Ginger Bread People

Ingredients

• 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 125g/4½oz butter
• 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
• 1 free-range egg
• 4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate

• writing icing
• cake decorations

1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in Clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread people shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

December is Cabbage Month!

The best sticky spiced red cabbage

Ingredients

1 Large red cabbage- Shredded very finely
100g of butter
100g red currant jelly
350 ml red wine
100ml red wine vinegar
1 Crushed cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 Star aniseeds
4 Whole cloves

 

Method

1. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan
2. Add the shredded cabbage and slightly soften in the butter
3. Add the red currant jelly, red wine and red wine vinegar
4. Bring to the boiled, then add the spices
5. Mix well then place a lid on the pan and place in the oven to slowly cook it well take an good hour at 170d
6. Every 15 mins open the oven and mix the cabbage around
7. When nearly cooked place back on to the stove and reduce all the liquid until you have a shiny glossy cabbage
8. This can be made two or three days in advance, the more in advance you make it the better it will taste
9. To reheat the cabbage either place it in a microwave or heat it on top of a stove in a pan with a little butter.

November is all about Apples

Autumn – the season of harvest golden colours, orchard fruits are ready, time to gather and reap the harvest as winter is coming.

Apples are one of the most versatile of fruits, pairing with game, pork, duck, salads and they even make pretty good at desserts! Crumbles, pies, tarts, soufflés, mousses, ice-cream, sorbets, sauces, chutneys and let’s not forget the wonderful refreshing juice they make, which makes that great summertime drink cider and best of all Apple brandy not just for winter.

This fruit makes us happy all year round a fruit for all seasons but reaped in autumn.

There are hundreds of apple varieties from tart, sweet and very sour, there are varieties for baking, sauce making, chutneys, and most importantly buy British.

Wonderful Recipes – Caramel apple butter

Ingredients

  • 1.2kg seasonal apple (cox)
  • 50g unsalted butter, soft
  • 150g dark brown soft sugar
  • 175ml double cream
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  • 1/ preheat oven to 180c Peel and core the apples, place into a large baking dish, place 15g of butter over the apples and bake for 1 ½ hours stirring twice until they are soft a golden brown on top.
  • 2/ Transfer the apples to a blende
  • 3/ Place the sugar into a large solid based pan and add three to four table spoon of water, heat the sugar in the pan until it has dissolved
  • 4/ Turn the heat up heat up until it becomes think and creamy simmer for two minutes, continue to simmer then then add the cream and continue to simmer for further minute, remove from the stove and then add the remaining butter and salt
  • 5/ Stir the sauce and then add to the blender with the apples in and blend to a fine puree
  • 6/Place the mixture into sterilised jars, seal and then store in the for up to 6 days
  • Use on crusty bread or drizzle over pancakes, ice-cream or use as a custard

Cauliflower and sorrel soup

Ingredients serves 6

  • 1 large cauliflower, stalks discarded and the florets chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small peeled potato, chopped
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ltr chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 500ml milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 6 large sorrel leaves, stalks removed and finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of caviar (optional)
  • Salt and milled pepper to taste

Method

  1. Place the cauliflower, potato and onion in a saucepan with the butter, heat gently and low cook without any colour for ten minutes with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Add the stock and bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes. Next add the milk and return to the boil and then simmer for another six to ten minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
  3. Blend the soup and then pass through a very fine sieve before returning to a clean pan. Add the double cream and the seasoning.
  4. Divide the soup between six soup plates and then place a small amount of shredded sorrel in the centre of each soup plate. If using, place a teaspoon of caviar on top.

NB This soup can be served chilled

Poached asparagus with pea puree and soft boiled quails eggs with hollandaise sauce

For four

  • 20 medium asparagus (five per portion)
  • 6 Quails eggs (coked for 2 ½ minutes)
  • 100g of peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 100 ml double cream
  • Salt / pepper
  • 1 recipe of hollandaise sauce
  • 1 Punnet of peas shoots

Method

  1. Prepare the asparagus by cutting the stalky part from the bottom, about 1 ½ inches should be enough, peel if needed,
  2. Cook the quail’s eggs for 2 ½ minutes and then refresh in ice cold water and then remove the shell

To make hollandaise

  • 3 egg yolks (lion brand)
  • 4 tablespoons of hot water
  • 150g of clarified butter
  •  (to make clarified butter leave 225g of butter in a very warm place so it melts and separates the water milky liquid, remove the clear butter oil for the hollandaise)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  1. Place the egg yolks into a round sided bowl, add the hot water and start whisking until you achieve a very light sabayon three the volume of the egg yolk
  2. Slowly start to incorporate the warm/ hot butter into the sabayon mixture
  3. Add the juice of lemon to taste, season with the salt and cayenne pepper
  4. Place the finished sauce in a warm place ready for use

 

To make the pea puree

  1. Place the peas into minted boiling water for two minutes to cook, longer if using fresh and then drain, place back into the pan and add the double cream with the mint leaves, cook the cream until it reduces by one third, then place the mixture into a blender and blend to make a fine smooth puree. Remove from the blender and keep warm
  2. Take a suitable size pan and fill with water and bring to the boil with a little salt, Place the asparagus into it and cook for about 2 minutes until just tender,
  3. Remove from the pan and divide the asparagus into 4 portions, spoon a table spoon of the pea puree onto four warm plates, as you place the puree onto the Plate drag the puree across the plate so you end up with a teardrop shape
  4. Place the asparagus into the middle of the tear drop, length ways,
  5. Add the peeled quail’s eggs to the hot water that you cooked the asparagus in to reheat, remove from the water and cut in half, you should have 12 halves.
  6. Place the quails on top of the asparagus 3 per portion
  7. Drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the asparagus and quails egg, finish by placing an few pea shoots on top and then serve

 

Fillet of new season lamb with a warm crab tart glazed in a light curry sabayon

The sweet crab works so well with the lamb alongside the perfumed basil jus whist the curry sabayon bring the dish together

  • 2 best ends of lamb (Bones, fat removed keep the bones)
  • 100g fresh white crab meat
  • 4 small 4cm tartlet cases using short crust pastry
  • Olive oil
  • 12 basil leaves

For the Curry Sabayon

  • ¼ teaspoon of madras curry powder plus 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 table spoon’s water
  • 80g warm unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons of whipping cream lightly whipped
  • Pinch of salt and cayenne pepper
  • A few drops of lemon juice

To make the Sabayon

  1. Over a gentle heat cook the curry powder in the butter for a two minutes
  2. Scrap the paste into a round sided bowl and place the water and egg yolks, whisk until the egg mixture doubles in volume
  3. Place the bowl onto a sauce pan of boiling water, continue to whisk until light a fluffy, slowly add the warm butter, leave the milky water behind in the pan! Season with salt and cayenne pepper, add a few drops of lemon juice to taste fold in the whipped cream and keep warm until use

For the sauce

  • Lamb bones
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 banana shallots sliced
  • 1 Stalk of celery
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 1 peeled clove of garlic
  • 400ml water
  • 75g Cold unsalted butter

 

  1. Chop the bones into 2 cm pieces, place into a suitable size pan with the rest of the ingredients and slowly simmer for 2 hours, topping up with fresh water when the liquid reduces below the vegetable and bones.
  2. Pass the stock through a fine sieve, Place the stock into a clean pan and reduce by half and then whisk in the cold butter whilst still hot, keep warm until needed

 

Cooking the lamb fillet

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180c
  2. Season the lamb fillet with salt and a few turns of ground pepper, sear the lamb fillets all over in a large frying pan in the olive oil, Remove from the pan and place on a roasting tray and drizzling with a little more olive oil over them and place in an oven for 5 to 8 mins and cook,
  3. Meanwhile warm the crab meat up in a little butter and place into the tart cases, you can add a little Dijon mustard and lemon juice if you require or leave plain, spoon the crab mix between the tarts
  4. Spoon over the curry sabayon and glaze under a hot grill or place into a hot oven to glaze
  5. Once the lamb is cooked rest for 10 minutes in a warm place
  6. Warm the serving plates
  7. Cut the lamb into six equal rondels per best end
  8. Place the sauce back onto the heats as it starts to come to a simmer ripe the basil leaves in half and add to the sauce
  9. Place the tart on the plate, and then the rondels of lamb 3 per portion and then spoon over the light basil lamb jus
  10. NB serve your favourite spring vegetable to accompany the dish such as broad beans

 

 

Cavalier’s Recipe of the Month – Tartiflette

As we are in skiing season, I thought I’d share one of my favourite dishes – the classic French dish of tartiflette. It is a fantastic winter warmer, although it can be enjoyed at any time of year. I like to add one or two extras to give the dish some more textures and some acidity to slightly reduce its richness.

David Cavalier

 

Ingredients

  • 1kg of waxy potatoes (Charlotte, Desire)
  • 250g bacon lardons (or pancetta is even better)
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 100ml white wine
  • 80g chorizo raw sausage
  • 3 large sweet dill pickled gherkins (sliced length ways)
  • 250ml double cream
  • Salt & freshly milled black pepper
  • 450g Reblochon cheese

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200C
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes to about 3-4ml thick. Boil in salted water until just tender
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. Chop the shallots
  5. Heat a frying pan, add the bacon and slowly start to fry in its own fat. Add the sausage and shallots, slowly cook until they just start to caramelise, then add the white wine and reduce until mixture is completely reduced
  6. Slice the cheese
  7. Lay the potatoes, cheese, gherkins, bacon sausage and shallot mixture into an ovenproof dish, finishing it off with a layer of cheese
  8. Season the cream with lots of milled pepper and a pinch of salt (remember you have a high salt content in the bacon) and then pour the cream over the potatoes
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until hot and bubbling
  10. Serve with a chilled Savoie wine with a dash of cassis.

What is a Contract Caterer?

Contract caterer:

Since globalisation began, the ways that people think about business have been changing constantly. Organisations were required to go through major strategic changes to adjust to the volatile business world. Over the years, the service industry has had to modify services to enhance efficiency, improve business profitability, customer experience and remain competitive. The idea of outsourcing generated from there. Organisations shifted their focus to outsourcing their services to third parties, in order to improve quality by adding more expert knowledge to it. Contract caterers are catering experts who not only provide catering services, but also have the ability to tailor their services to the needs and demands of each customer.

People define the term ‘contract caterer’ differently, but the main theme of contract catering has remained similar. The basic definition of a contract caterer, is a company that is hired by an organisation to provide catering services according to pre-set terms and conditions. This definition is a traditional one that might have been suitable for all contract caterers several years ago, however modern contract catering is no longer just limited to offering catering services.

Since the 2nd millennium, contract catering has become more complex and diverse due to the dynamic nature of customer demand and increased competition. Large contract caterers have been seen to acquire small/medium organisations and move from providing back-of-house catering to front-of-house services, as well as even providing cleaning and maintenance services in required circumstances. As food is a basic human need the demand for it will never run out; therefore unsurprisingly more and more organisations are entering this industry every day. Many of which may get acquired by an existing player, or become extinct due to strategic failure. The fact is that very few new companies in the industry survive, but the ones that do need devotion, skill, hard work, dedication, efficient management and the ability to be responsive to external changes.

Kudos – we bring the know how

Central Hall: the catering service provider in Heart of London

No matter if it’s a regular business day or a busy PiXL; the KUDOS catering team always delivers a quality service with a smile. As an external service provider, KUDOS is monitored at all times, but that’s not the reason we provide such a great food experience to our clients. We do it because we care; because we have passion, experience and are experts in this industry. We have built strong emotional bonds with our clients to enhance the quality of service, but our emotion is never considered an issue to maintaining our professionalism. All of our staff reflect KUDOS’ main value; the customer is our top priority, and we sincerely look after our staff by every means possible. In return we achieve staff loyalty and commitment. Unlike most of our venues, we operate three different departments; catering, pottering and cleaning services. Despite our complex working processes and large number of employees, we manage the three departments successfully through good leadership and a one-team approach strategy.

We train our staff on a regular basis in customer service, food safety, first aid and many other short courses to give them the confidence to deal with any kind situation; making the best decision possible in a variety of circumstances. As life goes on, we all go through difficult times in our personal lives, but KUDOS management do their best to make sure nothing interrupts our regular service by keeping staff motivated and able to perform their duties when possible in any situation.

KUDOS’ dedication and hard work never gets lost. We’re often rewarded through positive customer comments and appreciation from senior management when financial and non-financial targets and KPI’s are met. Through the excellent service provided, our KUDOS cafe achieved the award of Best Cafe in Central London by Group Travel and Trip Advisor. Every year our team get admired by our client (Business Centre, Central Hall) who monitor our performances. Although we do it because we love our profession and we love to make our customers happy, winning Venue of the Year in the 2016 ‘K Awards’ is definitely something motivating and hopeful to look forward to.

Finally, as a contract caterer, we provide tailored services depending on each customer’s choice, and we try our level best to arrange the service in the way they’d like. Of course, we collect feedback after every event and evaluate our performance, which helps identify our strengths and areas to improve on. We can then take the necessary steps to move forward and meet the challenges of the future.

Gareth Wilson – General Manager

Saving money and improving efficiency!

Dan Loader (Head Chef, Brighton Centre) recommended a new cost effective local supplier (Cavalier of Sussex) to Procurement which KUDOS now uses. Dan received £50 for his money saving idea.    

Dan found a local supplier that was offering him some very good pricing along with 24 hour delivery. He held meetings with them and then passed it over to procurement, where they negotiated the whole basket of items and put into place a service level agreement for them to perform to.

The supplier now gives Dan a saving on his basket of products and delivers to him within 24 hours. This money saving idea was really beneficial with savings and delivery efficiency whilst increasing our local supply chain.

 

Al fresco in the City!

There is no better place to develop relationships with clients or teams than in the beautiful outdoors! Imagine a temperate climate filled with the smell of grilled foods, glasses overflowing with chilled cocktails or mocktails, light music and laughter in the background. How about a Mexican or Caribbean themed event? Or a true Texas style BBQ? The ideas are limitless, but what you need first is a lovely private outdoor garden. We are fortunate to have venues in the UK that offer private outdoor areas or gardens. Just take a look at Gibson Hall, Winchester Cathedral or Jephson’s in Royal Leamington Spa!

Tanya Riding

Fabulous al fresco ideas

Outdoor weddings are really what dreams are made of – a relaxed ceremony under a large oak tree, an aisle of fresh flower petals on the grass, the sounds of a calm river trickling in the background and the sun beaming down on your glorious day – but come on, this is the UK we’re talking about! 

I always advise creating a plan B when organising an outdoor wedding. Research marquees and gather basic costs. If your budget is tight, it doesn’t need to be an all-singing, all-dancing marquee. Look for companies offering stretch tents which are much more cost effective and actually very on-trend. We recently had a fabulous wedding in Winchester Cathedral’s grounds using similar tents and the final outcome was striking. 

Think of your guests who have been eagerly waiting for you to arrive. Invest in blankets for all guests to wrap themselves up in if the wind starts to blow. It’s practical and will actually make for really sweet photographs. 

Catering is key – picnic baskets are a non-conformist alternative to the seated three course wedding breakfast, and you could always reuse the blankets for the picnic you provide for the ceremony!

Be creative with the drinks reception too – think colourful, striped straws, reused milk bottles for cocktails and a “build your own” interactive Pimm’s station is always fun!

Jennifer Hughes

 

KUDOS ‘knows’… summer parties

Yes ‘tis true, the summer is almost upon us. The air is warming, the flowers are in bloom, and glasses of Pimm’s are overflowing! No doubt you are beginning to think about summer BBQs and parties for your firm, so instead of standing around the office water cooler comparing daily wins, how about standing around a fire pit roasting marshmallows while sipping on a glass of Pimm’s? If you work or live near Winchester (or it’s just a one hour train journey from London Waterloo), you should have a good look at the summer party package our team is offering at the majestic and iconic Winchester Cathedral. We have a summer grill BBQ and Pimm’s package available, incorporating complimentary garden games or a fabulous fire pit.

This and many other excellent deals await, so contact our wonderful team before May 31 at winchestercathedral@kudosknowhow.co.uk

 Tanya Riding

 

Catering venues deliver spot on service

Our catering venues have a lot to be proud about, but our greatest source of pride is our team members and we believe in investing in them throughout their career.  The benefit to you is that you will receive high levels of customer service and commitment within your venue. Your internal customers will be thrilled with the variety in displays and menus as well as pleasant customer service focused staff. We benefit from motivated employees who bring creativity to the plate and want to develop their careers with us in the long-term.

We provide development opportunities for our team members via our School of Know How, allowing them to grow within their chosen fields. Each year we bring in a new apprentice to gain valuable hands-on experience which allows them to broaden their horizons. Team members who exhibit professionalism and talent are offered the opportunity to grow and develop within the ranks. Culinary leaders even have the ability to train at Daniel Clifford’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Midsummer House, and take their knowledge back with them into their specific venue.

Our employees are also motivated to offer ideas within their venues as they can really impact success within the workplace. As KUDOS is privately owned, ideas can be implemented more quickly as we lack the many levels of corporate structure some other caterers have that may hamper creativity.  You will agree that employees who feel their ideas are taken seriously are more likely to be happier in the workplace as well as more productive  and positive.

A large number of our senior management team have grown up through the ranks at KUDOS having gained the benefits of career development within our company. Nicky Pratt, who is currently our Managing Director at Gibson Hall and Kudos Delivered, is just one prime example of KUDOS’ excellence. She has been with us for 12 years and held a number of roles and she also heads up sales and customer service training with our sites.

Our commitment to training and development was obviously a key factor in why we have won consecutive awards such as M&IT’s Best Conference & Banqueting Staff.

 

Tanya Riding

Corporate catering firm KUDOS and alternative solutions

The fact that we are a 100% British, independently owned firm pleases many of our clients for several reasons. Why? First, although we hold all the accreditations and awards (if not more) that several other corporate catering companies have, we can offer flexibility in purchasing and creating innovation. For example, our chefs hold all the procurement power to source fantastic seasonal ingredients without the corporate “red tape” and supply chain restrictions. We can help you in trialling new concepts or how about promoting a local product to build engagement within your population? Plus, isn’t it nice to have a catering partner who can make decisions locally and in a timely manner?

Secondly, providing a tailor-made service for our partners is what we live for and achieve day in, day out. Our personal approach is something our clients love. It has proven to be the key to our success for the past 26 years. Our independent business style is one that is rare in today’s catering market, but something that makes us award-winning industry leaders. 

Thirdly, through a partnership with us you will have a caterer you can trust who brings an accolade of skills and resources in order to successfully grow your business and align with your objectives. We believe that understanding the needs and wants of your diverse on-site demographic is fundamental for success.

Contact us today to learn how we can assist in making your objectives a reality!

Tanya Riding

Kudos to KUDOS for festive Christmas parties

While it may only be April, it is not too early to think about where you should host your work Christmas party this year. Our creative forces at Winchester Cathedral, the Royal Pump Rooms and Jephson’s (in Leamington Spa) are already putting together Christmas packages for December!
Work within a small company but still want to host a festive party for your employees or clients? Not to worry, we have created ‘Joiner parties’ in which several companies can share the venue space – what a great way to meet new friends!
Please contact our teams in Winchester and Leamington Spa for further details.

 

Tanya Riding

Who says ethical vegan food isn’t delicious?

KUDOS found that there is an increasing trend towards vegan frozen yoghurt and delicious gluten and wheat-free frozen delicacies that delight the most particular taste buds. Made with fresh organic milk and no artificial sugars or colours, we are serving tempting flavours daily from 8:30am – 4:30pm in Wesley’s Café in Central Hall Westminster, London’s largest conference venue.

Why not come along and tantalize your senses?

Kudos ‘Knows’… A Flitch of Bacon

‘A Flitch of Bacon’ is many things, primarily a side of bacon, which is basically half a pig, cut lengthways.

Also an old tradition whereby married couples who can swear to not having regretted their marriage for a year and a day can be awarded ‘a flitch of bacon’.  Couples nominate themselves for the ‘Flitch Trials’ held in Great Dunmow, Essex, every four years.  The event incorporates a counsel employed to cross examine nominated couples and find out whether they are truly deserving of the award.

Most importantly ‘The Flitch of Bacon’ is the newest venture led by our Creative Director, Daniel Clifford.  The restoration to become a restaurant and pub with rooms is complete and opening tomorrow – Tuesday 1st December 2015.

Daniel’s aim was to create somewhere fantastic to bring his own family, as well as share it with the community around him. Amazing food, wonderful drinks list and, quite handily, all within walking distance of his own home.

www.flitchofbacon.co.uk

Kudos ‘Knows’… Winter

We’ve enjoyed a very mild November but the weather has changed!!

Winter inspires either anticipation or resignation. Some people can’t wait for the snow, curling up by a fire, and the holiday spirit. Other people dislike the frosty mornings and bitter breeze.

Winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs around December 21 or 22.  This is considered the 1st day of Winter however it already feels like that today.
Best option for weather like this is a chunky winter vegetable soup.  Definitely include onions!  They fair well in the autumn and winter especially bright red onion for colour, spring onion for garlic undertones or shallots for a soft sweeter taste.  Try Jerusalem artichokes or swede in place of the parsnips or carrots.
For something completely different, rhubarb is a winter vegetable.  Take advantage of the flavours to make a sweet and sour classic from Asia, pairing rhubarb with okra.  This will definitely brighten up those cold wintery days.

Kudos ‘Knows’… Christmas markets

The Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market brings high quality exhibitors, wonderful Christmas gifts and an abundance of festive foods.  Opening day is this Thursday, 19th November!

Look out for our 3 food stalls – Three Kings Burgers; a best of British, farm-assured and flame-grilled beef burger concept with tasty toppings and chips.

However if you’re not a burger fan, there is also the Bavarian Bratwurst which German fried potatoes and BBQ sausages cooked on a large open griddle or the Porker Blanket menu offering hot pork in buns prepared fresh in front of visitors.

There’s also the ring rink to test your skating skills.  Be one of the anticipated 350,000 visitors, join in the Christmas cheer and fill your tum!

Open every day, 10am-6pm from Sun-Wed and 10am-7.30pm from Thu-Sat.

Kudos ‘Knows’… Diwali

A wealth of traditional goodies means the Indian festival of lights could also be named the festival of sweets.  This is not the time to be mistaking an ‘Indian take-away’ as standard fare.  For those with a sweet tooth, this 5 day festival is most definitely for you!

Indian sweetmeats, also know as ‘mithai’, are a mix of snack, confectionery and dessert.  A treat on their own or can be served accompanying savoury dishes. 

Simple ingredients such as flour, beans, lentils or grains are added to all manner of ground or whole nuts.  Cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios to name a few.  Combined with fragrant tastes or sweet spices, cinnamon or nutmeg, to make a small bite size taste explosion!

 

Kudos ‘Knows’… Pumpkins

Did you know? Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.  Yes, its a fruit.  Contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins.

It is one of the very low calorie fruits that is incorporated into our diets like a vegetable. The pumpkin is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. Pumpkin is powerhouse super food!  Our venue Chef’s recommend Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bruschetta and you can nibble on the Pumpkin Seeds.

Won’t feel like you’re eating a superfood at all, tasty!

Darren Lord

Kudos ‘Knows’… Bonfire night

Remember, remember.  Guy Fawkes night, this Thursday, calls for cosy comfort dishes and easy to make sweet treats so you are free to enjoy the fireworks.  Our Chefs recommend a slow cooked smoked chipotle chilli to come home to with s’mores to follow.  Or try the very traditional cake eaten on Bonfire Night called Parkin Cake; a sticky cake containing a mix of oatmeal, treacle, syrup and ginger.  Proper parkin is a sticky mix of cake and flapjack, not just a gingerbread. It’s fantastic warm with custard as a pudding, perhaps with some poached pears, too.  Sounds delicious!

 

Kudos ‘Knows’… Meeting rooms

Holding and attending meetings are essential for information giving and gathering within business; essential for the growth and expansion of any company.

A meeting room environment is key, it can effectively lead to attracting clients or finalising deals, communicating better with your staff and ultimately help build relationships.

The key factor for getting it right is having choice.  What’s the purpose of the event?  Meeting rooms are wide ranging in flexibility, style, location, capacity and meeting room rental.  As meeting room bookers, some prefer heritage meeting rooms and some contemporary event spaces; always consider your audience and what are you trying to achieve.

Kudos ‘Knows’… Leamington Spa

In 1814, the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths were opened close to the River Leam in Warwickshire.  The new attraction drew many visitors; expecting cures by bathing in pools of salty spa water.  The engineer William Murdoch designed and installed the world’s first gravity fed piped hot water system of modern times.

Then came the granting with a Royal Prefix in 1838 by Queen Victoria, ‘Leamington Priors’ was renamed ‘Royal Leamington Spa’.  The function of the Royal Pump Rooms changed many times since.

Jump 161 years later, the Pump Rooms are now a culture centre with a library, a tourist information centre, a café and the refurbished Assembly Rooms are perfect event spaces for weddings, conference and all types of event.  Whilst you can no longer bathe in the waters, you can definitely still sample them…. I will be trying next time I’m visiting

A day in the life of an operations director

Today will be the day I get everything I set out to do completed…

These are the words I say to myself every morning before I go to work, but for one reason or another I don’t always get to achieve this. Whilst I have been in the industry for 24 years, nothing quite prepares you for that leap from being a GM, regardless of its volumes to a multi-site manager of 10 businesses. All of my businesses are very different, from retail outlets in sports centres to multi million pound conference centres and heritage operations, no two days are ever the same.

Today I started my day as I do on most mornings; by answering any emails on my phone that I didn’t get around to checking yesterday. It’s 6.45am and I’m on the bus heading into central London. Occasionally I will get off the bus and get on the tube as it’s quicker but that depends on the amount of emails I need to action. Today is a ‘bus day’ to give me the time to get back on top.

It’s now 8am and I have arrived at one of my London venues. My first port of call is to speak to the group safety manager to get an appraisal on the previous day’s ISO training in the south and again for the second day’s session. Attendance has been lower than arranged which is disappointing. I then follow this up with the venue manager only to be told of the challenges relating to staff availability. A casual and flexible workforce has many benefits but at times it can be a real hindrance when you have targets to meet on training. The fall out of this is further training days now have to be scheduled to make sure the unit are trained to a standard we expect of our team members.

I now have about half an hour to cram in some more email responses before my 9am meeting with our internal recruitment and staffing manager. Our busiest season is upon us, with strains across the business on manpower to ensure we can adhere to the needs of our clients across our venues. This only happens as a result of the GMs providing forecasts on resources which is the main focus of our meeting. We then discuss training, something I hold dear to my heart. We agree that two of the operational managers in my venues will provide service training to ensure our new employees get a great first impression of our business, that they are trained to do the work we need them to do and that our clients receive a great experience when we deliver our events.

It’s not long before my phone rings and we have received a resignation at one of my sites. It’s a chef supervisor who has been in the business for over two years but wants to move into a role that does not involve standing up all day due to problems with her knee. Unfortunately, in our line of business this happens and on this occasion I don’t have a solution to keep the employee in the business. I then support the GM with completing and approving the necessary documents before further action can take place in our HR department to fill the position.

I look at my watch and its 10am, I’m now meeting our company surveyors and our neighbour surveyors to discuss the party wall agreements being put in place in one of my venues in which a nearby building is being demolished. I did mention that I look after the facilities in this building right? A lot of the time is spent facilitating the meeting and making notes on agreed action to be taken. The meeting concludes and I follow up with the notes being sent to the board so they are up-to-date.

It’s now 11am and for the next hour I spend time with the managing director and retail director, going through our retail P&Ls and plans for the Christmas markets that we are running in London and Winchester. It’s times like these you realise you are lucky to work with such experienced and high calibre individuals and we come out of the meeting feeling positive and happy with our plans. Just got to pull it all together now.

It’s now 12.30 and I’m starving! I love my food which does help considering the job I do and today I’m in luck! The head chef has a spare wrap made from the morning’s delivery business production. Lunch in my line of work doesn’t really exist unless you are lucky enough to be one of the guests eating our delicious food. So for me it’s all about grabbing a bite to eat whilst responding to more emails that vary from approving purchase requests and supporting GMs that have changes at sites and need some direction to planning client meetings.

I then meet up with the managing director again along with the vision master of our business. We spend the next couple of hours preparing for a tender presentation. We have spent a lot of time in the build up to this and today is about running through our presentation and making any changes we feel necessary. We are a great team and are very supportive of each other’s comments and suggestions. We end the session feeling pumped up and proud of our work.

Ping! It’s another one of those diary reminders coming through – monthly P&L account reviews! Next week is the senior management meeting where we present our results and actions to the board. My task is to follow up on the points raised with the GMs on the results we have achieved. By and large I am lucky, the majority of my managers are experienced operators and know their businesses inside out, they give you the answers before you ask but of course as in any walk of life, some need a little more encouragement to give you the information you need. I need to know my stuff to ensure I can pre-empt any questions that may be asked next week!

It’s now almost 4pm so I pack my bag and head off to another of my London venues to attend the wine tasting with my client and our vendor. I love doing this kind of work as it’s great to see our vendors interacting with our clients and my clients getting involved in what we do. All goes well and despite swallowing more wine than intended, I am happy with the results of the agreed new list we are putting into the venue. Before I leave, I go and have a chat with the team. I always make an effort to talk to the team because without them I am nothing. I do value them and I am lucky to have such a hardworking and dedicated team across my patch.

I don’t have an event on this evening so I work on responding to emails until 7pm before getting home just before 9pm. Time for dinner and a chance to see that my beloved Notts County have lost again. Oh well, tomorrow will be the day I get everything I wanted to achieve done….

Over and out!

Kudos ‘Knows’… Secret menus

The secret menu – Across all the different types of dining experiences secret or off menu items are big news and there are websites dedicated to guiding you on what you can get from these secret menus. The largest amount of chatter seems to be about McDonalds but there are plenty of restaurants out there doing it.

Nicky Pratt

Kudos ‘Knows’… Simplicity

Simple food but brilliantly served – We have seen the ongoing passion for burgers, hot dogs, steaks and some of the most simple and homely dishes like macaroon cheese, all of which have been reinvigorated by design and styling to become fantastically popular dishes once again. Just look at the gastro pubs and those run by some of the top chefs in the UK; homey food, beautifully cooked and stylishly presented.

Nicky Pratt

Kudos ‘Knows’… Japanese

Japanese influence – At a recent GM and Chef conference there were a couple of quick menu design challenges set to get the teams thinking quickly. The Japanese influence came up time and time again. For a very different idea, how about a collection of Japanese dumplings on your breakfast menu? A four course bento box or classic salmon teriyaki, rice noodles and shredded vegetables?

Nicky Pratt

Developing a career at KUDOS

I have been working for Kudos catering for six months and am based here at Gibson Hall in Bishopsgate. I work in one section of the company called Kudos Delivered and we cater daily for jobs of various proportions and selections. It could be a small working lunch for 100 people, a buffet selection for just 10 or a canapé offering for 200.

Every day is different from the last as we aim to please our customers, tailoring the food to their requirements. Some requests can be trickier than others, however we always try to succeed in everything we do, ensuring our clients have full confidence in the food we provide.

During my time here, I have been hardworking and dedicated and have recently been rewarded for my efforts with a promotion to junior sous chef. I am hoping that this will help me develop my skill set, both in my cooking ability and the other side of the business which is not seen. This is a side that requires just as much of my time and ability in order for me to succeed; the planning and preparation stages.

I like to be organised in the kitchen, so my first duties are to plan ahead, ensuring that I compile a list of jobs that need to be completed that day, followed by checking that I have adequate stock in place to complete the next day’s preparations. On top of this, we have to complete many forms regarding both cooking and storing foods correctly to keep to our high standards of health, safety and service.

Kudos are also helping me progress in my career and have offered me the opportunity to begin a course supplied by HIT training for the UK. This is a work-based training scheme so it allows me to continue to work alongside trainers who check on my progress and give me tasks to complete. This is then aided by both my head and sous chefs who will help me with my studies by teaching me new techniques and practices for my course.

I am currently studying for an NVQ Level 2 in Food Preparation and Cooking. This is a professional qualification and will help me to improve my skill set and knowledge in the many areas required to run a kitchen, so maybe one day I will be the new head chef!

Almudena Perez 24.08.15

Daniel Clifford talks to us about his role as creative director to caterer Kudos

You may know me from shows such as MasterChef, The Great British Menu, The Professionals and Saturday Kitchen. If not, let me give you a little bit of background info. I spent 12 years of my life training to be a chef in various places around the UK and France and I am now a chef patron at two Michelin-starred restaurant; Midsummer House. You could say my style is modern British cooking mixed with an unmistakably French style. My passion is to reinvent British classics using the finest local produce.

The restaurant is in a beautiful location in Cambridge along the River Cam. The team have become like a family and we’ve been lucky enough to win five AA Rosettes and be voted the 12th best UK restaurant in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2014. (Not to brag or anything…)

I am also set to open my own pub, Flitch of Bacon in the village of Little Dunmow, Essex and Morgan’s Farm in Norton Heath, which will grow produce to supply both Midsummer and Flitch of Bacon.

The farm will also house a delicatessen shop selling homemade produce, a fishery, and a purpose-built venue for 300 and Daniel Clifford’s cookery school which will attract guest chefs and provide a programme of culinary events.

I have worked with caterer Kudos as their creative director for five years now and I enjoy working with them because their passion for exceptional food and service is simply inspiring. For me, the taste is the most important thing. Presentation is vital, but it’s the taste that needs to stimulate the senses.

I also love the fact that we’re both on the same level when it comes to supporting local suppliers and farmers. Food provenance is high on the agenda for both of us.

Michelin Masterclass

As part of a Michelin Masterclass, I work closely with the chefs and front-of-house employees to create new and innovative menus. They receive first-hand experience and training from yours truly by working alongside me in my restaurant; Midsummer House, for a number of days. This gives them a greater insight into ‘Michelin life’ as a chef and the pressures that come with the role. Exciting stuff, right?!

Exclusively by Daniel

In fact, I’m such a big fan of Kudos that I work with them on a new service called ‘Exclusively by Daniel’ for special events organised by the company. I work with the Kudos head chefs to design a bespoke, ‘midsummer-inspired’ menu that gives a wow factor, allows flavours to shine and introduces unexpected contrasts and combinations.

So what sort of meals can you expect, I hear you ask. Well, if you’re a fan of gourmet dishes such as succulent, barbequed, Cumbrian lamb, roast quail and delicious sautéed scallops, then you’ll probably enjoy it thoroughly. And if you’re a veggie, there’s also tons of choices available. From crispy hen’s egg with Jerusalem artichoke to celery and watercress bavarois, there’s something for everyone.

The aim of this is to create a high profile option exclusively available for Kudos events that need that added wow factor! So if you’d love a culinary treat then just sit back, relax and we’ll take care of all the cooking for you.

Over the years, I’ve helped create some amazing menus for the Kudos clients and have worked in some of London’s most iconic venues including the stunning Gibson Hall. We will work with you to design your perfect event.

So if it’s an event with a Michelin-inspired menu in a stunning location you’re after, Kudos are the company for you.

A diary of our GM & Chefs conference August 2015

The meeting began on Monday with everyone saying some brief hellos and telling a few stories of their latest events over a much welcomed and nicely presented breakfast by the Northampton Saints team. We were then split into groups and to break the ice, were given a little quiz which revealed some odd facts about some of the staff! Can you work out which GM has a phobia of carrots?

 

A little introduction by the MD then step up Nicky Pratt, Events & Development, to give us all a look through the reasons for the new fresh and exciting branding that is know being offered up by Kudos, including a new look website! Several debates took place over styles and ideas that we all had to offer, so be sure to check out our twitter account; you should look forward to a more informative and up-to-date social media!

 

After a morning of discussions, all eyes were on Andy Wood, Head Chef of Northampton Saints. Andy showed us how to create and elegantly present some delightful bites for lunch; needless to say it didn’t take long for these to disappear! Well done Andy!

 

Later in the evening, it was finally time to unwind. Heading off for a nice Italian meal in town, Andy decided to change his mind on his meal and snapped up Amy’s! Managing to tuck in a few mouthfuls before she realised someone had taken her dinner!

 

Everyone lightened up with a few stories and this was closely followed by a fun quiz hosted by Marion, who seemed to find pleasure in watching the puzzled faces of all!
Congratulations to the winners and I wish Mark all the best in his recovery, who had to rush off to the doctors after severe back pain from carrying his team through to the win!

 

Everyone was up early and back in place for day two, although a few faces were lacking a little colour from the night before. After a small test from the MD to ensure we were all listening the previous day, the ever energetic Josh Beth, Retail Director, set us off with his ideas and initiatives. After some fun, yet challenging workshops it was clear we were all on the same wavelength and keen to push the creative ideas through into our units and help push Kudos above and beyond the current high standards!

 

Where would a meeting go without our very own Chuckle Brothers, Darren Lord and Kevin Millar (Kudos Ops Directors) however they soon sapped the fun out with some serious talk; facts, figures and paperwork! However, we wouldn’t win the awards we have without their keen eye for detail.

 

The meeting was drawn to a close on the second afternoon after a small reward to “class clown” Head Chef Bradley from Winchester. With everyone heading off on their journeys back around the country the overall feeling from the team was a success, friendships made and ideas shared. We look forward to seeing the benefits over the coming months!

Richard Webb 11/08/2015

Hidden Munch of Europe

It’s hard work travelling around Europe eating buff munch.

In order to bring you the hidden treasures of Europe we all have to make certain sacrifices.

Europe is awesome, it has all the things I take pleasure in; spectacular scenery, friendly characterful locals, wicked roads, balmy evenings and, above all, blockbuster buff munch.

When traversing across the continent my greatest food finds have been where I have researched the regions, checked TripAdvisor and made a booking in advance. I find the more rural, the more haphazard the website, the better their munch.

This blog post is a brief, affable and noteworthy endorsement of what is what in central Europe (or at least the countries I visited)! I am going to work north to south so here it goes…

Region:                 Ardennes Forest

Country:              France / Belgium border

Big Hitter:            Pâté | The best varieties are a mixture of pork, beef, cognac and forest herbs.

 

Region:                 Black Forest

Country:              Germany

Big Hitter:            Lamb’s liver & onions | My preference is when the liver is cooked pink, served with crispy fried onions.

 

Region:                 Grossglockner

Country:              Austria

Big Hitter:            Apple cake | Many different variations exist, all of them are best served with single cream.

 

Region:                 Obwalden

Country:              Switzerland

Big Hitter:            Raclette | The mountains are alive with the scent of molten cheese – best served with potatoes and meats.

 

Region:                 White Carniola

Country:              Slovenia

Big Hitter:            Sebreljski Zelodec | Specialist pork and beef product, matured between two wooden boards.

 

Region:                 Côte d’Azur

Country:              France

Big Hitter:            Bouillabaisse | The king of regional cooking – a flavoursome, deep and very rich fish stew.

 

Region:                 Piemonte

Country:              Italy

Big Hitter:            Brasato al Barolo | Prized local cattle make this dish, along with a fine wine – best served with polenta.

 

Region:                 Tuscany

Country:              Italy

Big Hitter:            Panzanella | A light, tangy bread salad – made using the finest tomatoes and peppers from the region.

 

Josh Beth 06/08/2015

Christmas parties are coming

I know that it is a particularly depressing thought when we are all really enjoying this great summer sunshine, but we are seeing across the country a strong Christmas party season, stronger than last year.

We have found across our hospitality and catering businesses, corporate companies are booking earlier and are more confident that the events with happen. Christmas parties have always reflected the economic environment and sadly it is one of the first things to be pulled, even though in harsher economic times it is quite often when the staff work hardest, and you could say most deserve that recognition and reward.

However, there is some confidence back and we have found this right across the country. We have seen Christmas bookings coming in earlier from Manchester to London and Leamington Spa to Winchester.

The Christmas party package, with one per head price, will for ever be popular, making it easy to buy and easy to budget, however, we have seen a move to tailoring and individualising these packages. This has included offering unique entertainment, bespoke catering ideas and heavily themed parties.

However, budget still appears to be king and so it is important that companies are getting a lot of ‘wow’ for their buck. I really think companies should consider moving away from the formal three course meals and going more informal, as some said to me today, the drinks and the dancing are the most important parts! With a standing event, companies can afford to go to a more impressive venue, the food displays and service can add an extra design element to the event, everyone gets more choice of food and there might be money spare for extra entertainment – plus a standing event saves the job of the dreaded table plan!

So my advice to any to any potential Christmas party booker is to start thinking about it now to get the best venues and dates!!

The Life of a KUDOS GM

As a General Manager that has worked with Kudos for over 7 years, I have had the pleasure of working with some superb venues across the country, from Winchester to Harrogate and from Warwickshire to Lancashire.

The company values of people, passion and partnership are echoed across Crown Partnership, even after over 40 years of trading. No two days are ever the same in Kudos, which always keeps things interesting!

I currently have the pleasure of touring our fantastic sites and managing events in locations all across the country. I also assist our award-winning conference and banqueting teams in executing some of the most prestigious events with the most exquisite catering – the most recent being The RAF Museum, Cosford Air Show.
Kudos catered for over 60,000 guests in just one day, producing a huge array of retail based catering offerings in a number of locations across the extensive complex. The teams executed the event perfectly and pulled resources in from all across the country to work on this exciting event together as one dynamic Kudos team.
When I am not touring the country assisting my colleagues, I look after three fantastic events venues in the Midlands – The Royal Pump Rooms, Jephson’s & Northampton Rugby Football Club. All three are such a contrast and offer some really exciting spaces to hire.

The Royal Pump Rooms is a two hundred year old building that houses a café and exquisite ball room, and is the perfect space for awards dinners. We have the pleasure of welcoming back the Leamington Business Awards for their second year in October and the venue attracts plenty of high profile events. Kudos also operates Jephson’s, a modern café paradise, located next to the River Leam which is also an exclusive wedding venue!

Northampton Rugby Football Club is a prestigious venue that can cater for crowds of up to 13,500 on match days. Kudos also manages plenty of exciting events such as the Players’ Awards Dinner that took place in May, catering for just shy of 1,000 guests in a marquee that was erected on the pitch!