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!

Roast Turkey Top Tips

Roast Turkey Top Tips

Christmas is just around the corner meaning that it is nearly time for Christmas dinner. Although a wonderful thing, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially for first-time roasters. That’s where we can help. We are here to answer your questions and provide a few top tips to hopefully take some of the stress away and help you to cook the perfect roast turkey.

What size turkey should I get?

The size of the turkey you should get depends on a few different factors. One main one is how many people you need it to feed. As a general rule, you should allow about 1 pound (uncooked) per person. Even if you don’t plan on having an army of guests, you should keep in mind that if you intend to have leftovers the next day you might want to get a turkey a little bigger that will provide more than one serving per person.

Top Tip: Not the most obvious thing to consider, you should also take into account the size of your oven. A classic comedic tale, many people have bought a turkey that’s the perfect size but find when they get it home it won’t fit in the oven! A good top tip is that if you need a turkey that will feed a larger number of guests, instead of buying one big one, buy two smaller ones. You’ll be able to fit them both in the oven and they’ll even fit in the fridge better in the run-up to the big day!

 

How long should I roast the turkey for?

Typically, the label on your turkey will give instructions to help you work out how long to roast it for. If it doesn’t, a good rule to follow is to allow about 40 minutes per kg or roughly 20 minutes per pound of the total weight of the bird, which includes any stuffing. If you are still unsure, the BBC have a really helpful tool to help you calculate how long to cook your meat for.

Top Tip: To achieve crispy skin on your turkey, you could try dry brining. This involves rubbing salt all over the turkey, which helps to draw out moisture. This salty moisture is then reabsorbed by the meat, which also dries out the skin, helping it to crisp up. You could also try increasing the temperature of your oven by about 20⁰c for the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.

 

Should I use a roasting rack?

Put simply, if you can, you should. The use of a roasting rack lifts the meat off of the bottom of the tray, allowing air to circulate around the meat which promotes even cooking. It also stops the meat from sticking to the bottom of the roasting tin. Because turkeys are often too large to flip in the tray, using a rack is one of the best ways to evenly cook your meat.

Top Tip: Don’t have a roasting rack? You can easily use vegetables to lift the turkey up. Simply use long carrots, thick slices of onion, or even celery sticks to elevate your roast. Doing this can also make your veggies extra flavourful!

 

Should I let the meat rest?

For the perfect juicy turkey, you should leave it to rest out of the oven before serving. If you were to carve the meat straight out of the oven, all of its lovely juices would seep out onto your chopping board. By leaving it to rest, you give the meat a chance to reabsorb these juices, as well as allowing the meat to coagulate making it easier to carve. Once out of the oven you should leave it to rest in a warm place for between 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Top Tip: When carving your meat, remove the legs by cutting through the skin that links it to the breast. Doing this will give you better access to the breast meat, making it a lot easier to show off your carving skills!

 

What can I have instead of turkey?

If you’re looking for something other than roast turkey this year, there are many alternatives that you can try. Goose is a great option, with fat that naturally bastes the meat, making it nearly impossible to dry it out. Another brilliant choice is gammon. Marinated in a honey and mustard dressing, gammon is soft and juicy and makes for a great leftover sandwich the next day.

Top Tip: Vegetarian options can often be few and far between when it comes to Christmas but there are many things you can do instead. Fish is a good choice and would pair well with those lovely roast potatoes that you might be cooking for other guests. If you want something that can go with a more traditional Christmas dinner, something like a nut roast or vegetarian wellington would work well with the other parts typically found in a roast dinner.

 

We hope that you have found these tips useful and wish you lots of luck with your Christmas dinner – we’re sure it will be delicious!

Remember, we will be open for pre-orders between Christmas and New Year. If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch and we’d be happy to help!

Doing Our Bit For the NHS

Doing Our Bit For the NHS

This year has been a challenging year for businesses and individuals alike. But the organisation that has had to overcome the most amount of challenges is the NHS. Since the beginning of the first lockdown in March, it has seen surges of Coronavirus cases, with beds filling to max capacity at times. Shortages of PPE has caused even more stress, on top of longer hours for staff.

Despite all of these challenges, NHS staff have pulled together, worked as a team and I think we can all agree that they have been absolutely amazing and done our country proud.

We think having access to a good meal is essential, especially when you’re tired and under a tremendous amount of stress. That’s why, to say thank you and to help do our bit, we have remained open throughout lockdowns to serve the country’s frontline workers. This has included providing breakfast for the COVID-19 unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, to make sure that they get themselves a well-balanced, tasty meal, even if they didn’t have time to go shopping between shifts.

We also wanted to help in other ways and are proud to say that we donated over 4,000 pairs of gloves to the hospital. As we have all been aware, there have been shortages in PPE equipment, and we wanted to make an effort to help keep our frontline workers safe.

If want to keep up with what we are up to, you can follow us on Facebook where we’ll keep you up to date with our latest news.

The history of the sandwich

The history of the sandwich

At Lauren’s we are known for our tasty sandwiches, but did you know that over 4 billion are purchased from UK retailers and catering outlets each year? Sandwiches have become a popular lunchtime snack for us brits so surely we should know more about the humble sandwich. Here is a brief look at the history of the sandwich.

The sandwich that we enjoy today became popular in England way back in 1762 by the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. Montagu was a HUGE fan of bread and meat, so would regularly eat them together. His creation skyrocketed and the sandwich revolution began. The first recorded sandwich recipe did not appear in an American cookbook until 1815, despite it being a popular delicacy in England.

You can see all of our delicious sandwiches and more over on our menu – don’t just take our word for it, check out our testimonials page!

Wondering about your wedding?

Wondering about your wedding?

As the wedding sector makes its much wanted return, our catering services are here to help, once government restrictions change.

Current guidelines provided by the UK Government currently state that from the 1st of August, small wedding receptions will be able to take place; this includes having a sit-down meal, with no more than 30 people.

Although we currently do not provide sit-down meal catering, if you’re having a more casual and relaxed wedding, we do provide a fun and exciting takeaway menu that could be adapted to serve as a sit-down meal.

Despite these restrictions, we are still able to cater for other events such as birthdays and christenings.

We will continue to keep you up to date once government guidelines change and we can begin catering weddings again. If you’re having a wedding in the future, we are available and are able to do buffet catering!

You can view our buffet menu here.

Serving a great range of delicious, mouth-watering platters and diverse buffet menus, you can choose a menu that suits you and your guests needs, including any dietary needs you or your guests may have!

If you are looking for a caterer, why not contact us?