- 16 Apr 2012

Is Goalball the most popular Paralympic Sport?

Paralympic's most popular sport, Goalball
Goalball player professionals?

I don’t really know where to start telling you about this so how about the beginning? Our Sales & Marketing Director popped by my desk a while back in January and started asking me some peculiar questions such as:

  • “What type of wooden floor is there in the Great Hall?”
  • “What is the wall to wall measurement in square feet?”
  • “Is the Great Hall available on the 16th and 23rd of April?”

 At this point I started to get suspicious and simply said….”IT DEPENDS!”
Then the second round of questions made me really shift around my seat a bit:

  • “Would it be ok to throw a 25cm diameter rubber ball with 8 holes and bells in it around our most magnificent room, decked out with gold leaf detail, marble walls, crystal chandeliers, oak floor and painted ceiling?”
  • “Would it be ok to put two goals (9m wide x 1.3m high) at either end of the Great Hall on both days?”

She then said …”Only 65 cheering, over excited, probably amateur players per day” as if to say that makes it better because the Great Hall can take up to 400 people for a reception.

One thing led to another and next thing I know we were chosen by London & Partners to host their Going for Gold, Olympic staff engagement event.  The aim of the Goalball league is to get London and Partners’ staff fired up before the Games, and what better way than through playing one of the most popular Paralympic sports.

What is Goalball?

I decided that it would be best if I found out a bit more so reached for my keyboard to contact ‘Dr Google’ and found out all I need to know on this YouTube video clip.

What happened yesterday?

12 teams with between four and six amateur (hope they don’t mind me saying so!) players in each team fell about blindfolded all day during the qualifying rounds.

The following teams have made it through to the semi-finals on the 23rd of April:
London Fireballs, Beauties and the Beast, Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire, Sepp Reindle Aficionados, Thames Barriers and Tinkle Bells.

The semi finals and final will be played on the 23rd before Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners congratulates the winners and they all head for the Westminster Arms across the road for a well-deserved pint or two. Jessica from our Marketing team will be live tweeting updates so be sure to follow us on Twitter and keep an eye on our Facebook page if you want to know the winners.

- 16 Apr 2012

2012 Opening Ceremony…What sustainable dish will I be cooking on the special Friday?

With all the planning that has gone into deliveries, road closures and making sure my chefs can get to work, the actual details of what we are going to cook has been put, if you will excuse the pun, on the back burner.
With the opening ceremony being on a Friday (27th July) together with our involvement in the Olympic food pledge, it seems only natural to be cooking with fish on that day.
Chef's Sustainable Fish Recipe I have had to dip my toe into the murky waters and shifting sands of fish sustainability.  Buying sustainable fish is something that takes some time and effort. It is not quite as black and white as people believe, and it’s a good idea to talk to your suppliers and keep an eye on official websites.
So, having checked the availability of Coley and organic Salmon, for the opening ceremony we are making ‘Scrumpy cider, leek, Salmon and Coley casserole with Yukon Gold potato crust’.
Here is the recipe:

• Thoroughly wash your potatoes and boil them whole with the skin on until they are about ¾ cooked, then remove them from the heat.
• Prepare your fish by removing all the bones and if you prefer, the skin. Cut into approx 3cm dice but don’t discard any off cuts as they can go into the mix as well.
• In a hot pan with a little oil and butter, seal the fish but don’t cook it all the way through.  Remove from the pan into an oven proof dish.
• In the same pan add a little more butter and cook some roughly cut English leeks and chopped onion until they begin to soften then add to the fish.
• Still using the fish and leek pan, put it back on the heat and pour in a good glug of cider and boil it rapidly until it has reduced by half. 
• Add enough organic double cream to be able to cover the fish and bring it to the boil.  Season it with salt, pepper and cayenne then pour it over the fish.  Mix in some fresh chopped herb to your taste.
• Take your potatoes and slice them whole in approx 1cm slices.  (Don’t worry if the slices break or crumble). Cover the fish with the potato slices and brush with melted butter before putting into an oven at approx 180°C until the potatoes have turned golden brown.

This really is a quick, tasty and easy dish to make and can be adapted to your personal taste.  I like lots of leeks in mine, a squeeze of lemon juice and possibly the addition of some wild mushrooms?  It can be served either on its own, with some additional vegetables or even a side salad.

You have 100 days to plan your own menu for that day.  Make it a great fish one, sustainable of course!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page as I’ll aim to post some videos and photos in the run up to the big day.

- 12 Apr 2012

What do I love and hate about bowl food?

Hello again and thank you for coming back to read my second attempt at blogging.

Those of you who are regulars here at One Great George Street may have noticed that we have an additional section in this years Catering Menu, with the inclusion of bowl food for the first time. Yesterday my team prepared a tasting session for the Sales and Events team, this is one meeting everyone turned up for and on time! Here is a snap of me taking one of the bowl food trays out to them to sample.
Bowl food is of course hardly the new kid on the block as far as food innovation is concerned, so why, you might ask, have we never featured it before? To be honest the only reason it hasn’t made it onto the menus in the past is because I personally didn’t really know how I felt about it as function food.

What did I think I hated about bowl food?
1) Definitely concerns over practicality. What do you do with your glass while you are eating, as you need two hands to do so?
2) What happens to the empties in a busy
3) Do we want to invest in the equipment and where do we then store it?

4) Will we always have enough service space?
5) Will it be a two minute Fad that would fade away?

What I now love about bowl food?
1) Our excellent sales team have been telling me that it is a constant request which has proved to be correct as I can tell from our catering figures and how busy my team are!

2) It’s a creative chef’s dream because of the huge potential in pure food terms by being able to create small and tasty dishes with very few restrictions.

3) It’s perfect for networking events which we are a popular venue for.

4) You can try a ‘little bit of this’ and ‘little bit of that’!

5) It’s cost effective if you are on a tight budget in these difficult times and cannot afford one of my 7 course fine dining meals, as impressive and fabulous as they might be.

So this year I finally put my ambivalence to one side and with the aid of my two senior chefs, Joanne Dingwall and Charlene Basan, created a brand new menu.

Chef and Jo busy planning the menu

Now that it’s done I can’t remember why I made such a song and dance about it, and I have gone from being lukewarm to super excited about the whole concept.
We have already done several tastings and the feedback from the clients has been fantastic.

The most popular dishes are proving to be:
1) ‘Thai green curry with sticky rice’
2) ‘Salt and pepper squid with Asian slaw’ see the photo at the top of this blog
3) ‘Crab, watermelon, cucumber, mango, ginger and dill salad’
4) ‘Chocolate brownies with white chocolate sauce’

Back to my pots and pans. Until next time……..


- 23 Feb 2012

Alice Temperley show announced by Peaches Geldof hosted at OGGS

As you can see, the word ‘ordinary’ is not one used to describe a typical day at One Great George Street! Regular blog readers will know that a day at the award-winning venue is anything but! Last month we had not one, but two members of the Royal Family attend events here on the same day! But that’s another story… did you know One Great George Street is a regular on the London Fashion Week circuit??
The Temperley London show produced by My Beautiful City was an outstanding success and one of the hottest tickets at the recent London Fashion Week. Attended by socialite Peaches Geldof, Hollywood starlet, Minnie Driver and pop star Pixie Lott, it was THE place to be! Titled ‘Renaissance’ Alice Temperley wanted a venue that reflected her collection and the Great Hall at One Great George Street surpassed her expectations. The elaborately painted ceiling, part marble walls, oak flooring combined with the dramatic crystal chandeliers provided the perfect backdrop to the Temperley London collection. The Great Hall hosted fashion’s Vogue elite. Previously, The Great Hall played host to Antonio Beradi who chose the magnificent Westminster venue to showcase his Spring/Summer 2011 collection at London Fashion Week in September 2010. This highlights the versatility and flexibility of One Great George Street. It is a truly magnificent venue that has the ability to adapt to a plethora of occasions and events, not to mention its excellent location, which is a huge advantage for the fashionistas dashing from one show to the next.As you can imagine, there was a space requirement for make up and hair and our ground floor state rooms all with natural daylight worked well for this. Here I am at the make up tables wondering how much make up it would take to make me look younger and like one of the glamorous Temperley show visitors.

Until next time, have a great weekend and take a look at our facebook page for some video clips and more information on the fashion show.


- 03 Feb 2012

Two Royals, two events in One Great Westminster venue

The Prince of Wales delivered this year’s joint ICE and Halcrow Sustainability Lecture which took place in our Telford Theatre in front of a full house of 240 people.

HRH The Prince of Wales in the Telford Theatre

HRH’s lecture examined a variety of themes surrounding civil engineering and sustainability.  Afterwards, a buffet lunch was offered to attendees while HRH was introduced to a number of people for further discussion.

In the evening we were delighted that The Princess Royal graced us again with her presence at RedR’s Annual Patrons’ and Corporate Supporters Drinks Reception. The event is held to welcome new Patrons and to thank those who have given their time and support over the previous year. HRH has been President of the charity, which trains aid workers and provides skilled professionals to humanitarian programmes worldwide, since 1988 and as such has attended many other prestigious RedR events held at One Great George Street.

Certificates were presented in our Great Hall to recognise three new Patrons after which HRH met a number of those present at a drinks reception in our most magnificent room which will be the main press working area when One Great George Street becomes the London Media Centre  during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That’s it for now, got to dash. Who knows, I could have another celebrity or royal family member booking sat in my email inbox!

(One Great George Street resident blogger)

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