London - Where Catering at it's Best
There are literally thousands of catering companies in the UK, from small ‘workspace caterers’ who may provide simple freshly made sandwiches and cakes for office workers at lunchtime, to the top end ‘corporate and celebrity’ caterers who work alongside the country’s leading event organisers and party planners to deliver the very finest and most luxurious food to blue chip business organisations, society and royal families, and celebrities from stage and screen. In between the two are a huge variety of caterers, serving all kinds of food, from all countries and for all tastes and budgets. The overall package provided can vary enormously too, and can include waiting staff, fine wines and champagnes, cocktail barmen, sushi chefs, or even showgirls and circus performers. The catering industry is important behind the scenes too – on film sets, on location on music video shoots, or at TV productions. Catering companies can provide food for a small family christening, costing a few hundred pounds, or a charity gala for thousands of people costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. The variety and scope within the industry is enormous. Whilst there are thousands of catering companies based throughout the UK providing these services, the majority, and of course therefore the greatest variety, are in London – literally hundreds of companies are based where the big spending event clientele are, and these companies are able to cater for corporate events for London’s financial industry, for royal weddings, for film stars 40th birthday parties, and for everything in between. The most well known, such as “rhubarb” food design or The Admirable Crichton, work in the top end celebrity market, but even that side of the industry is extensive, with almost 20 high end catering companies in London alone. London’s catering industry is renowned for its excellence as well as its uniqueness. In the States, where catering is rather less stylised, the competition is much smaller. Here in London, where so many do it so well, clients ideas for their dream parties are made reality, style and décor are creative and ground breaking, menus are changed seasonally and regularly to reflect food trends and news, and overall, the catering industry reflects how important food is to the discerning people of London. With so many high earning industries based in London too – industries that do a great deal of business in the event sphere and to whom parties are of crucial importance to financial success (media, politics, banking and finance), it is natural that the catering industry is centred in the city.
And so a few of the catering companies based in London have made their food an absolute art form. Towering ice laden piles of seafood may greet guests when they enter a room, miniature versions of British classics constructed into tiny mouthfuls are served from perspex platters, oriental china bowls of delicately scented curry, cakes and pastries served with tiny ice cream cones, nothing is impossible. Most catering companies can work in varying venues, and London can provide the perfect choice of those too – museums and galleries, courts, parks, palaces and public spaces. A sit down dinner in a marquee in one of London’s oldest squares, a champagne reception at the top of the Lloyds building in the city – caterers are adept at setting up, cooking and serving in any space, anywhere. Some of London’s better caterers have restaurant experience too, they have either been born out of restaurants such as Urban Caprice or Fifteen or they have ventured into that side of the food and drinks industry like Rhubarb Food Bar London catering and The Gallery Mess. Both work hand in hand in London, again reflecting just how much the food industry here is voracious in its appetites. - Author Sara Allom
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