Mandarin Oriental's outside catering launch
On Wednesday 28th November The Mandarin Oriental launched its tailor-made outside catering business at the Royal Chelsea Hospital’s stunning 300 year old Great Hall, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
And when an invitation like this drops on your desk, you know the bar is going to be high.
The great and the good of the events industry were out in force and the Mandarin Oriental didn't disappoint. It was old school elegance with understated opulence.
Hurricane lamps with red rose petals lined the steps, giant red flower arrangements adorned the room, waiting staff floated around in smart red uniforms and Chelsea Pensioners complemented the colour scheme beautifully (or maybe it was the other way around?).
The seafood stand was laden with everything from Scottish rock lobster to Cornish queen scallops, all displayed in ice-carved dishes as chefs whipped up mini glass bowls of delectable seafood dishes.
The Thai stand was equally as beautiful, serving up duck spring rolls, curries and salads but for me the show was well and truly stolen by the dessert stand. It was choco-heaven. Exquisite bites of mini chocolate goodies which tasted just as good as they looked, from rich dark mousse to creamy white chocolate parcels.
The food just kept on coming and coming and coming. Wave after wave of different dishes from fois gras and mini beetroots stuffed with avocado to mini beef wellingtons, tiny fruit tarts, white chocolate fudge and LOADS more.
The magnums of Moët flowed and the atmosphere was so congenial that the room stayed full to the end. It was a showcase on how to showcase your wares. And, testament to their brand and reputation, you only had to comment to other guests on how unutterably fabulous the food was and the response was always the same, "Well it IS the Mandarin Oriental".
If you want absolutely top notch catering, stunning presentation and effortlessly smooth service you'd be hard pressed to beat the Mandarin Oriental.
It was lavish. It was memorable. They hit their mark.
And yes there were goodie bags - a pretty Mandarin Oriental calendar and some chocs. As if I hadn't eaten enough already...
Top tips from the Mandarin Oriental event:
- Use up-lighting outside to create drama and set the scene.
- Serve a good variety of canapés and keep them coming, your guests will stay and the atmosphere will warm up.
- Don't scrimp – everyone remembers great food.
- Use a venue that reflects the values of your brand.
- Pay attention to detail – the plates, the dishes, everything was beautiful and made the food seem even more decadent (if that's at all possible).
- And finally, invite some Chelsea pensioners - everyone likes a man in uniform.
Fiona Ferrer, Editor
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