When it comes to hospitality events, the attention to detail can often define the success. Food is always a big consideration and for this reason, we take food VERY seriously at Solent Events and ensure that the quality is always the best it can be whilst trying to ensure that the menus are interesting and innovative.
Our yacht caterers come and see us every winter for detailed feedback on the past season and present new recipes and ideas to further enhance the various options we offer on a wide range of charters. The date of the annual pres-season tasting is entered into the office shared diary and strangely enough we always tend to have a full complement of staff in the office around lunchtime on that day with meetings and holiday leave strategically positioned!
Why don’t we use normal outside caterers?….. have you sat on a yacht trying to eat couscous in even a light breeze?….. or had a ‘stern look’ from a luxury yacht skipper as you drop a chunk of beetroot on his pristine white or teak deck? Our food onboard has to work for each vessel from the presentation to the practicalities of serving and can differ from one boat to another. Whilst a luxurious gourmet buffet may work well on a powerboat with a large dining table, it doesn’t work so well on a racing yacht which is where our tasty sandwich and savouries lunches come into their own.
Sometimes, a lunch or evening meal ashore is required and if this is the case, we only use tried and trusted partner venues along the South Coast, on the Isle of Wight as well as along the Thames for our London based events. The venues tend to look over the nearby marinas or harbours and the service needs to be immaculate to match the other aspects of our events.
Last week, we had the pleasure of visiting a new supplier near Salisbury who will be providing the shore-side catering for our signature event of the year, Cowes Week. This annual regatta is the largest of its type in the world and attracts up to 800 yachts racing in 40 classes over the course of 8 days (this year’s dates are 6th-13th August 2016). For the past few years, we have offered our guests a quality 2 course BBQ at lunchtime and in the evenings with updated menus each year, but when the Ministry of Food Hampshire came to see us about something different in the autumn, our taste buds were intrigued to say the least.
Lemon & fresh thyme stuffed chicken, roasted on a bed of chorizo & potatoes and served with a lemon & parsley gremolata
The challenge was to come up with something new and exciting that would suit most tastes with a consideration for special diets. We identified the fact that our lunchtime guests would be less active as most would be on spectating charters whilst our evening guests will have come off the water having burnt off calories racing all day racing. The evening meal therefore needed to include carbs and feel more ‘hearty’ with the lunches being a little lighter so as not to see our luxury spectating guests needing a nap in the afternoon or our high speed Rib guest feeling green when they get back out on the water!
Left: Lamb filet with garlic & rosemary served in warm flat bread with ribbons of cucumber, yogurt & mint dressing
Right: Homemade sweet potato falafels with fresh tzatiki
Some of our clients are with us for the full week, so it was important that we vary the menu, but are careful not to waste precious ingredients (we hate to see food go to waste!). The fish used for our pescetarian clients will also appear in our creamy smoked haddock, prawn and fennel fish pie and chicken from the roast dish can be used in the fabulous chicken pie with sweet leeks, pork and sage stuffing.
Vegetarians are just as important to us as the carnivores and the fig, goat’s cheese, walnut & honey puff pastry gallette (in our top featured image) is sure to go down extremely well alongside some ‘super-food’ salads to include a delicious bittersweet blood orange, ricotta, pine nut & pomegranate salad or the roasted beetroot, baby chard & spinach salad with sunflower seeds and maple dressing.
Lemon posset with oaty thyme crunch
There will always be those with a sweet tooth and what better way to round off the meal. We tasted several desserts and in the true style of ‘cake and eat it’ if you excuse the pun, we thought that each guest should be treated to a trio of truly delicious puds! The lemon posset was sublime (the best your author has ever tasted), add a warm puff pastry treacle tart with clotted cream and a salted caramel chocolate brownie to the plate and I think we will have achieved perfection.
Like we say, the food is one of the details, but if all our details are as good as the food then you can appreciate why our clients keep coming back year after year!