Tag: chef


Catering for me is bit like watching one of those massive passenger aircrafts taking off. Hundreds of tonnes of people, metal, luggage and fuel taking to the air being held up by nothing more than air pressure, something you can’t even see. Everything about it says that it should work but you have to grudgingly accept that it just does.

Likewise everything about catering says that disaster is waiting around every corner but 99% of the time all the parts that are moving in different directions suddenly come together at the crucial moment and the day is saved. So what do I mean by moving parts?


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…


- 11 Feb 2014

Baking with Bertinet

I had the perfect start to 2014!  After a fabulous festive break I was lucky enough to attend the Richard Bertinet cookery school on a five day bread making course, which was without doubt the most enjoyable training I have had for years.


Bread making is a skill that has passed me by throughout my career as very few establishments make their own. For a long time I have been very keen to attend the Bertinet course so that I can introduce a new skill to the kitchen.

I first heard about Richard from Stefano Borella, a pastry chef friend of mine who went on the course some time ago and raved about it (believe me if a pastry chefs thinks it’s good, it must be).  Then a couple of years ago I bought Richard’s excellent book ‘Dough’ that comes with a demonstration DVD, I was so impressed that I made it a priority to go on the course.

The cookery school is situated in a wonderfully quirky old building nestled at the end of a Mews in the beautiful city of Bath.  Much like the building we were a varied and interesting class of 12, from America, Russia, Australia, the Far East, Ireland, Scotland and of course a couple of English thrown in for good measure.  Some of us had a catering connection yet others just had a love of baking this mix helped create a really great atmosphere.

Beautiful Freshly Made Bertinet Breads
Beautiful Freshly Made Bertinet Breads 

The course is expertly constructed and ensures it is accessible, fun and rewarding for everyone, not just the people in the trade.  We would begin each day would begin with a relaxed coffee and a home-made pastry at 09:30 followed by Richard outlining the day’s objectives accompanied by a demonstration. I particularly enjoyed day one’s introduction which was an explanation of the history and techniques of bread making, it set a really solid foundation on what we learnt the rest of the week.

Almost immediately it seemed it was our turn to get hands on, and under the spell of the Bertinet mantra of ‘Show the dough who’s Boss’ ringing in our ears, we go to it. Working in either pairs or in a group of four we soon found out that it was actually the Dough who was Boss! However, by the end of the week we may not have been the Boss but at least the dough was ‘Well supervised’. Don’t be fooled this was achieved following copious amounts of practice and lots of help and encouragement from Richard and his excellent assistant Dan!

The course covers so much more than just knocking up some basic bread. Not only do you learn how to make many types of bread, you also learn: technique, organisation, preparation, baking, ferments, timing, teamwork and much more.

We would end the day at 14:30 when Chef Richard would cook up some lunch for us and we would sit down to eat with a glass of wine and of course our freshly baked bread. What could possibly be better than that?

Lunch at Bertinet Baking School
Lunch at Bertinet Baking School

This is an excellent, highly recommended course and I am already looking at ways to introduce home-made bread to the menus here at One Great George Street.

The stress of cooking for more than 8,000 journalists at the 2012 London Media Centre has faded into a happy memory and I’ve been wonderfully rejuvenated by the festive break. I’m now full of energy and enthusiasm for the year ahead, even for blogging!

OGGSVenue Salad Menu
Indian potato salad with paneer, cashew nuts and curried yoghurt dressing

January sees the new 2013 catering menu coming into operation. Your old favourites are still there but there are also lots of new dishes to tempt you. If you need guidance on the menu choices for your next event, Perry and his team of event managers will be happy to help.

This year we’ve added a new salad selection to business lunches, the inspiration came from an unlikely source.


The first spark of inspiration happened at a meeting with our representative Rachael on a regular visit. KFF Ltd are one of our OGGSVenue nominated food suppliers.

Rachael told me customers would be asking for ‘Ottolenghi style’ salads within months. I quickly scheduled a visit to their Notting Hill cafe and was suitably impressed with their fresh and innovative food.

Bespoke menu client

The second spark for our inspirational salads came from a client meeting. When I asked if the client had any requests or preferences for her bespoke menu, her first comment was: ‘I would like Ottolenghi style salads. Have you heard of them?’

Thank you Rachael!

2013 Menu creation

Re-writing the menus is one of my biggest jobs of the year. Apart from making the food tempting, we consider sustainability, menu structure, provenance, availability, cost, practicality as well as food fashions and trends.

This year, you have seven new salad selections for the business lunch and finger food menu. If you have a personal favourite for your event, just let us know though.

Our prices have gone up ever so slightly (below inflation minimum) as we want to continue to offer value for money and excellent choice in these difficult times.

A final note on Ottolenghi. I visited their restaurant on Upper Street, Islington with the boss for dinner last week. It is super-trendy with a great buzz and was heaving!

All the dishes are “tasting” size rather than main course, and the combination of flavours is breathtaking. I can’t recommend it enough but make sure you book early if you want to go in the evening.

I hope we have a chance to serve you in our Cafe bar, Brasserie One restaurant or at a function in the coming year.

I’m happy to share any of the newly-featured salad recipes, just send me an email request.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013!

2012 London Olympic Games a Sucess with the Major
Coordinating and overseeing 66 press conferences over the 2012 London Media Centre which we have been housing during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games has not quite stressed out and messed up my hair to the same extent as Boris above or either of the Catalonian performance artists from Osadia in the photo below taken just outside our Brasserie One restaurant.

2012 London Media Centre: Inside the fun
Perry with his new very British fans!

 It also has not left me craving gummy bears, but more about that later ‘I am after all, long in the Westminster tooth so to say’ and have dealt with very many Westminster press conferences during my time in and around local venues.

My most hectic time for press conferences is normally at election time. As we are so close to Parliament, have a division bell and are used to dealing with high profile, short notice press conferences on all things government, we tend to be very popular for these short bookings. BUT MPs would never put in a request for gummy bears.

In twitter lingo, the #2012LMC press conferences have been a bit different from government related press conferences.  Our two purpose built theatres have been permanently prepared for press conferences with the required links to the whole world provided by NorthOne and Ether Live. Our on-site team of technicians worked closely throughout with the LMC Press Desk to ensure that presentations were formatted correctly and ready by the required time. Both the Telford and Godfrey Mitchell theatres have therefore been kept in a permanent state of readiness allowing them to be brought into use at a moment’s notice. Just as well as there were so many tight turnarounds particularly towards the end of the Games when it reached a crescendo with 10 press conferences on the last Thursday alone.

The high profile VIPs I can recall off the top of my head in recent weeks were made up of a mixture from the sports and culinary worlds including Lennox Lewis, Michael Phelps, Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal,  Marcus Wareing from the Berkeley, Paula Radcliffe and many more.  The list is too long to mention. Boris has been in and out of OGGSVenue that many times that I have lost count and barely noticed when I passed by Brasserie One and heard he was just munching away on Chef’s lunch of fish lasagne. I think and hope he really likes it here and his style was certainly very entertaining during the press conferences. We’ll always be more than happy to look after his bike in the usual way.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite recent press conference photos taken at the LMC.

Jamie Oliver with Square Meal at the 2012 London Media Centre

Jamie being interviewed by Ben McCormack from SquareMeal

The Magic Numbers with Visit Britain at the 2012 London Media CentreHeston at the 2012 London Media Centre


Heston demonstrating his culinary artistic or mad scientist skills with nitrogen cylinders and test tubes?

The Telford Theatre filling up and ready for
Jamie’s arrival via our discreet secret entrance for VIPs
2012 London Media Centre inside the Great Hall Jamie Oliver set-up inside the 2012 London Media Centre

The LMC reopens for the Paralympic Games and OGGS gets tidied  and ready to reopen for normal Westminster conferences and events on Monday, 17th September 2012.

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