May 2012 archive

- 16 May 2012

Bucks Fizz, Epsom and a bit of Katherine Jenkins. Which direction are you heading this weekend?

Diamond Jubliee, where will you be?

I am a bit of a Royalist and a fan of our Monarch of 60 years and especially so this year when I have managed to get 9 days off for the price of 3!

A group of us here at OGGSVenue are then gathering at my place on Saturday morning for a Bucks Fizz breakfast before we head to Epsom Race Course and the Grandstand. Here we will listen to Katherine Jenkins sing the National Anthem and like our Queen, we will begin our weekend.

My original intention was to blog and tell you about the celebrations local to us here in Westminster. I found that although the Royal Barge will be floating past Westminster Pier and the Monday night concert is taking place at Buckingham Palace (which is just a short walk through St James’s park across the road from us) there is not really anything specifically happening on our doorstep.

Nevertheless, here is a helpful link that cropped up during my google research journey that I thought I would share with you to follow the activities of the Royal family worldwide

Whatever you do and whatever direction you head for this weekend and whether you are a Royalist or not, have a wonderful time. After all, celebrating two events (2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee) of such enormous importance in one year in England is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us.

- 14 May 2012

A World of Cuisines in my Westminster Kitchen?

Thanks to my wonderful eclectic team, a walk through my kitchen is a bit like ‘Going around the World in 8 seconds’ rather than 80 days due to the many languages and accents I hear!

Chef and his 2012 team
Summer Skye Photography

This diversity makes the ‘Class of 2012’ a particularly creative bunch in an otherwise traditional, Grade II listed, Westminster meetings and events venue.
Since I was talked into this blogging malarkey, I have noticed an increase in my use of puns. Forgive me therefore for saying that my team quite literally bring a myriad of tastes and flavours to our tables at OGGSVenue.
Catering is such a transient industry that in the dozen years that I have been here about 50 staff from 20 countries have passed through the our doors of my kitchen,  and in some way or another they have all contributed to the way we operate today.

It is this diversity that makes my job so interesting and rewarding.  Most catering operations outside of independent restaurants are usually so strictly governed by company directives that freedom of expression is suppressed in favour of conformity.  The beauty of being a stand-alone, autonomous conference and events venue is that I am able to draw on the combined knowledge of the team and implement improvements at will.
Because of their collective experience the whole team are very much involved in making the decisions that effect the operation.  There are the obvious ones such as creating menus and food service, but there’s also hygiene, training, safety, logistics and administration etc to consider.  It is amazing how committed people are to a cause if they had influence over it’s creation in the first place.

Perhaps we should create a 7- course tasting menu representing a favourite dish from each of my team’s home countries including Singapore, Slovakia, Jamaica, South Africa, the Phillipines, and Ireland. As Head Chef, I think I deserve Chef’s prerogative for a very English Amuse Bouche!