Food plays a massive part in our lives; a century ago, we used to eat to survive, but now, we’re thriving on good food, unusual ingredients and fantastic flavours that creative chefs have come up with. We’re able to eat to specific dietary requirements in most hospitality venues across the country, and we’ve become accustomed to being able to eat exactly what our taste buds require. Even business networking events are beginning to leave behind the grated cheese and pickle sandwiches on stale white bread and produce much more enjoyable food, whilst wedding catering is upping its game so that the happy couple can afford their guests a beautiful restaurant-quality meal for all to enjoy.
Here at Leigh Court, our catering is all done by local, South West business Berry Blue Creative Food, owned by Louise Brown. The company started over 10 years ago now when Louise used her own produce on her farm to cater for her clients.
We partner with Berry Blue because their ethos matches ours: sustainable. The chefs’ source locally farmed ingredients from a network of independent suppliers which cuts down on food miles wherever possible.
We checked in with Louise to help us tell you a little bit more about her food, which is used to cater for networking events, workshops, staff days, team building days, weddings, celebrations, proms, funerals and wakes.
So Louise, what makes you different to other catering companies?
Well, we love working with Leigh Court because you understand our ethos of using sustainably-sourced, local produce that hasn’t travelled hundreds of miles for you to eat it. Back when I started the company over 10 years ago, it wasn’t very commonplace to create this type of sustainability in food production, so I saw a gap in the market and went for it. At the time, we had a small team and grew most of the produce ourselves, but now we have event managers and chefs to do all the catering for our clients, and we source more food from local suppliers.
And how are you different when it comes to wedding catering specifically?
Well although we have some set menus that are seasonally crafted, we are very flexible when we sit down and talk to the couple about what they want. Some couples love the set menus and have just a few tweaks, but others get to design a whole new menu with our chefs. It’s easy these days with the availability of specialist ingredients to create something very special for a wedding party, and also cater for any dietary requirements too. We’ve even catered for weddings with food themes; I remember when we were asked to cater with Persian food and our chefs had a great time learning traditional Persian recipes and buying in special spices. There are also a lot of pre-conceptions that catering is brought in already prepared and ready to go. But with us, we make sure that everything is prepared in our off-site prep kitchen first, then cooked fresh in the Leigh Court kitchen on the day. That, combined with the exceptional freshness and locality of the produce leads us to produce exquisite food for your big day.
How easy is it for you to cater for dietary specialisms?
So easy! Most people are surprised by how it’s easy to create gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan food these days, in fact, we can create entire wedding menus that are vegan.
For many years, veganism has been prevalent and with alternative ingredients on the market, it’s easy to create a menu or buffet; even desserts are easy to do! We’ve done quite a few vegan weddings and always cater for vegans at business networking or workshop events.
You guys always put the fun in food! How have you incorporated all these “food theatre” trends into your business?
Food theatre is so big right now! People love it when they get to watch or even cook the food themselves; street food stalls are also a big thing right now too and we can recreate this atmosphere. The options are endless; whatever you want for your event or wedding, we can create it! We’ve done stations where people can make their own pies, fajitas, pizza, crepes and paella. It gives guests a little bit of fun, and something to talk about and remember about the day.
Do the happy couple get to try their menu before their big day?
Yes absolutely! Once you’ve booked your wedding at Leigh Court, we’ll contact you to get an idea of what you’re looking for. We’ll set up a menu tasting day for you either at our kitchens in Stroud, or at Leigh Court, and you can come along and try the food. After that, you’ll be able to keep in contact with us to inform us of any changes, dietary requirements or allergies, and you’ll be rest assured that everything in great hands with us. On the big day, we’ll make sure everything is perfect for you; we have an events manager who oversees the catering on the day and who works very closely with the dedicated Leigh Court events managers, Natasha, Claire and Lucy.
To find out more about Berry Blue Creative Food at Leigh Court for your wedding, please click here to arrange an appointment with our wedding coordinators.