A step into football past and present

Here, at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, we’ve had a busy February with some interesting conference events including a couple of banqueting dinners and the exciting opening of the new Education and Heritage Centre with a Menu Showcase booked in for April.

Our planned menu showcase on the 5th April will allow us to show off our talents and display the best of what we can offer to a captive market. Stephen Frost and Fritz Machala are at the forefront of this event producing a wonderful display of canapés, bowl food and banqueting options.  We will surprise and delight guests by offering a wide array of dining locations from the multi-purpose corporate boxes, to drinks receptions in the dressing rooms and elegant dining in the heart of the new Education and Heritage Centre which opened on 22nd February.

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The Education and Heritage Centre is a major contribution to the stadium and adds another string to our bow for hospitality. It offers a new dimension of bringing children and youth groups to the stadium for our ‘Sporting Heroes’ and ‘Little Legends’ catering packages.

The Education and Heritage Centre tells the unique story of Northern Irish football using a varied range of media, immersive physical interactives and key artefacts from the 1880s to the present day. A 45 minute walking tour, covering ¼ mile, visitors can relive the atmosphere of match day, gain insights into the drama on and off the pitch and feel the rush of emotions shared by everyone inside the stadium, whether their team wins or loses.  Additional to the centre guided tour, visitors can also go behind the scenes and take a seat in the Northern Ireland changing room, sharpen their knowledge in the Press Room and sit in the dug-out and walk out the tunnel of the Green and White Army.

When hosting the tours around the stadium, surprisingly, to most popular request by the ladies, is to see the ice baths in the changing rooms. These functional ‘climb in’ spaces seem to attract much attention, not for what they are, but for who uses them!  The gents on the other hand like to get their selfies taken in the hot seats of the manager’s chairs in the press conference room.  Exciting times ahead as we look to create amazing hospitality in the most unusual settings.  A personal challenge that is more than welcome.  Who says you host can’t a drinks reception in the shower rooms and a wedding reception in the museum?

Laura West, Sales Manager, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland.

For information about holding an event at the stadium, contact the Central Enquiry Hub on 0845 6055 699 or email venues&events.prestige.uk@sodexo.com  or take a look at their page online

Spice it up: Christmas at Knebworth House

Christmas is all about tradition and, it just so happens that, curry is the traditional, British dish Knebworth House fancy for their dinner.

Curry has been popular in the UK since the days of the British Empire, signifying the imagined glamour of the Raj. Many of the Indian curries we enjoy today are modified versions of an original: made milder for British palates, adjusted in terms of the ingredients available and made with a few odd alternations along the way (that yielded delicious results!). Curry is now a fundamentally British dish, representative of a meeting of cultures, colours and flavours.

Curry and Christmas are meeting in perfect harmony this year in Knebworth House’s Cobbold Barn. Diners are invited to indulge in a two-course Indian curry buffet, followed by traditional celebrations, a DJ and dancing – oh, and a late night bar to accompany the dancing… it’s only right.

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The menu offers a well-curated selection of dishes, giving guests a choice between hot and mild, meat and vegetarian. This includes chicken tikka masala, chickpea, spinach and tomato curry, saffron rice, tarka dhal, naan bread, poppadums and pickles, with a dessert of mouth-watering mango cheesecake.

However, if you fancy a classic Christmas, Knebworth House are offering a scrumptious, old fashioned turkey dinner. Expect a perfected roast from one of the most historic venues in England.

Knebworth Xmas

Hosted in the Cobbold Barn, guests can indulge in three-course meal of aubergine or smoked salmon cannelloni followed by roast turkey with potato fondant, or roasted root vegetables and a red wine jus for veggies, Christmas pudding cheesecake and coffee.

The Cobbold Barn is named after current residents of Knebworth House, the Lytton-Cobbolds, whose family have lived in there for an astounding nineteen generations! Though, the Barn itself has been around for a much shorter length of time, it is a contemporary build, with a beautiful oak structure and opens onto a private garden.

Likewise, a traditional turkey dinner will be served under Knebworth’s spectacular, star-clothed marquee as part of their Christmas in Central Park package. Available for private bookings of 250 persons or more, your party-guests can dine and dance in luxury. The night will feature a three-course meal, table crackers, karaoke and a late bar and disco (running until 1am the next morning).

No matter which tradition you choose to celebrate at Christmas, you are certain to have a unique time at Knebworth House. Also… who doesn’t love tikka and turkey?

For more information on our Christmas packages, see our #trulymagicalChristmas brochure here

Christmas Curry Nights are available on Wednesday 6th, 13th and 20th December 2017.
A Cobbold Christmas is available throughout December for both lunch and dinner.
Christmas in Central Park exclusive hire is available from Sunday to Wednesday in December.
On Sunday 3th, 10th and 17th December Santa Claus will be paying pre-Christmas visits to families enjoying lunch at Knebworth Barns, bringing a gift for every child.

 

A Scottish celebration: the history of Hogmanay

As the year draws to a close all eyes are on Scotland and her festivities, and for good reason. Scotland’s notorious New Year celebrations are better known as Hogmanay: for three days, revellers celebrate with street festivals, parties, and fireworks. Join us in looking at the holiday’s origins, traditions and where they apply to modern-day events and venues.

The celebration of Hogmanay allegedly dates back to the Vikings. However, in the 16th Century it gained further importance due to a religious dispute that resulted in Christmas being banned across Scotland. And it continued to be banned for 400 years! Since Christmas was no longer a national holiday, everyone was expected to work through the season and took time off to celebrate New Year instead. Though the ban was lifted in the 1950s, Hogmanay remains a key cultural festival today.

Hogmanay customs differ between regions, within families and friendship groups – some traditions being passed down from generation to generation. One custom you might have heard of is ‘first-footing’, which refers to the ‘first foot’ in the house after midnight on New Year’s Day. The visitor determines the household’s fortune for the year, and it’s customary to bring gifts for good luck. Other Hogmanay customs include cleaning the house to ward off bad spirits, and – of course – singing Robert Burns’ classic, Auld Lang Syne.

Traditionally, Hogmanay is celebrated from 31st December to 2nd January. Luckily, our Scottish venues cater for the entire Christmas season.

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Aberdeen FC in the snow

First up, our Scottish stadiums. You’re promised a party to remember at Aberdeen Football Club. The club is available from November to January for a range of events – from festive gatherings to private dinners to a festive drive-in cinema, showing family friendly rib-ticklers like The Grinch, Elf and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Over in Glasgow, Hampden Park Stadium is hosting masquerade balls and karaoke parties throughout the festive season, including their signature sparkly dance-floor.

It’s undeniably Scottish to share your celebrations with as many loved ones as possible (the more the merrier was never more applicable), and two of our venues have taken this sentiment to heart with their shared parties. In the capital, Edinburgh Corn Exchange invites revellers to join over 850 guests for one of the capital’s biggest parties. This includes a three-course dinner and live entertainment. Hamilton Park Racecourse in South Lanarkshire are also offering shared parties in dates throughout November, December, and even one post-Hogmanay date in January, so you can continue celebrating into 2018. Highlights at the racecourse include their inaugural party quiz, so get your Hogmanay-themed team names ready.

For private events, there’s nothing more magical than a real Scottish castle. Dundas Castle is available for exclusive-use hire throughout December and January. With 17th Century opulence, 5-star service and quintessentially Scottish features, Dundas Castle is perfect for an unforgettable party.

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The beautiful Dundas Castle in the snow

Looking for a traditional Hogmanay celebration on the day itself? Book with Perth Racecourse for their Ultimate Hogmanay Party on 31st December. Highlights include a traditional buffet, ceilidh, and a live piper while the midnight bells ring. Meanwhile in Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden will be holding Hogmanay Dinners on various dates in December. The dinner includes a five-course banquet, after-dinner dancing, and a midnight toast with a view of the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle.

And – if you’re looking to hold a conference before Hogmanay, this year the Assembly Rooms Edinburgh is offering an exclusive day delegate package throughout December, including mulled wine and mince pies, because all work and no play…

However you’re planning to ring in the New Year, Scotland promises the world’s best celebrations, with fun, flair and a few drams of whiskey. We couldn’t possibly be anywhere else.

For more information on our Hogmanay,  Christmas and other seasonal packages, see our brochure here

For more information on Prestige Venues & Events packages call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Top Tips for Planning your Big Day

Today we want to focus on those happy couples in the midst of their planning processes. Whether you’re steadily crossing things off a to-do list, or you haven’t a clue where to start, we’ve taken advantage of our sizeable black book to find out how the best in the business manage the task.

We called on an expert – Jenny Marks, owner of events company, Complete Bliss. Jenny’s wedding planning expertise is highly sought after across the UK. With years of experience planning all manner of events, she’s the safest pair of hands you can imagine.

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Jenny Marks, Complete Bliss

Jenny took a break from her unfathomably busy wedding-season schedule to share five useful tips she always gives her clients.

1.Don’t get bamboozled. With photo-sharing apps at our fingertips 24/7 it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas and opinions. Rather than trying to crowbar everything you’ve ever seen on Pinterest into one marquee, Jenny advises couples to take a step back. Focus on the most important things you both want from your day. Once you’ve established your priorities, trust that the wedding vision will fall into place.

2.Be ready for your close-up. Whether you’re camera shy or snap happy, preparation is key when it comes to your wedding photographs. Even if your photographer has shot weddings at your venue previously, it’s a really good idea to meet them at the venue prior to yours. Scope out the best spots together. You’ll be on the same page and save lots of time on the day.

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Knebworth House

3.Don’t be afraid to delegate. Your venue team will be on hand, but your nearest and dearest will be very eager to pitch in too. From helping guests find their seats to picking up flowers at the end of the night, all extra pairs of hands are invaluable. In Jenny’s experience, your wedding party love being given a job to do – it makes them feel important, and they’ll love knowing they’re helping you relax and enjoy the day.

4.Eat breakfast. Even if you’re not hungry. And remember to rehydrate at every opportunity – water, not champagne!

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5.Time flies when you’re the main event. With so many of your loved ones together in one place, it’s easier than you might think to say your vows and then lose track of your new legally-wedded partner until the first dance. When scheduling your day, Jenny recommends couples put aside 15 minutes in the middle of the day just for the two of you – by yourselves – just to bask in the moment together. She promises you’ll be glad you did.

You can find Jenny at Complete Bliss (http://www.completebliss.net/).

To enquire about Prestige Venues & Events portfolio of wedding venues please visit our website at www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com or call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Cooking back at The Open with chef Malcolm Emery

Malcolm Emery is no ordinary chef. With a glamorous career that includes catering the country’s most impressive venues and events; to drop a few names: Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, the Lord Mayor’s Banquet and Buckingham Palace’s Garden Parties. It is nevertheless his incredible length of service at The Open golf championship (a whopping 42 years!) which Malcolm credits as the most defining aspect of his working-life to date.

Malcolm Emery

Principal Chef, Malcolm Emery

Since his first Open in 1975, Malcolm has seen the competition change dramatically, witnessing its incredible growth first hand. One of the key challenges and pleasures in his preparation for The Open is the event’s annually changing location. Whilst other Sodexo hospitality events – such as Royal Ascot and Henley Royal Regatta – are held in the same location each year, The Open is a somewhat nomadic championship. Each location presents its own unique set of surprises, of which Malcom and his team have unfailingly overcome via working in temporary structures and managing the logistics of delivering supplies to the middle of a course.

Malcolm, most recently, was instrumental in overseeing the opening of The Champions Club restaurant. The Club includes roaming waiters offering a selection of pre-lunch canapés, chefs serving a variety of bistro style classics and savoury snacks from a central station and a quirky, centrepiece garden with large bar area. The experience allows guests to enjoy the luxuries of fine food and flexibility, as they are able to drop in at any time rather than having to book.

Planning is a crucial consideration at The Open, with 700 covers being served each day, innovation and quality are of paramount importance. A different menu is presented each day, including everything from a full Scottish breakfast to a five-course lunch and afternoon tea. The key to Malcolm’s success is his enthusiasm to discover new recipes, the best local fare and new ways of food preparation, a pursuit which involves participating in food innovation tours and study groups as well as working closely with his supply team.

The last 42 years have seen The Open and its culinary offerings evolve in leaps and bounds. And one thing is certain; whether at this internationally renowned sporting event, or at any number of other beautiful venues, with Malcolm at the helm, the catering is sure to score a hole in one.

For further details on Hospitality at The Open, go to https://www.theopen.com/  or contact Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events on 0845 6055 699 or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Scots & English unite at Hadrian’s Wall

A wall, built by the Romans to protect England from the Scots, has brought the two nations together – and will form the focal point at a North East wedding.

Newcastle University students Stuart Brown and Fran Lalor fell in love while taking part in an archaeological dig at Hadrian’s Wall. Now the pair are preparing to tie the knot next to a giant model of the structure at Newcastle’s Great North Museum: Hancock.

The happy couple at another of their favourite sites, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu

The couple (who now live in Manchester) will travel north for their wedding, where they’ll exchange their vows facing a 1:4700 scale model of the 73-mile long wall, built to serve as the northern frontier of the mighty Roman Empire.

The groom, Stuart, whose mother’s family are from Scotland, will wear his kilt for the ceremony, which will be attended by around 15 close family members and friends, in November.

Hadrian's Wall near sunset at Walltown

Hadrian’s Wall, a World Heritage Site in the beautiful Northumberland National Park.

The pair met while taking part in a two week dig at the wall’s Birdoswald fort during a summer break in their Ancient History and Archaeology honours degree course at Newcastle University, “so it really means a lot to us,” said bride, Fran.

“We have great memories of studying in Newcastle and, of course, of The Wall, so it’s great to be holding our wedding in a venue which unites those two places.”

The Great North Museum’s interactive model of the Wall, its forts and milecastles, forms the centrepiece of a gallery and, quite significantly, houses the gold Aemelia Ring – believed to be one of the earliest Christian artefacts found in Britain, with this romantic symbolism making their wedding at GNM:H very special indeed.

For further information about holding weddings at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ venues, call 0844 856 1074, e-mail events@twmuseums.co.uk or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Al Fresco Yoga at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

By midsummer, our thoughts (and meal plans) revolve around long balmy evenings, bright summer mornings and al fresco dining.

And so – with this in mind – The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have embraced sunshine, sustenance and… serenity with their summer series of Yoga Breakfasts.

The first in a series of three took place last weekend overlooking RBGE’s beautiful biodiversity pond and gardens; the sessions are hosted outdoors, on the peaceful and newly refurbished terrace of the John Hope Gateway Restaurant.

The classes have been created in partnership with world-renowned athletic apparel brand, lululemon, from whom we’ve borrowed expert Hatha yoga educator, Pam Echiverria. Hatha yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing, boosting physical and mental wellbeing, and so supports Sodexo’s ethos of improving quality of life.

After a good stretch and gentle meditation, guests indulged in a healthy breakfast. Hosted in the refreshed Gateway Restaurant, the menus included ingredients from RBGE’s very own market-garden, a ¾ acre vegetable plot within the grounds. Their full time gardener grows produce for all catering operations throughout the site and works closely with the team to ensure the finest and freshest ingredients are included in the dishes.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Yoga Breakfasts are the perfect way to use this new space, to explore and experience the restaurant and gardens it in a way it’s never been experienced before.

Click here to learn more about the Yoga Breakfasts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

For more summer event options check out our summer brochure too!

Or contact us on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

A Night at The Museum: team building & treasure hunts at IWM London

Team-building activities at IWM London are all about exploration and innovation.

Offered as part of the Day Delegate Package and for those booking an evening dinner or reception, The Imperial War Museum now offers an interactive treasure hunt to corporate clients! Peyton Events – who manage conferencing and banqueting at IWM London – worked with entertainment specialists, Wildgoose, to develop the experience. The trail is great fun, a greater challenge and makes the most of IWM’s fantastic and fascinating exhibitions: allowing participants engage with stories surrounding war in a unique and exciting way.

Showcased in April, guests were split into different teams and each team was given a tablet loaded with challenges and a map. They then navigated around the game-screen unlocking a series of rooms, answering questions and completing tasks: multiple choice questions, video challenges, taking photos and locating invisible treasures.

That evening, Peyton Events also re-designed its food offering for those taking part, with informal food stations and bowl dishes replacing a formal buffet or seated meal. Vodka cured smoked salmon blinis and bowls of five spice and honey roasted duck with Asian slaw and citrus dressing were served to fuel the fun. Classic dessert options such as miniature Eton mess and Pimm’s strawberry and cucumber jelly shots were a great touch and throw-back to a simpler time.

The treasure hunt took guests through a variety of spaces, including the building’s magnificent Atrium – the main hall, featuring a rare Battle of Britain Spitfire suspended from the 25m high vaulted ceiling. This journey demonstrated what IWM London has to offer as an exemplary events and conferencing venue – a versatile, contemporary and culturally engaged space – though we think guests were a little too involved in finding hidden treasures at the time…

For further information about events and conferencing at IWM London contact Peyton Events on 020 3637 5200 or info@peytonevents.co.uk

Or, to learn more about Prestige Venues & Events’ summer packages check out our summer brochure here

Promotion, Pies & the Premier League: Part 2

St. James’ Park stadium, a true landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne, is home to Newcastle United Football Club. The team were recently crowned Champions having secured a promotion to the Premier League after their 4-1 win against Preston North End this April.

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The Newcastle United team celebrate their promotion

The Club’s history has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. This will be the Club’s second return to the top flight in seven years; having previously been relegated back in 2009 and bouncing straight back to the Premiership in the summer of 2010. Six years in the Premier League were then abruptly halted with relegation in 2016. However the club, headed by Rafa Benitez, returned back to the top at the first opportunity, proving that they are well and truly a top flight team in every sense.

Sodexo has provided catering at the stadium for the last seven years and shared this promotion-journey with them. We caught up with Frankie Angus, General Manager, who talked about what the promotion means for the club and the catering team moving forward.

What has the journey been like to secure promotion?

An emotional rollercoaster to say the least! The Championship brings so many more matches to the table.  We have provided hospitality at 27 home games this season including league, competition and friendly matches – far more than previous years in the Premier League. After a disappointing start, we picked up the pace and by mid-October we remained in 1st and 2nd position in the league table until the end of the season.  Our hospitality has always been of Premiership standard and therefore as a catering-provider our service has always remained top flight quality.  Following our match against Preston North End which secured promotion, we were then challenged with the chance of being hailed Champions, approaching the last two games with a 7 point deficit against Brighton. We were crowned Champions on the last game of the season and the celebration roar from the crowd could be heard for miles around.

How has your journey to the Premier League affected day to day operations?

We’ve always thought and operated like a Premier League club so we’ve not really seen a huge difference. From the start of the season, our crowds have always remained high, due to the immense passion in the city for the football club.  Crowd numbers haven’t faltered all season and averaged 51,000 at home games.  Our hospitality numbers have also remained strong all season, however, following our promotion we were completely sold out in all hospitality areas, with over 2,500 hospitality guests attending the last game of the season. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have nine years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly.

What does being promoted to the Premier league mean to you all?

It’s a big operation here at St. James’ Park. We have a team of 65 and on match day we can have 1000 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. When Rafa, our First Team Manager decided to stay at St James’ Park at the end of the 2015/16 season we all knew that we were in safe hands and confident he could get us back to top flight football.  His passion and desire to succeed is emulated throughout our whole business and we all strive to be the best.  Now that we are back in the Premier League we can prove that’s where we should always be.  We are United in every sense and the forthcoming season is going to be very exciting.

Looking forward to next season, what can we expect to see?

Our Stadium Manager is constantly refurbishing the stadium both on the concourses and in the hospitality areas, so this year is no exception.  Plans are in place to refurbish 3 of our hospitality suites and also to improve our onsite car parking areas surrounding the stadium.  Less matches in the Premier League doesn’t mean we will be any less busy.  Plans are continuing to expand on menu offerings on matchdays while ensuring our hospitality remains second to none.

For more information about St. James’ Park visit www.nufc.co.uk

Hampden Park’s New Look

Last month, Hampden Park football stadium – known proudly as Scotland’s National Stadium and situated in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow – unveiled a luxurious, new suite of event spaces.

The refurbishment resulted in the rebranding of 26 executive boxes. Now known sonorously as ‘Skyboxes,’ this new title denotes their extraordinary vantage point over the pitch. Decorated in a modern style, with sleek, minimalist fittings and colourful new furniture, they’ve been ‘kitted’ out with the latest technology too, supporting corporate clients in hosting board room lunches and meetings at the venue.

Hoping to attract a more versatile events business, the space is now more flexible than ever – boxes can be joined together to create rooms double or even quadruple their original size. Plus, if you want to get closer to the feeling of football, or create a break-out space for events, access to outdoor pitch-side seating (and some glorious, brisk Scottish air) is easily accessible.

SkyBox

The spaces’ breath-taking views and new look have already been met with admiration, as Peter Dallas, Hampden Park Ltd’s Managing Director, stated: “We are extremely pleased our vibrant new Skybox concept has received such positive reviews from our visitors so quickly. Working in partnership with our long-standing partner Sodexo, Hampden now offers conferencing and banqueting facilities that are amongst the best in the country.”

Hampden Park’s renovations also extended to their North Stand lounge, transforming it into a contemporary events space and re-dubbing it the ‘Skylounge.’. Now suitable for both private and corporate bookings (whereas before this space was reserved only for match-day hospitality guests), the lounge has a generous capacity of 150 persons.

Hampden SkyLounge © Sandy Young

SkyLounge

The new designs accommodate all types of visitors to Hampden Park; from events guests to football fans, the local business community and beyond. Despite being one of the oldest football institutions in the country (with the first Hampden Park stadium, originally at a different site, dating back to the 17th century) this stadium is clearly stealing a march on the stadia competition.

Did this spark your interest? If so, check out our article ‘10 Reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Driving away inequality with Edinburgh Food Social

We recently teamed up with partners Edinburgh Food Social (EFS) and unveiled a brand-new food truck to tackle food inequality in the Scottish capital.

This exciting, new project between ourselves and EFS aims to provide cookery education to schools and communities in Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh Food Social © Lesley Martin 2017

The social enterprise was set up by City Businesswoman, Eleanor Cunningham, who also runs the Edinburgh Larder cafes and catering business in the city. Eleanor successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign last year to raise funds for the project, raising a total of £10,000. We also pledged our support behind the venture by providing a financial donation, as well as forming a long-term partnership with the not-for-profit organisation. The relationship will see our chefs and catering staff leading workshops and sharing their knowledge with participants of the food truck initiative.

Eleanor said: “We want to encourage young people and their parents to cook more and found that many families felt they didn’t have the skills to prepare a wholesome meal from scratch using accessible, fresh ingredients. We want to give people the confidence to cook again and to teach them that healthy eating does not need to be expensive. So far we’ve been able to deliver healthy eating and cooking programmes to six schools in Edinburgh, as well as taking part in the two-day ‘Power of Food’ festival which celebrates community gardens and seasonal produce. We can now expand the initiative and will be unveiling a series of workshops, cookery classes and school visits later this year, where the food truck will act as a mobile classroom and provide a purpose-built kitchen.”

Chair Eleanor Cunningham

Founder, Eleanor Cunningham

Our very own Sandy Robson, who is working on the project with EFS, also commented: “At Sodexo we are passionate about local food and sharing our skills with the next generation. Learning to cook can be the first step in developing a passion for food, this in turn can lead to a rewarding and diverse career in hospitality. We hope that together with EFS, we can extend beyond simply improving the quality of dishes that families cook together and encourage some of the young people to consider a career in hospitality.”

The food truck was officially launched with the help of Gracemount High School, whose pupils have already benefited from the exciting project.

For further information about the initiative visit www.edinburghlarder.co.uk/socialenterprise/

The season never has to end… 10 reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

 

1.Plenty of free parking onsite. No matter how good the meeting, delegates will always begrudge paying for parking at an event, or event struggling to find parking at all.

2.Easy to get to. Stadiums often have easy access to railways nearby and great road links.

3.An excellent view.  Many of today’s stadiums features lounges with pitch views.  This feature is one that is impressive to both sports and non-sports fans.

4.A sporting message. A sports stadium lends itself immediately to events with team work and success related objectives.  “Get back into the Game”, “What it takes to Win”, “getting to the Top of our League”, “Teamwork will help Drive Us”, and of course, the reference to goals is a natural tie-in.

5.Unique Style. Although built for a specific purpose, each stadium has its own particular character, which is driven by the colourful history of its home teams. This type of historical reference creates a unique quality in the venue that cannot be matched by another.

Headingley Experience

Headingley Experience

6.Quirky ‘extras.’ Events in the players’ changing rooms, plenary’s delivered from the stands, unique team photo opportunities –elements like these bring a new twist to events, that just cannot be duplicated in a non-stadium venue.

7.Universal appeal Whether it’s a small meeting for ten in a box, a large conference for 350, an exhibition, wedding or a dinner dance, the variety of spaces in a stadium ensure that it’s likely somewhere in the stadium will suit your event.

8.Space and plenty of it. Stadiums feature multiple lounges and boxes, usually allowing multiple events to be on site at the same time. The added bonus here is late lead-in flexibility, so when half the boxes are booked, there are still another batch available for last minute enquiries who may be stuck finding space at short notice.

9.A local message.  If your event is trying to deliver a message about the local market and community, the local sporting stadium is the ideal community location from which to deliver that message to the delegates.

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Angus the bull, Aberdeen FC

10.A memorable event . Every delegate who attends an event at a stadium, remembers that they went to an event at a stadium!

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Centuries old, still fresh: Chefs revive recipes from Blair Castle’s archives

We are lucky to work in some of the country’s most prestigious and historic venues, whether as the full-time caterer or for one-off events. Just being in these spaces provides a wealth of inspiration. For our chefs at Blair Castle – a stunning stately home and visitor attraction in Highland Perthshire – the recent Highlanders’ Parade provided the perfect occasion to get creative and pay homage to the venue’s own Highland army.

The Atholl Highlanders are Europe’s only remaining private army and are based at Blair Castle. More than 1500 visitors descend on the venue on the last weekend of May to watch their annual march. Keen to ensure the food played a central role in the celebration, Head Chef, George Urquhart, teamed up with the Castle’s own archivist to study and translate centuries’ old recipes stored in the attraction’s records, choosing three to re-create to serve to guests attending the May parade.

The dishes, which were added to the menu in the Tullibardine Restaurant, included Roe Deer Mariane – a very slow cooked venison stew, which in the 18th century would have taken almost a month to prepare, and Essence of Beef – a pulled beef dish served with mash and spring greens. This recipe was shared with the Atholl family’s cook during a trip to Westminster in the early 1900s.

Sweet treat Gingerbread was offered for desert with local tipple, Atholl Brose – which is similar to Baileys but consists of oats, honey and whisky (and is available to buy from the gift shop). According to local legend, the drink is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl, who quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the well of the rebel leader with this mixture. It is said that the enemy enjoyed the drink so much he passed out and was easily captured.

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Roe Deer Mariane, Essence of Beef & Atholl Brose

Chef George Urquhart, of Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at Blair Castle, said: “We wanted to create a really special dining experience on what is a spectacular and historic day for the Castle. What better way than to leap in to the archives and take inspiration from the cooks that have gone before us.

“Despite changes in modern technology and cooking styles, it was very humbling to discover that these old recipes reflected the core ethos of the restaurant today – to serve hearty, Scottish fayre using the best local ingredients available.”

Chef Gordon Urquhart and Castle Archivist Keren Guthrie 2 (2)

Chef Gordon Urquhart & Castle Archivist, Keren Guthrie

As well as discovering recipes for hearty meals, the archivist also unearthed guides to medicinal potions, such as a cure for ‘The Vapours’ (hysteria and fainting) dating from 1690, which involved collecting and soaking woodlice in whisky, before crushing the mixture and drinking it on an empty stomach twice a day! Seems like Chef George chose the right recipes for the celebration.

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.