Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest person in the world (or in Cumbria, at least!). What other line of work involves travelling to incredibly beautiful places, working with wonderful people who truly appreciate what you do, and cooking with the finest ingredients? And I’m trusted to use my creativity and passion in whatever way I see fit. Close collaboration with clients results in specially tailored menus that consider tastes and dietary needs, with added flair!
From July to October you’ll find me in the wilds of the Scottish highlands catering for fishing and shooting parties. These hardy groups are prepared for the unpredictable weather. They have all the gear, focus and drive while I provide the sustenance. Catering for active groups like these requires a different mindset to the everyday dinner party; carefully thought out menus are vital to ensuring that my clients have the requisite energy for their outdoor endeavours. When they eventually get back to base (and dried off!) they crave seriously luxurious fare along with a tot or two of something medicinal.
So, with this in mind I pack my wellies and my kit and head north.
Once there, I settle into my (pretty spectacular!) lodgings and acquaint myself with the kitchen.
On occasion, I’m presented with a basket of fresh and tasty home grown produce (and recently a bulging basket of foraged chanterelle mushrooms). You’ve no idea how happy this makes me! Local produce is superior in every shape and form, take my word for it. To be able to incorporate these delicious ingredients into my meals is such a thrill.
What’s a typical day like? Let me tell you.
As the old saying goes, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.” But in my case, the opposite applies. We eat like kings all the day through and my clients wouldn’t have it any other way. Crisp fresh air combined with a long day stomping through forests and fields builds an appetite like you wouldn’t believe! So, starting the day with a full breakfast is a prerequisite. Every morning begins with hot, fresh-ground coffee and strong tea, accompanied by juicy sausage, crispy bacon, fresh, local egg, tomato and mushrooms. Those who hanker for something lighter can start the day with fresh fruit and granola.
For obvious reasons, coming back to base for lunch would prove quite the trek. The solution? A good old packed lunch! No floppy ham sandwiches and bruised apples for my clients; instead they enjoy pastries packed with a mix of warming fillings – cheese, sausage, brisket, etc. For a sweet treat I’ll prepare transportable oatey tray bakes that will give a quick boost of energy. Flasks of hot drinks to wash it all down and the group is ready to return to work!
A feast for the senses, the eyes and the soul. That’s what a good evening meal should be, wouldn’t you agree? Following a long, tiring day in the elements, all my clients want is to gather around the table and relax over a hot three-course meal. The wine and whisky will flow (of course!) and the chat will be convivial.
I’ll have been in the kitchen all day, elbows-deep in the best local ingredients, roasting joints of beef and game, preparing rabbit and fish, and filling the house with heavenly aromas.
Soon, the table will be laden with roast joints, a fish dish (most likely caught and prepared that same day), pheasant and chestnut casserole with a delicious port and redcurrant sauce and dishes of vegetables dripping in butter paired with fluffy mash and crispy roast potatoes.
Those with the space for some sweet treats will savour sticky toffee pudding, chocolate amaretto mousse, panna cotta and cointreau and pears poached in vermouth. A divine end to a long, hard day!
I hope this ‘day in the life’ paints a yummy picture of what you can expect as a Culinary Occasions customer! If you’d like to discuss a catered event then please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or giving me a call on 0786 398 3446.