Posts Tagged ‘Cafe Bar’

- 01 Mar 2016

Cheffing (verb) – A succession of non-negotiable deadlines.

IMG_3599What do I mean by non-negotiable deadlines?

Well, in the kitchen there is no chance of getting away with lame excuses when it comes to serving up food.

Our customers are, quite rightly, very demanding when it comes to food service, and if I say that we will be serving ‘this meal’ at ‘this time’, then that’s how it has to happen…

(more…)

- 25 Jun 2014

How to run a successful kitchen….In the Beginning

I can hardly believe it myself but last week I celebrated 14 years here at One Great George Street, and it’s only when I look back to that distant June in 2000 that I realise just how far we have come as a company and a catering operation.

Food and Beverage Menus Event Venue
The modern day catering offering

When I first arrived things were very different. For a start there were less than half the amount of staff and the lion’s share of the functions were contracted out to an external catering company. Brasserie One was a carvery, the café bar was known as the Buttery and they shared one large room divided by chocolate brown screens. The main kitchen was rather old and the Palmer, Rennie and Tredgold rooms didn’t even exist; in fact these used to be old offices. However, the one thing we did have was the drive and imagination to develop and improve the operation.

Within a year the external caterer had gone and the new restaurant and function rooms were fully operational. Most importantly we recognised that in order to continue to grow the business and to succeed we needed to recruit the right people for specific jobs. As a result a new and enhanced staffing structure was introduced. Rather than having a team that multi-tasked but did not excel in specific areas; we created and brought in clearly defined job roles that encouraged individuals to specialise and develop particular skills.

This forward thinking paid dividends and the business rapidly expanded. It has allowed us to further develop our menus and the proficiency of the front of house service, which in turn bought in more customers. By 2006 / 2007 we were so busy that my clapped out old kitchen could no longer cope with the level of business, so with typical proactivity, plans were drawn up for the refurbishment of the main kitchen that took place in August 2008.

State-of-the-art kitchen installation event venue
Early days of the new state-of-the-art kitchen 

It would be impossible in this small space to tell you about everything that has changed, but the one thing that has remained constant is that we never rest on our laurels and we are always looking for ways to better ourselves. Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the constant desire to innovate that has given me so much job satisfaction for so many years.

An example of this is work we are doing now and we do every year summer; we start to create the new menus for the following year. We love to look at this from a blank canvas, see what trends are about, what our competitors are doing and be able to get the creative juices flowing…so watch this space as the new menu for 2015 will be coming this way soon!

- 16 May 2013

My Chilli Con Carne and Bevil’s Lunch Club



Photograph by Izabela Bartusik (Food and Beverage Supervisor at One Great George Street)

Life is full of interesting people and it is just wonderful to get off the treadmill of life in London and take time to chat with them. Shelley Coleman from our catering team recently had the chance to sit down with a character from Railway Engineering. Here is the resulting guest blog post from her, which I trust you will enjoy reading.

Hello, I am Shelley. I found that George exudes enjoyment for life and the friendships that he has made. He is a retired railway engineering consultant, and I talked to him during his regular Thursday lunch club in our informal Café Bar at One Great George Street.

The birth and founders of the Thursday lunch club

The club was set up to form a meeting point for friends from many walks of life. It was set up in 1923 by Lord Reith who was the first Director General of the BBC, Kenneth Cantile (advisory engineer to the Chinese National Railway) and Bevil Rudd. Bevil was a colourful, interesting character and an Olympic athlete after whom the club was named. Alan Beckett was a recent eminent Civil Engineer member who designed the floating pontoon roadway which was crucial to the success of the Mulberry harbour that was used in the Normandy Landings.

George’s five loves of the Café Bar and One Great George Street

  1. Accessibility: I struggle with arthritis and I wish I had a magic wand to get rid of it. The Westminster location is convenient and the venue has good accessible features.
  2. The service: The catering staff are always very helpful and bring my meal to me without being asked.
  3. Chilli con carne: My favourite dish is the home made Chilli con carne. I know it is 100% beef. The Chef is good and I am told he spends a lot of time sourcing quality ingredients.
  4. Chatting to friends: It is a highlight of my week as I meet my friends here. We have the chance to discuss many things including engineering and how to cure the ills of the world. The latter is the bigger challenge.
  5. Banquette seating: The seating is very comfortable and convenient making easier to have a group discussion. As you can tell from the photos, we try to squeeze as many Bevil’s club members around one table as we possibly can!



The lunch club in 2005 prior to the instillation of new banquette seating.

 George Carpenter gets up a head of steam….



Photograph by Izabela Bartusik (Food and Beverage Supervisor at One Great George Street)

 George has had a fascinating career in Railway Engineering and has a deep passion for the age of steam railways. One of the engineering challenges in his life time was working on a high powered coal-burning turbine-electric locomotive to haul heavy coal trains from the Powder Riven Basin in Wyoming where 200 million of tons of coal are mined each year, the largest source of coal in the U.S.A

The final word from George:

“Engineering is a fascinating career and I enjoy reminiscing about the age of steam and discussing modern developments.  The power of steam still the principal means of electrical power generation in many countries including China. I will keep returning to One Great George Street for Thursday lunch hoping that Chili Con Carne is on the menu for as long as I can (I am now 89!).”

Bon Appétit George and to everyone else that enjoys the food at OGGSVenue
Shelley Coleman

- 31 Oct 2012

My Halloween 2012 Villain

Something strange is going on in the Cafe bar tonight….



Halloween in OGGSVenue Cafe Bar
Warm welcome to our Cafe bar


Having worked on my pumpkin creation, here is the finished scary piece of art.  What do you think?



Pumpkins at Halloween by Chef at OGGSVenue
My Pumpkin Carving Creation 2012



Now must dash back into the kitchen. It has been a busy day and I have trick or treaters waiting for me at home too! 

- 29 Oct 2012

My 5 VIP…Very Impressive Pumpkin Promises…..

Here I am….sat with my carving tools, 25lbs pumpkin and expectations to better my 2011 Hallowe’en carving.

The Pumpkin arrived from Entremettier, my Covent Garden supplier yesterday. As growing conditions have been less than ideal in 2012, the pumpkin is not quite as gargantuan (212lbs) as last year. He is nevertheless a good shape, size and condition for anatomical dissection and transformation into hopefully an epic character.


Halloween Pumpkins at OGGSVenue
2012 Pumpkin pre-carving

Everyone would like to know what I will be carving, but I’ll let you into a little secret…..I dont know yet myself. Sure I have an idea, but it’s not until you start carving that it all comes together. It’s what I love about pumpkin carving; the creativity and uncertainty. Here are 5 pumpkin promises until you visit my blog tomorrow to see the finished article. The 2012 masterpiece will hopefully be…..

1) definitely a boy. It’ll be far too ugly to be a girl

2) a villainous figure of some sort, it is Hallowe’en after all

3)  evil and bijou rather than enormous!

4) inspired by an American artists called Ray Villafane. Perhaps unexpected in a year celebrating all things British, but if you take a look at his website, you will understand why I have drawn inspiration from him

5) displayed in our on-site Cafe Bar from 11am on Hallowe’en. The Cafe Bar is open to the public and if you are visiting to admire the pumpkin tomorrow, you can pick up a free Lavazza by simply whispering ‘Pumpkin’ to any of the serving team on this one day only.

Pumpkin surgery can take anything from one hour to five hours. Best I get on with the most fun and creative responsibility on my job description in my temporary Harley Street type office! Until tomorrow…