Planning Christmas Staff Buffets

Planning Christmas Staff Buffets

Planning Christmas staff buffets can feel like a mighty task, particularly if you’ve never planned one before, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll soon be bowing to the accolades that come your way when you’ve pulled it off!

Here are our top tips on planning Christmas staff buffets:

 

1.  Set a date and check availability

When planning Christmas staff buffets, the most important thing is to have a couple of dates in mind.  Check the venues out for suitability and accessibility and then check out your staff’s availability for those dates.  Once you’ve chosen your date and venue, you can then let everyone know to try to keep the date free.

 

2.  Ask for feedback on last year’s party

Obviously, you want your staff Christmas buffet to be the talk of the office for months, so any feedback on previous buffets will give you some insight into what’s good and what to avoid.  Was there enough food?  Was the food selection good? What did they think of the venue?  All these questions will give you a really good base on which to start planning your own Christmas staff buffet.

 

3.  Consider a theme for your staff buffet

Well, it’s Christmas after all!  And with the year we’ve all just had, it’s the time of year that we can all just kick back, relax and enjoy ourselves.  The theme for your Christmas staff buffet doesn’t have to be Christmas!  Again, get some feedback from your staff and go with the flow!

 

4.  Don’t scrimp on your budget

There’s nothing worse than a lean looking buffet or when you know that people leave the buffet still hungry.  This is your company’s way of thanking your staff for their work and dedication throughout the year.  It wouldn’t look great if you’ve only given lip service to the event.

 

5.  Serve high quality food – and plenty of it!

Going on from tip no 4 – people know when you’ve put the effort into a Christmas staff buffet.  They can see the quality of food and the creativity in the table layout.  Care and attention on the food and beverage front will guarantee a great vibe at the event and give you a lot of kudos for months after!  A win-win situation, don’t you think?

 

6.  Organising the buffet table:

a.  Choose a colour scheme for your linen and napkins that complements the food

b.  Have a clear start and end point to the buffet so that people can clearly identify where to begin

c.  Group similiar flavours and types of food together, such as sausage rolls and scotch eggs

d.  Display more expensive foods or food that you have less of, at the end of the buffet.  Most people tend to fill their plates at the beginning of the buffet, rather than at the end of it!  If you put the most expensive food at the end, chances are they’ll only be a very small space on their plates for it!

e.  Label your dishes so that your staff know what’s on their plate

f.  Vary the height of your dishes – this will give you extra space to layout your buffet and it also adds interest

g.  Serve more cold food that hot – it’s all about making your life easier on the day but still putting on a really good spread for your staff!

h.  Put out small plates to put serving spoons.  This keeps the linen smear free, looking good and the buffet inviting for all the staff!

i.  Fill in any gaps in the table with seasonal or themed decor so that the buffet table looks full

j.  Put eating utensils and napkins at the end of the buffet – this simple trick will keep the flow of traffic moving

k.  Provide some strategically placed rubbish bins in order to keep the buffet table clean (and it saves you time and effort later on!)

So there you have it!  Our top tips and tricks for planning a Christmas staff buffet!  We are Lauren’s Caterers based in Gloucester with over 25 years experience in the catering sector.  Let us help you with planning your Christmas staff buffet!  Take a look at our website www.laurenscatering.co.uk or call us on 01452 382690 – we’d be happy to help!

How to Plan a Successful Christmas Party

How to Plan a Successful Christmas Party

Planning your Christmas party should be an incredibly exciting thing to do! Although, there is quite a lot that you will need to get done.

Whether it is your first time planning a Christmas party or you are a well-seasoned expert at it, it is always important to plan and have a focused view when planning it. Not only does this guarantee that you will have a lovely time but, it will also guarantee that all of your guests will have a great time too!

We cater for a variety of events but, we absolutely cannot deny just how excited we get when it comes to Christmas catering events! Nothing quite beats the magic of Christmas… that is why we wanted to share with you a brilliant guide to help you get your Christmas party planned ahead of time!

Here is our take on how to plan a successful Christmas Party…

 

1.      Find and book the ideal venue.

The venue can really make or break a Christmas party. Ensure that the venue you choose can not only meet the capacity but, also provides the right facilities and is located somewhere that is either close to the majority or has good transport links nearby.

 

2.      Provide a variety of entertainment for your Christmas party guests.

Entertainment is crucial for keeping your guests happy and occupied throughout the party. Anything from stand-up comedians, light shows, circus acts or even live artists can be the perfect addition to a successful Christmas party.

 

3.      Choose a theme for your Christmas Party.

Themes are a brilliant way to get your guests excited and engaged with your party. You will also be surprised to see just how creative your guests can be – especially when it comes to DIY costume making! Plus, there are so many themes to choose from, you are bound to find one that works best for you!

 

4.      Decorate the venue.

Add the finishing touches to your venue by expertly decorating it with delightful décor! You don’t have to necessarily blow the budget on décor, as you could easily DIY it or source it from cheap/second-hand places. Don’t forget to put up a Christmas tree, after all… it is Christmas!

 

5.      Hire a reputable caterer to deliver tasty food for your Christmas party.

Ensure that you hire a trusted and reputable catering company such as us at Laurens Catering to deliver exceptional food for your party. Don’t forget to factor in all of your guests’ dietary requirements (read how to do so here) and let the caterers know in advance!

 

6.      Organise any travel or overnight stays for your Christmas party guests.

For those guests who are visiting from afar, why not help them find a place to stay overnight? That way they can fully enjoy the party and know that they don’t have to leave early due to travel. Don’t forget those who wish to drink may prefer to spend the night in a hotel too, or they may need a prearranged taxi. Provide all the details to your guests to ensure that they get to enjoy the party fully!

 

Hopefully, this has helped give you some direction as to how to plan a successful Christmas party. If you are looking for a great caterer that you can rely on, you now know who to come to!

We would absolutely love to play a part in your Christmas party this year, so why not get in touch and find out how we can help.

Until then, we wish you all the best and a very merry (and rather early) Christmas.

How to Accommodate your Guests Dietary Requirements

How to Accommodate your Guests Dietary Requirements

Planning an event can feel rather overwhelming. There is of course, plenty of excitement to be had when picking a venue, theme and decoration. Despite this, many people struggle when it comes to picking the right buffet caterer and accommodating their guest’s dietary requirements.

As a trusted and experienced caterer, we understand how important it is that you find the right buffet caterer for you who can also meet those specific dietary requirements.

That is why we have put together this informative helpful guide that will cover everything you need to know on how to accommodate your guest’s dietary requirements!

 

How can I accommodate my guest’s dietary requirements?

 

The first step starts with you!

As this is your event, you get to pick and choose who you would like to make your guest/s. Whether you ask them via a card, email, message or call – make sure you ask them if they have any specific dietary requirements.

There are a few reasons why your guest may have a certain dietary requirement, it could be because of:

Them having an allergy – It is common to have a friend or family member that has an allergy, in fact, it has been estimated that 2 million people have a diagnosed food allergy in the UK. This may mean that they are allergic to nuts, soy, eggs, shellfish, fish or something else more specific.

An intolerance – You may find a guest has specified that they are intolerant. They may say they are gluten, lactose, salicylate or caffeine intolerant (to name a few!) and they could even be intolerant to multiple things.

Their religion – If you have friends or family that are religious, it is worth asking them what their dietary requirements are or if they are currently celebrating a religious festival. There are certain foods of which cannot be eaten by individuals who are of that religion.

A health issue – A guest could be diabetic, or have high/low blood sugar levels or may even be on a restricted diet.

Their lifestyle – Of course, some friends and family may have a more personal dietary requirement that they have chosen. This could be that they are vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian. They may also be following a specific diet such as Keto or Paleo.

 

It is incredibly important to supply all dietary requirements to your buffet caterer prior to the event. This will give the caterer time to safely prepare food in advance. Failure to do so could lead you to have lots of food waste and on the more serious side, could put your guest/s in danger of feeling unwell or suffering from anaphylaxis.

 

How will my caterer accommodate my guest’s dietary requirements?

 

Once you have supplied your buffet caterer with adequate information regarding the dietary requirements of your guests, you can ask the following:

 

How will you cater to all of my guest’s dietary requirements?

What can I do to ensure that the food is served safely and is kept separate from other foods whilst at my event?

Is there any more information you need me to provide?

 

You can also expect an expert catering company such as Lauren’s Catering to:

 

Follow all regulations – We ensure that whilst preparing, delivering and laying out your food, you can count on us to actively follow all key regulations. Both you and your guest/s safety are our utmost priority. We go above and beyond to ensure that all staff practice safe food and hygiene standards.

Provide delicious food – We often hear about those with dietary restrictions being left out when it comes to food. Whether they can’t eat anything that is served, food has been cross-contaminated or the food that they are given is subpar, we understand how frustrating this can be. That is why we will do our very best to accommodate all dietary requirements but, will also provide adventurous and delicious food for them to enjoy!

 

If you are looking for a reliable buffet caterer to provide you with delicious and exciting food for your event, look no further than Lauren’s Catering.

We are incredibly talented when it comes to cooking up a variety of tasty food. We take pride in delivering a service that leaves our customers feeling best pleased!

Find out more about our buffet catering services here or, discover what else we get up to here at Lauren’s Catering.

How to Create a Charcuterie Board

How to Create a Charcuterie Board

One of the biggest food trends on social media at the moment is the charcuterie board.

Charcuterie boards are a stunning display of meat and cheese, often accompanied by crackers, fruit, nuts and various dips.

They are perfect for any party or event as they can be as big or as small as you like! Plus, you can easily accommodate any dietary requirements of your guests. Here’s our advice to creating the perfect charcuterie board!

Choosing the Right Board

Think about the amount of people you need to serve and select the size of the board accordingly. You can also use multiple boards, which would also work well if there were different dietary requirements such as vegetarians or vegans.

Charcuterie boards are usually wooden but can be of any shape – just check it is safe for food use! You could also use a marble board, depending on the look you would like to achieve. Bear in mind that the overall look of the charcuterie board is to look full so, try to remain modest on the size.

Ingredients

Cheese

One of the main ingredients for a charcuterie board is of course cheese! We suggest choosing a minimum of 3 cheeses for a smaller board, mixing it up between hard and soft cheeses.

Meat

The second ingredient will be the meat (providing you’re not serving vegetarians of course!). Thinly sliced, cured meats are perfect as they can be displayed in a variety of ways and are perfect for guests to nibble on. Another great choice is a spreadable meat like pate.

Crackers

To complement your meats and cheese you will want to add a selection of crackers, breadsticks and breads. We would recommend a couple of options for your board.

Fruit, Nuts & Sides

Fruit such as grapes and strawberries can be a delightful addition to your board, they also add a beautiful display of colour. Nuts are also an ideal way to fill small gaps and sides such as olives are always popular with cheese.

Dips

Depending on the other ingredients you have selected, it may work well to add a dip. For example, a hummus, honey, chilli or even an extra virgin olive oil for breads.

Putting your Charcuterie Board Together

Start with the larger elements like your cheese and any dishes for dips. Spread these around the board making sure to slice up the cheeses for a grazing-friendly experience.

Then add your crackers/ breads and grapes, followed by your meats. You can roll up the cured meats into easy to grab parcels (and they look great!). Fill any gaps with your remaining fruit and nuts.

The final step is to add your garnish such as a sprig of herbs.

Serving

Charcuterie boards are best served at room temperature, but food shouldn’t be left out for more than two hours. Ensure you have a small selection of pre-prepared items in the fridge ready to restock your board when you need to.

Seasonal Summer Food

Seasonal Summer Food

Summer has arrived! Why not explore the foods and recipes that are now officially in season.  

To help keep the cost of your weekly food shop down and reduce the air miles used to transport your food, it is always best to shop locally and buy in seasonal summer food.

Here is our list of the fruits and vegetables in season for summer and some recipes you can try out!

Strawberries

A hugely popular fruit, strawberries are sold all year round, but you are much more likely to discover the ripest, juiciest strawberries in the summer months.

Many individuals also enjoy strawberry picking themselves which is a fun day out suitable for all ages.

The fruit is packed with vitamins and fibre as well as being sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories, they are a fantastic option as a sweet but healthy snack. You can choose to eat them on their own or they make fantastic accompaniments for many dessert dishes.

Recipe

Eton Mess is a popular choice for a dessert during the summer and it’s super easy to make.

All you need is:

  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Meringues (these can be bought readymade)
  • Thick or heavy cream
  • A little bit of caster sugar

Simply coat the strawberries in a sprinkling of sugar, then in a separate bowl, whip the cream using an electric mixer. Crush your meringue and then mix everything together!

New Potatoes

Unlike their fully grown counterparts, new potatoes have thin, wispy skills and a waxy texture and keep their shape once cooked. Additionally, they are sweeter because their sugar has not yet converted to starch. Each of these factors make them ideal for use in salads.

New potatoes contain Vitamin B1 which is what our bodies need to release energy from carbohydrates. It also promotes healthy heart function. You will also find other B vitamins such as folic acid.

Recipe

Potato salad is a super easy side dish, perfect for any summer BBQ. Simply cook off your new potatoes until you can pierce a fork through, and they slide off, then mix with a bit of olive oil, Dijon mustard, spring onion and fresh parsley.

Read the full recipe here.

Melon

There is such a large variety of melon to choose from. Some of the most popular choices include Watermelon, Honey Dew and Cantaloupe. They are all very refreshing options and can be widely used across sweet and savoury dishes.

Watermelon has many benefits:

  • Hydrating
  • Contains compounds that may help prevent cancer.
  • Contains vitamins A, B6 and C
  • Only 40 calories per cup

Recipe

A perfect savoury recipe for watermelon is a delicious salad mixed with tomatoes and feta cheese.
Arrange the two fruits on a platter and then whisk together in a bowl olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper, then spoon over the tomatoes and watermelon. Sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh basil.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a great addition to pies, crumbles and savoury suppers. It is technically a vegetable, but it is often treated as a fruit – despite its tart flavour. While it is able to grow most of the year, it is best grown in sunlight and warmer soil temperatures.

Rhubarb contains antioxidants which have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties which can help protect against many healthy-related issues.

Recipe

Enjoy rhubarb in a delicious homemade crumble. The recipe is simple and can be found here.

Passion Fruit

Passion fruit isn’t one you commonly come across, but it is a delicious seasonal summer food packed full of nutritional benefits!

It is fairly sweet in flavour but with a slight tart citrus like taste. It’s also full of vitamins and is rich in antioxidants. Not to mention that passion fruit is a great source of fibre and helps boost the immune system.

A great way to enjoy passion fruit is in a cocktail!

Recipe

Discover a delicious passion fruit margarite – this way!

 

If you’re hosting a social event this summer but don’t want the stress of catering, why not hire a professional caterer to take care of everything for you?
Contact Laurens Catering today for a FREE quote.

Our Favourite Summer Dishes

Our Favourite Summer Dishes

Summer is on its way and with the latest restrictions easing, allowing up to 30 people to socialise outside, it’s the best time to get together over some delicious summer dishes.

Unlike the winter, summer brings us sun and heat (hopefully!) meaning most people don’t want hot, heavy meals.

You also want to spend less time stuck in the kitchen and more time outside with your guests so, its important summer dishes are quick and easy to prepare! Here are our favourites.

1.   Chicken Skewers

Chicken Skewers Summer Dish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken is a fantastically light meat that can be seasoned in so many ways! Choose from hot & spicy, BBQ or simply just grill with salt and pepper. Chicken skewers are a great ‘nibbly’ snack that can accompany other dishes or paired with a salad as a summer meal. You can add different vegetables to the skewers too including red onion, peppers, courgette and even halloumi.

2.   Summer Salad

Summer Dish - Summer Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another delicious summer dish that can be eaten on its own or as a side to your BBQ classics. The added bonus is there’s no cooking required! Simply cut and prepare your ingredients and toss together in a bowl with some dressing. This recipe is fresh, tasty and full of flavour!

3.   Grilled Halloumi

Grilled Halloumi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloumi is such a versatile cheese and works perfectly with a variety of other food. You can just grill it on its own and serve with a dip, add it to kebabs like we mentioned earlier or use it in a salad. Paired with watermelon and caper breadcrumbs, halloumi is the ideal summer food.

4.   Sweetcorn Fritters

Summer Dish Sweetcorn Fritters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This light and easy meal is a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sweetcorn fritters will only take half an hour in the kitchen and 20 minutes of that is in the oven, leaving you to sit, relax and enjoy a drink with your guests. It also gives you 4/5 of your 5-a-day and is suitable for vegetarians.

5.   Potato Salad

Potato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potato salad is a classic side dish for any BBQ but why not level up this year? By adding some extra flavours to your dressing, you can really wow your guests with this summer dish! All you need is mayo, soured cream, horseradish, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, spring onions and for that extra crunch add crispy fried onions!

6.   Sweet Flatbreads

Summer Dish Flatbread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy a deliciously sweet snack with a peach and prosciutto flatbread. While it takes a little longer at 40 minutes, it is totally worth it and the recipe is super simple to follow. Suitable for vegetarians and is sure to be popular amongst your guests.

 

If you’re hosting a social event this summer but don’t want the stress of catering, why not hire a professional caterer to take care of everything for you?
Contact Laurens Catering today for a FREE quote.