One of our biggest undertakings of the year is without doubt the writing of the banqueting menu. At the moment we are right in the middle of the main of period of menu writing, but the process started months ago and will continue for a few more months to come. To be honest by the time the new menu comes into operation in January 2017 it will feel like an old friend and we will be comfortable and confident with our new dishes. Strange as it may seem, the process of creating the next year’s menu starts with the first function of the year in January. We will be looking at the customer’s menu choices to see what information we can learn. Have they gone for the new dishes or stuck with what they know? What combinations have they chosen? Are they choosing safe options or being bold?
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.
Welcome to the first chef’s Blog from the kitchens at One Great George Street in Westminster or OGGS as we are often fondly referred to by our regulars. My name is David Wilkinson and it has been my pleasure to have been the head chef here for the past 11 years, where I have lucky enough to see the business develop from promising but fairly modest beginnings into the highly professional, flexible and articulate organization that we operate today.
I came to OGGS in June 2000 with the best part of 20 years experience in 5 Star hotels behind me but even with Intercontinental hotels, The Savoy and Claridges included on my resume, I have to say that this has been the most rewarding and stimulating job I have ever had. The photo below is of The Savoy kitchen team taken back in 1985, yes I am that old and I am somewhere in the back, you will have to take my word for it.
As a stand alone venue with dedicated, in-house catering, we are in complete control of every aspect of the operation from the suppliers we use to the moment the food arrives on the plate, and everything in between. The advantage of course for our customers is that because we are not governed by restrictive corporate or contractual limitations, it gives us unique flexibility.
All this flexibility and autonomy would of course be for nothing without the right team to make it work. A kitchen is only as good as the people working in it and I am privileged to say that I work with the most fantastic team. It would be difficult to imagine a more diverse group of characters with people from as far a-field as the Philippines, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Poland and Slovakia. I’ve even got someone from Birmingham!! Before I forget, we are currently recruiting for a Senior Chef de Partie so do let me know if you know suitable candidates.
In future Blogs I will fill you in with details! I’ll tell you more about the team, the food, unusual functions and maybe name drop some VIP guests! There is also so much to talk about and discuss in this Jubilee and Olympic year and the challenges and opportunities it brings to a conference venue in Westminster with proud responsibility for hosting the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Until then thank you for reading the first chefs Blog.