Gas Vs Charcoal

Grilling

It is an age-old debate as to whether Charcoal or Gas Barbecue is best for your catering event. We hope to solve this conundrum once and for all!

When catering for BBQ’s, our aim is always to provide great food, efficient service and value for money. There are many factors to consider and the equipment that we use can make or break an event. Here are the reasons why:

Taste

The die-hard barbecue fanatics out there insist coal fired BBQ tastes better and creates for succulent meat. In 2015, we tested this theory and used a gas barbecue and charcoal fired barbecue with wood chips. To our surprise only 6 out of the 30 guests tasted a difference. We feel the reason is because the length of cooking time of 3-10 minutes is not long enough to produce the distinctive smokey flavor unlike a smoker that requires 1-8 hours cooking time.

Speed of cooking

A typical evening corporate BBQ event starts around 6.30pm finishing at 10pm. From our experience, assuming food service starts at 6.30pm, approximately 80% guests would have eaten by 8pm. With guest numbers typically between 50-300 it is very important that we can feed the guests quickly. We also need the temperature of the grills to be controllable and consistent. We use Cinders gas barbecues – the best in the market. These have adjustable zones that allow for different temperature settings and this helps with controlling the speed of service.

Efficiency

Gas BBQ’s takes around 5 minutes to set up and fire up to temperature compared to charcoal which can take over 40-60 minutes to get to temperature. This is particularly important when timings change during an event or longer events. Gas Barbecues are more reliable in adverse weather conditions and can be switched on and off very quickly. Gas BBQ are also cheaper to run compared to coal. The predictability of heat source also allows for a more consistent end-product.

Smoke

Charcoal creates more smoke during the set up and throughout the event. Whilst it creates an authentic atmosphere. However, the downside is that the smell of smoke sticks to clothes and to neighbours laundry more so than gas.

Our conclusion: Gas barbecue is the clear winner for caterers. They are easy to operate and mitigates against many risks that can spoil an important corporate or private event and, in our view very little or no difference in the taste compared to charcoal.

Your Summer BBQ Checklist

bbqPlanning a BBQ event can be both time consuming and incredibly stressful. There are a lot people to please including management, colleagues and clients. So the last thing you want is to forget something or for your BBQ to not live up to your expectations. To ensure your BBQ is a success we want to give away some useful tips all compiled into a very handy checklist to make your life much easier. We promise that this is the only summer BBQ checklist you will ever need.

8-10 weeks in advance

Before you can even begin to start ticking things off your checklist you must first decide who is responsible for which tasks . Be clear about responsibilities and set clear deadlines for the  tasks to be completed.

Now that you’ve delegated all of the tasks you need to decide on the objectives of your BBQ event. Identify the best date and time to attract the desired amount of guests. It’s also important that you estimate the number of guests so then you can decide whether or not a  Set admission charge would be appropriate . Once the amount of guests has been decided you can then calculate the budget for the whole event.

The location of your BBQ is imperative to whether or not your guests will be able to attend. Make sure your BBQ is located in a convenient and legal location. For instance if it is at an external venue or local park – make sure you enquire and secure the venue or location as early as possible to avoid disappointment as well as obtain any permits from the local government if necessary. When booking your venue make sure you’re clear about the capacity, logistics of the venue, disability access,facilities provided and seating arrangements. Other additional extras for your venue to have could be guest cloak rooms, coat rails and coat hangers.

On your BBQ invitations illustrate the benefits to your guests for attending and make confirmation of attendance easy. Perhaps send invites and reminders at least two weeks before your event is scheduled. Also, consider telephoning guests you really want to attend and  ensure you have name cards/holders in place.

Now that all of the logistics are sorted out you should contact your BBQ caterer to discuss the menu that will best fit your BBQ party. Ensure that you let your BBQ caterer know of  any other requirements such as drinks, staffing, equipment, furniture, heat lamps, poseur tables and marquees as they may be able to help.

Have you considered a theme of your BBQ? The most successful themed events are well researched in terms of purpose, decorations and feasability. To make your BBQ extra comfortable for your guests why not hire hay bales, picnic blankets, bean bags or deck chairs?

Think about other services you may require for example: photographers, DJ’s, AV equipment, lighting/power, transportation, accommodation, external toilets, security, staging, florists, clown, magicians, face painters, photo booths, ice cream carts, sweet carts, chocolate fountains, candy floss carts and marquees.  As well as these services consider entertaining your guests with some fun outdoor games. Get into to the relaxed party mood and create some fun games that everyone can get involved in. For example, garden chess,croquet, skittles, mini bowls, swing tennis, and even a bouncy castle if your budget permits it!

5-6 weeks in advance

Make enquiries to all suppliers and gather costings. Ensure confirmation for both supplier and BBQ caterer bookings.

Organise site visits and discuss how best to use the event space in terms of what the most suitable set-up is as well as how catering will be delivered on the day.

Write a checklist for all the things required on the day.

2-3 weeks in advance

Write speeches (if you are planning on having any) and always decide on a plan B if guest speaker or main speaker cannot attend on the day due to any unforseen circumstances.
Send confirmation to attendees with site maps and check on any special dietary requirements they might have then relay these to your BBQ caterer.

Ensure fire safety and health and safety checks are done.

Allocate staff and their tasks on the day of the event.

Re-confirm everything is in order with all suppliers and BBQ caterer.

Write your event brief, with tasks and timings for all staff, suppliers and caterers on the day.

Ensure that any team leaders are fully briefed.

1 week in advance

Check you have first aid kits, emergency stationary such as sellotape, scissors, extension leads, string on hand and in place for your BBQ.

Make sure you have all the props for games.

Organise name cards.

1 day in advance

Do one last final confirmation and email to attendees to let them know that you are looking forward to their attendance.

Set up all decorations, games, tables, chairs, seating cards at the venue.

Final checklist check.

On the day

Brief all staff and suppliers on the day and be clear what is required – their positioning, dress code and delegated tasks.

Allow yourself plenty of time to set up before greeting your guests and importantly enjoy the day!

Post event

Evaluate the success of the event against the objectives set at the beginning.

Send a thank you note to attendees and note to non-attendees.

Solving the challenges of organising office catering in London

There is a myriad of challenges customers face daily when ordering client and staff catering in London. Everyone desires to partner with a corporate caterer that is reliable, adds value to your organisation and provides a high-quality service. In this article, we are going to address some of the main challenges clients face and how Maven Foods help solve them.

Special dietary requirements

Dietary requirements are probably the most regular topic of discussion when it comes to corporate catering. All hosts want to ensure that guests with special requirements such as gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, dairy-free etc. are not left out and are well catered for.

Maven Foods ensure everyone is spoilt for choice. When placing your order, you simply need to state how many guests and which dietary requirements are required. We will ensure that the main menu is adapted to suit all guests or – in most cases provide a special meal served separately. All our tailored meals are just as appetizing as our standard menus!

Variation of menus

No one wants to eat the same thing all the time. This is especially frustrating for the companies who order catering on a regular or daily basis and staff, guests and clients have become bored and unexcited about the delivered catering.

Maven Foods work closely with customers to ensure they get variety with every order. We have an unrivalled choice of breads, wraps, rolls as well as sandwich fillings, fresh salads, savoury finger food and desserts. However, we do not publish all the food that is on offer otherwise our website will look like an encyclopedia – so just ask if there’s something you would like that isn’t on the menu! For regular clients, we frequently rotate food items, add new ones and change to seasonal products to ensure the food is ALWAYS fresh, ALWAYS tasty, ALWAYS exciting and ALWAYS different so that your guests leave very satisfied and wanting to come back again!

Efficiency of ordering, reliability and on time deliveries

You’re busy and have a lot of balls to juggle when it comes to hosting a corporate event. So, understandably, when ordering corporate catering, you want the process to be easy, fast and hassle free.  You also want efficient response times and confirmations of orders and deliveries to be on time.

Maven Foods understand fully that efficiency and reliability is a crucial factor to maintain a long-term relationship. When you send a request for next day delivery, in almost all cases we will respond well within an hour. We won’t leave you waiting. You also don’t need to complete online forms – just send an email and we will take care of the rest, leaving you to get on with the rest of the day.

Delivering your food on time is an absolute priority to us. London tube strikes, road closures, road works and accidents permitting – we are very rarely late. But on the rare occasion we are behind schedule to deliver by a specified time, we will always telephone you to give you an estimated time of arrival to put your mind at rest.

Consistency

Customers often complain that their previous caterer’s quality of the food was inconsistent. One day it is amazing and the next it’s not so good. Other times, part of their order is missing or quantity is not consistent. Salads look tired and limp and generally unexciting or appetizing.

Maven Foods set themselves apart from the leading caterers because our products are consistently well presented and ALWAYS fresh on delivery. Consistency of products and presentation is very important to us. We make most things, especially sandwiches on the morning of delivery, salads are prepared just prior to delivery, dressings are served separately and food is delivered in our temperature controlled vans to ensure food quality and safety. So, no more hard or stale bread and no more bland, limp salads!

Last minute orders

You are informed late in the day that one of your meetings tomorrow requires catering or you require last minute adjustments to an existing order. Providing requests are made the day before and not just before we set off for delivery, in most cases we are usually able to accommodate.

Catering for important guests or special occasions

Lunch catering is generally straightforward but there are times when you require something special for a long-standing client, special occasion, important board meeting or potential new client.

Maven Foods have a lot of choice on our standard menus, from simple sandwich lunches and finger buffets to cold fork buffets. But if there is something that is not on our menu or you are working to a specific budget, simply let us know and we will happily create a bespoke menu for you. As mentioned earlier, we have too much choice to include in our standard menus – so offering something different and more premium is not a problem at all.

Unconventional Catering Ideas For Your Wedding

Weddings aren’t just for traditionalists anymore – you don’t have to have to have a big white dress, the horse and carriage and you especially don’t have to have the dainty five course meal. There’s nothing worse than selecting a traditional meal just to keep up appearances. It’s your wedding so why not stay true to yourself and opt for a more unconventional catering idea that you and your guests will enjoy a whole lot more.

BBQ

Ideal for any spring or summer wedding, BBQ catering is a great choice for those who like a really relaxed atmosphere and want to entertain their guests with an array of classic garden party combinations. BBQ catering eliminates the tiresome task of getting your guests to make meal selections before the day – all they have to do is come along and choose from a selection of succulent beef burgers, sizzling grills and fresh crisp salads. You won’t need to worry about your guests with special dietary requirements either as there are plenty of vegetarian options that can be cooked to perfection on the grill too.

Canapes and Bowl Food

A slightly more sophisticated option for those who are looking to host the perfect evening soiree after their ceremony. This unconventional catering idea is probably the most formal option – however not as formal as that dainty five courses meal we talked about earlier. Canapes bring that daintiness and sophistication to your dining but the bowl food brings a more laid back feel. The perfect combination for weddings who want a bit of both. Canapes and bowl food dishes don’t leave your guests feeling too full so then they are free to dance the rest of the night away with you. This unconventional catering option also offers your guests a wide selection of dishes, suitable for all taste palates and appetites.

Buffet

The ultimate unconventional wedding catering option for those that like a bit of everything. Create your own menu, full of yours and your guests favourite dishes. You can choose whether to have hot or cold buffet – but don’t forget it’s your wedding so why not have both if you’re having trouble deciding. Buffets are perfect for a big wedding and guest lists that contains the fussiest of guests. Everyone will be full before the nights up and did we mention that this option will definitely not blow your entire wedding budget!

Breakfast

Are you and your partner early birds, or do you just like eating breakfast for dinner? Then why not celebrate your special day with the most important meal of the day. Start your guests off with some pastries and fruit to then give them a choice of a Full English or Eggs Benedict for mains. Finally finish off your meal with some yogurt compote or muffins. Of course, you can always combine breakfast with a buffet and have the best of both worlds too.

Well that’s it for our unconventional catering ideas for unconventional weddings. Would you ditch the five course meal for any of these options or do you have your own unique catering idea? Also remember to get in touch if you need any help making you unconventional catering ideas a reality.