Heston Blumenthal's top 5 event catering tips
Heston Blumenthal's top tips on how to put on a great event, from getting the welcome right to generosity and timing.
Londonlaunch.com chatted with legendary chef, Heston Blumenthal about the most important things to consider when you’re putting on an event.
“Whether you’re running a restaurant or putting on an event, the same rules apply. It’s all about the service and the food. Creating a warm, relaxed, intimate experience is really important.”
So how do you create that perfect blend of warmth, conviviality and great food that makes an event so memorable?
Heston Blumenthal shares his top five tips...
1) Get the welcome right
“The welcome is really important. The front of house team at any restaurant or event need to get the balance just right. You don’t want an over-friendly front of house touching your arm, for example!”
You heard it here first - make sure your Royal protocols are firmly in place.
Put your guests at ease, make sure they feel welcome by offering a variety of “welcome drinks”, catering for all eventualities – most people love champagne but an alternative and a selection of soft drinks are imperative. "Simple touches, like making sure there is an exciting array of non-alcoholic drinks for a week night gathering, can make guests feel like they have truly been at the centre of your event planning", says Glen Sutton, Director of Events at Rhubarb.
Remember, your front line team are your ambassadors, not only for the caterers but also for your brand as a whole. This means its essential that they reflect your brand attributes – they need to be warm, friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable about both the food, the venue and the event itself.
2) Be generous
“Generosity is massively important. As a guest, you don’t want to feel that your hosts are being mean with their ingredients or portion sizes.”
Be big-hearted in your approach to catering. Don’t scrimp - your guests will spot it a mile off. It’s better to invite fewer people and provide great, plentiful food than to stretch your budget at the expense of the catering. It’s about quality without compromise and whether you like it or not, your guests will treat even a simple canapé reception as dinner – so don’t run out!
Remember, great food makes a great event and great events are memorable. Your generosity will pay dividends.
3) Don’t try to be too clever
“Doing the simple things really well, works. Over-stretching the kitchen doesn’t.”
You don’t have to provide clever food to impress. It’s the quality and execution that counts so play to your strengths and don’t over-complicate things for the sake of it.
Make the table look lovely - think about your centre pieces, lighting and cutlery. Serve food you know the kitchen can prepare and serve on time, with beautiful presentation and sensational flavours.
“Timing is crucial. You don’t want the food coming out at different times and keeping people waiting. That’s just a really bad experience for your guests”.
This speaks for itself. Nothing takes the shine off a great meal more than making your guests wait. The kitchen and waiting staff need to be working in perfect synchronicity – timing is everything. The same goes for a canapé reception – be quick on the draw with your canapés because hungry guests fuelled by alcohol is a recipe for disaster.
5) Keep it manageable
“Creating a warm, relaxed, intimate experience is really important and it’s not easy to create that kind of experience when you’ve got a sit down dinner for 500.”
Where possible and appropriate, go for smaller, more focused events. Of course, there’s still a place for the big banquets, particularly for the big charity fund-raisers, but the trend is shifting towards smaller, intimate events. A group of up to 25 well-chosen guests around a long table will create an engaging banqueting environment. This style of event is perfect for an after-dinner speaker who can deliver an inspiring talk and turn the following Q&A into an inclusive, lively, post-dinner conversation – without leaving anyone out.
Keeping your event small transforms a formal dinner into an accessible, relaxed and, most importantly, memorable experience.
So, follow Heston’s top tips for success and make sure your next event goes Blumen’ well!
What are your top tips for a successful event? Tweet us and let us know.
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VIP Dinner with Heston Blumenthal
Londonlaunch.com and Rhubarb hosted a VIP dinner with special guest, Heston Blumenthal. Find out about the menu and Heston's after dinner talk.