green banana and fresh salad straight from my garden.
For dessert I needed to think a little. I wanted to use fruit but fruit that is in season. I chose mango slices which I garnish with passion fruit and served it with my own home made sauce. They loved it.
Finish the whole meal with a choice of tea or coffee at the end.
Q. Kirsty. Just the description made my mouth water. I feel very hungry I have to tell you.
A. It really is not all that difficult. Just a little bit of imagination is all you need. I always improvise because by so doing I can create something that is unique, different and in all cases well received. I get thank you letters and referrals all the time. All my business comes from people recommending my service.
In conclusion, I was totally blown away by this interview. It was once in a life time opportunity for me to witness a master chef create a unique menu right in front of my own eyes. I intend to ask Joan to prepare food my 25th birthday party regardless of the cost because I can have food and everything that I want without lifting a finger. I want to leave things to their creative imagination after my interview with Joan.