Let It Shine: Knebworth goes the whole hog this summer!

Corporate clients can go the whole hog – and enjoy all the fun of the fair this summer – at Knebworth House.

The iconic venue is opening its 250 acre grounds to businesses looking for some summer party fun or a team building event with a difference.

The team at the venue have created a range of special packages for social and business guests to enjoy including everything from street food and hog roasts to fairground rides and “It’s a Knockout” style games.

A basic Summer Party BBQ option is on offer which includes hire of the Cobbold barn and garden in Knebworth’s grounds, a barbecue, giant garden games and access to Knebworth Park, Gardens, the adventure playground and the dinosaur trail.

Alternatively, those looking to do something that little bit different for a company away day or family fun day can opt for specialist packages which include full catering and event organising services, guided tours of Knebworth House and Gardens and a huge range of fun activities including inflatables, fairgrounds rides, school sports day-style races and motorised activities.

Knebworth Kart

Knebworth Kart

Hog roasts are also available during the summer months for parties of 100 guests or more and make a great alternative to BBQ’s or street food options.

All you need then is good weather but no worries if not – there is plenty of space inside if you need to take cover!

For further information about special summer packages at Knebworth House or at other venues within our portfolio visit: http://bit.ly/2slp5bn

Download our Let It Shine guide with more venues and ideas for summer on this blog too!

Let It Shine! Summer 2017 with Prestige Venue & Events

View our Let It Shine brochure for Summer ’17

We’re getting into the spirit of summer with a new venue guide that highlights the very best of this sweetest, steamiest season.

Prestige Venues & Events present summer packages and events for business and leisure alike; from family fun days and team building activities, to outdoor dining and English garden parties.

Our Let It Shine guide focuses on offers from May to September at outstanding venues, such as The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Brighton’s state-of-the-art Amex Stadium, and includes hospitality packages for iconic British events, like Royal Ascot, Jardin Blanc at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and The Open Championship.

Our chefs have created menus that embrace the summer and use colourful, seasonal produce. With barbecues and hog roasts available to private hire guests at Knebworth House, as well as the venue opening up its grounds for  “It’s A Knockout” and sports day-style team building activities (because all work and no play…).

Knebworth House

Knebworth House

Barbecues are also on the agenda at Edinburgh Corn Exchange and The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  Perth Racecourse is teaming finger-licking BBQ food with a vintage-style funfair, whereas Aberdeen Football Club will be taking ‘pride’ in special screenings of the Lion King at their drive-in cinema.

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The Lion King at Aberdeen FC

Cinema-inspired treats also feature in the summer offer at Leeds’ Headingley Carnegie Stadium, which is sweetening corporate events with popcorn and pick and mix, mini ice creams and chocolate bars or – for a healthier option – fruit kebabs, mixed nuts and seeds.

In the capital the Thames takes centre stage, with restaurant cruise Bateaux London hosting rooftop parties aboard their Scandinavian-designed vessel, The Harmony. Guests can enjoy an off-the-grill menu in a setting of flowers, fruit trees and the backdrop of London’s most famous sights.

Further up river, the recently launched Bateaux Windsor is offering a prosecco reception for guests, followed by a formal dinner, as the boat glides through one of England’s most historic, picturesque towns.

From a quintessentially English town, to a traditionally English pastime: The Apex and The Athenaeum – both in Bury St Edmunds – are swapping lunch for afternoon tea this summer, with a free bottle of fizz to enjoy in the sunshine.

Event organisers who feel summer just wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Pimms (correct!) should head to Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, where it will feature in post-conference drinks receptions, alongside mini strawberry tarts.

Event guests at three of Tyneside’s top museums – Discovery, the Laing Art Gallery and The Great North Museum: Hancock – will also be offered seasonal drinks in the form of fruit punch at lunchtime. While IWM London, one of the capital’s leading visitor attractions, is serving post-conference classic cocktails.

Also in London, thrill seekers can mix business with pleasure at Emirates Aviation Experience , where they can take the controls of a flight simulator before relaxing on a terrace that overlooks the Thames – a great team building day out.

Other team building activity days can be found at Glasgow’s Hampden Park Stadium – where clients can follow in the ‘bootsteps’ of their heroes and become footballers for a day – and the city’s Hamilton Park Racecourse, which runs a variety of group activities too.

The word famous Ascot Racecourse is available for team building activities this summer in its gorgeous grounds. Plus, those who book before 31 October 2017 can enjoy a 10 per cent discount.

Ice cream and lollies can be added to day delegate packages at Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park Stadium and Belfast’s The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, while Newcastle United’s St James’ Park ground is giving guests a Purely Belter package, with bacon rolls on arrival and unlimited tea and coffee throughout the day.

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St James’s Park Ground

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

A racecourse refurbished: Hamilton Park’s new dining & event spaces

Unveiled in-line with the excitement of racing season (running, or should we say galloping, from May – September 2017) Hamilton Park’s hospitality and event areas have undergone an extensive refurbishment.

This bright, beautiful and white building has been drawing in punters for almost a century, attracted by venue’s reputation for mixing quality racing with glamour and entertainment. Situated in over 20 acres of idyllic green lawns, it’s hard to believe that the racecourse is only 15 miles from Glasgow’s City Centre; attracting guests from all over Scotland and the North of England to their beautifully appointed hospitality areas and uninterrupted views of the action.

The Dukes Suite

The Dukes Suite

With a new, bold aesthetic, Duke’s Suite (also known as the Duke’s Bar & Restaurant) has adopted cool new flooring, teal blue walls and contemporary furniture. The dining room can comfortably seat 160 guests for race-day dinners and lunches and, otherwise, makes a funky event suite. The perfect room for that something blue during wedding receptions…

The Panorama Bar has also adopted blue walls and new, modern furnishings. The space is open plan, with light flooding in through room-length windows and creating a social, spacious environment. The new AC system (also installed in The Duke’s Suite) allows guests to keep their cool in the clamour and excitement of race days.

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The Hill

The biggest change however, is to that of the Conservatory Café. Renamed The Hill, it is now a family friendly bar and eatery with a brand new outdoor serving area. This offers guests the chance to grab a bite to eat al fresco whilst enjoying stunning views across the parade-ring. The interior is chic, with arches stretching across high ceilings, painted pillars and wooden, art-deco flooring.

Hamilton Park Racecourse

Hamilton Park Racecourse

The re-design was confirmed after the signing of a new, 10-year contract with Sodexo (Prestige Venues & Events’ parent company), which allowed Hamilton Park to invest for the renovations. The Hamilton Park Trust ploughs back all profits into developing the course, constantly improving the racecourse’s facilities and customer experience – making Hamilton Park Racecourse first past the post when it comes to style, events and hospitality

Discover more about race-days, events and hiring spaces at Hamilton Park here: https://hamilton-park.co.uk/

Promotion, Pies and the Premier League

The American Express (AMEX) Community Stadium, nestled in the South Downs is home to Brighton & Hove Albion football club who recently made it into the Premier League after a 2-1 win over Wigan a few weeks ago.
The club’s history has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. Their return to the top flight will be only its second time in its history and just over 20 years ago the club narrowly missed relegation from the Football League altogether.
Sodexo have provided catering at the stadium for the last four years and shared the promotion journey with them so we caught up with Tony Crosbie, General Manager to talked about all things football and 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! We came so close to promotion last year and finished 3rd in the Championship with just 2 goals in it so we all felt a bit sorry for ourselves at the end of the season. However we pulled ourselves together and by the start of this season we’ve been top of the league all the way. By late October you could really feel that promotion could be possible. We just kept getting better and better with some of the matches being sell outs and revenue being at an all-time high so we knew we could be onto something big and we were.
How has your journey to promotion 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. Obviously in the run up to promotion we saw much bigger crowds and guests making the most of our hospitality so that was challenging to make sure we had enough to cater for everybody. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have four years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly. At the Wigan game we saw some of our highest figures yet with 25,000 pints being sold as well as 6,500 pies.
What does being promoted to the Premier League mean to you all?
It’s a big operation here at the AMEX. We have a team of 37 and on match day we can have over 500 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. This is something we’ve all wanted for such a long time so to finally achieve it means a lot to us all.
Looking forward to next season what can we expect to see?
A totally new concept in terms of hospitality with the development of a steak house grill which will open just in time for the start of the season on the 6th August. Even though there will be less games for us to play in the Premier League (19 in fact) we will undoubtedly be under the microscope a lot more so it’s really important that our menus reflect our status in the Premier League as well as consistently delivering on quality. We can also expect our match day experiences to be running at 100% capacity so we will be looking at the menus in more detail and making sure they reflect our status moving forward. We also hope to win a few more awards at the Stadium Experience Awards next month too. We’ve been shortlisted in 6 categories so we’re hoping for even more things to celebrate!
For more information about Brighton & Hove Albion visit http://www.seagulls.co.uk/
For more information about AMEX Community Stadium, its facilities and hospitality experiences click here.

Introducing Royal Ascot’s newest experience – The Village

For the first time in more than 100 years a new enclosure is all set to open at Royal Ascot (20th – 24th June) this year. The new Village Enclosure will provide a surprising, exciting and vibrant setting for racegoers to experience and offer a totally new perspective for all to enjoy. It will also give racegoers the best view of all the racing action from its location on the inside of the track looking back towards the final Furlong with Ascot’s iconic Grandstand as a backdrop.


Showcasing the best of contemporary British summertime, the Village Enclosure has a totally unique style and tempo of its own. It’s best described as a ‘pop-up’ summer scene comprising of informal boutique dining experiences, Al Fresco eateries, creative bars, and an eclectic mix of music throughout the day and into the evening.
A picturesque bandstand is the centrepiece of the village green, along with two other stages where there will be a mix of live brass, jazz and funk throughout the day. As the sun goes down the party continues with host sets from live bands and DJs taking place on the main stage. There will also be a range of on-the-go stalls to sit-down casual dining where there will be a broad food offering. Cocktails, mocktails and Champagne will of course be served throughout the day.


The Village Enclosure is only open on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Royal Ascot, with an exclusive after race party going on until 9pm. Hospitality upgrades are available within the Village Enclosure itself including The Restaurant in the VillageVilliers in the Village and Gazebos in the Village  which will provide private dining space for up to 16 people. The Restaurant in the Village is without doubt Ascot’s take on English eccentricity!  It promises to be the place where guests should expect the unexpected although be save in the knowledge of a truly memorable day. We can’t wait to see what it’s all about- can you?


Don’t miss the video tour to whet your appetite.

For further information about the Village Enclosure and all the experiences available visit https://www.ascot.co.uk/royal-ascot-village-enclosure

A distillery amongst the dahlias

For the first time in UK events-history, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will host a mobile distillery, within their pop up restaurant, Jardin Blanc. Warner Edwards, one of Britain’s top craft gins, will up-root its smallest still from Falls Farm in Northamptonshire, to serve a bespoke gin to the restaurant’s guests and diners.

Known for their unique, silky smooth, artisanal spirits, Warner Edwards use spring water that runs below the farm, with botanical ingredients freshly picked from rolling Northants countryside. The craft-gin brand have created an original, flora-inspired recipe for the occasion.  This newest flavour (aptly named Jardin Blanc) will use botanics sourced from Falls Farm mixed with some specially picked ingredients from the Jardin Blanc itself, to create an exclusive gin measuring at a powerful 43%!

The still, ‘Satisfaction,’ is itself one of a kind. Small enough to be portable, it allows guests the opportunity to learn about the craft of gin-distilling, adding further to the experiential offer of Jardin Blanc and to the enjoyment of a mid-afternoon G&T!

Warner Edwards are passionate about food, drink and farming, evident in the way they lovingly handcraft each bottle of gin and produce refreshingly creative (emphasis on the refreshing) flavours steeped in provenance: Victoria’s Rhubarb and Harrington Elderflower two of the most popular. These principles match joyfully with those of Raymond Blanc OBE, the chef patron at Jardin Blanc. Both are as excited to work with each other as the next, with Tom Warner, founder of Warner Edwards, stating “Raymond is a real hero in our eyes, not only is he an incredible chef but he has real heart behind his cooking.”

We’ll cheers to that. Gin-gin!

Find out more about Warner Edwards and their gins here.

Or, discover more about Jardin Blanc here, the secret garden restaurant at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

 

A journey down the Thames – Part 2

A few weeks ago we set off on a journey down the River Thames stopping off at some famous and historic landmarks on the way including Henley Royal Regatta, Bateaux Windsor, Hampton Court and the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the RHS Flower Show.

This time we pick up our travels right in the heart of the city at Embankment Pier which is a busy hub for river boats and home to Bateaux London, the leading provider of Thames dining cruise experiences. The concept launched in 1992 with its first boat Symphony serving delicious food to guests whilst cruising up and down the Thames. It was later joined by Harmony, a Scandinavian cruise-liner in 2012 which has the largest open viewing deck on the Thames. Today both boats entertain thousands of guests on their lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or Sunday Jazz cruises as well as being a popular venue for private events. New for 2017 is the Harmony Roof Garden – a haven of flowers and fruit trees with a make –your-own drink bar and stylish street food menu to enjoy the summer sun!

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Bateaux London – The open viewing deck of The Harmony

Travelling east our next stop is The Crystal, one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. Located on the waterfront in East London it is home to the world’s largest exhibition on the future of cities, a sustainable events venue and office space for global engineering powerhouse Siemens. Since opening its doors in 2012 it has become a global hub for debate on sustainable living and development and welcomed over 100,000 visitors a year to its interactive exhibition.

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The Crystal by Siemens – a sustainable building landmark

 

The building itself is renowned for setting the benchmark for sustainable building design. It is the only building in the world to achieve the highest certification in both the BREEAM and LEED schemes, as well as many other accreditations.

The café has also recently undergone a total refurbishment with interesting displays for visitors to look at whilst enjoying the latest culinary delight. If you have a latte on the outdoor terrace you will be able to look across at our final destination, the Emirates Aviation Experience which is located next door to the Emirates Air Line overlooking the Thames on the Greenwich Peninsula.

This unique experience opened in 2013 and covers over 300 square metres with two floors making use of state-of-the-art technology, interactive displays and life-size aircraft models to bring the exciting world of modern aviation to life. The venue also features a genuine Rolls Royce jet engine which shows the inner workings of one of the most powerful engines currently in operation and the world’s first public facing commercial flight simulators of their kind; two Airbus A380s and two Boeing B777s, utilising full landscape visuals, allowing visitors to practice their take-off and landing skills at popular destinations worldwide. A great experience to share with your family or as part of a team building session with colleagues.

For further information about all of the above venues and events visit http://www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com/

A journey down the Thames

The River Thames starts as a small trickle in the Cotswolds and travels over 210 miles through the heart of some of England’s most picturesque towns, right into the centre of London and eventually, out into the North Sea. With plenty to see and do along the route we thought we’d take you on a virtual journey and perhaps stop off at a few interesting places along the way.

We start the journey at Henley on Thames which was recently voted by the Times as one of the best places to live in the English countryside. It’s also the home of Henley Royal Regatta which undoubtedly is the highlight of both the summer sporting and social calendar. The first event was held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since (except the two World Wars). It gained royal patronage in 1851 and it was originally staged as a public attraction with a fair. The emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose and over the years it has grown to its current form of five days which this year takes place on the 28th June – 2nd July.

Moving further down the river to Windsor you’ll find a beautiful and historic destination. Home to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen’s favourite weekend home. Its newest experience is Bateaux Windsor – the only one of its kind in the area and the sister company to Bateaux London. This elegant dining cruise delivers delicious dishes to passengers and enables guests to see the sights whilst cruising down the river.

WINDSOR

From one royal residence to another, next stop is Hampton Court which can be best described as the ‘story of two palaces’: a Tudor palace, established by Cardinal Wolsey and made even more magnificent by Henry VIII, alongside a baroque palace built by William III and Mary II. Today the palace is a successful visitor attraction as well as home to the world’s largest, annual flower show which takes place every July. The first RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was held in 1990 and it now welcomes over 130,000 visitors every year with this year’s event due to take place on the 4th – 9th July.

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Fireworks on The Long Water at Hampton Court Palace

Moving east to the Royal Hospital Chelsea which of course has been the home of our beloved Chelsea Pensioners for over 325 years. The Royal Hospital is a Grade I and II listed building which was left to the Chelsea Pensioners by Charles II and Sir Christopher Wren and continues to be home for over 300 army veterans. It’s also the home to RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23rd – 27th May 2017) which takes place every year in the grounds of the hospital. This high profile event inspires millions through showcasing the best in garden design. This year’s event sees the return of Jardin Blanc; the second year of Raymond Blanc’s special horticultural hospitality experience. Nestled in a peaceful corner of the show, Jardin Blanc offers a variety of unique options for day and evening entertainment with the finest food and fantastic flowers.

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Keep checking the blog for part two of our journey down the Thames in the next few weeks – we’ll be visiting Bateaux London, The Crystal and the Emirates Aviation Experience – see you then!

For further information about all of the above venues and events visit http://www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com/

The Future of Farming: we spoke to Growing Underground as they prepare for Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Last week, we went to visit salad farming start-up and suppliers to our Chelsea Flower Show hospitality offer, Jardin Blanc: Growing Underground.

Growing Underground grow fresh (and mouth-wateringly tasty!) micro greens and salad leaves using almost completely sustainable practices. The farm is based underground in a series of World War II –built tunnels – used as bomb shelters during this time – that sit 33 meters below the streets of Clapham.

Using the latest hydroponic systems and LED technology, their crops are grown all year-round in a pesticide-free environment. The hydroponics system uses 70% less water than traditional open-field farming and ensures that all nutrients are kept within the closed-loop system. Plus, GU drastically reduce the miles their leaves travel by keeping produce local – the leaves can be in your kitchen within 4 hours of being picked and packed!

Dressed in our best hair-nets, white coats and wellingtons (to protect the plants from any pollutants) we were given a tour of Growing Underground’s warren. The tunnels are extensive, running from Clapham high-street to the middle of The Common. They hum with machinery and glow neon-pink with LED lights. There are also a few quieter, darker tunnels that remain empty and still represent a bygone time: the space is an uncanny clash of future and past.

Founded by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, in partnership with celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr, the company’s initiative is to promote sustainable farming in the UK and beyond. The idea was born out of Richard and Steven’s interest futurism, sustainability and urban farming, along with the pairs’ robust business acumen.

This year at Jardin Blanc, Growing Underground’s micro herbs are a main feature; with their greens displayed in ornate miniature greenhouses at the centre of dining tables. Guest will be encouraged to select and snip their own herbs, then add to their dishes to personalise and enhance. Plus, the restaurant’s Executive Chef, Raymond Blanc OBE, will be using a bespoke combination of leaves – rocket, radish, red mustard, coriander and fennel – to make the menu pop!

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Excited to work with Growing Underground again, The Royal Horticultural Society invited Richard to give a talk at the very first London Urban Garden Show in November 2016. The event explored the challenges of urban growing through the ages, with Growing Underground discussing its future, including technology and new, prospective models of urban growing capable of feeding our global population.

*We didn’t know what this meant either! The definition of hydroponic is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil.

For more information on Jardin Blanc at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flowers Show click here.

Football, food and awards with Izzy Christiansen

Isobel Christiansen (known as Izzy) is at the top of her game. Winner of consecutive Women’s Superleague Championships, the Continental Tyres Cup and also winning the personal accolade of Women’s PFA Player of the Year (sponsored by Sodexo) she is one to watch in Women’s Football.

We caught up with Izzy recently and discussed all things football, training regimes, diet as well as what it means to her to win such an accolade.

“Our training regime is periodised, so we work on a 4 week schedule where the weeks get harder and harder and the fourth week is used as a rest week. The only difference between a normal week and a rest week is that the timings of training adjust a little bit so it’s reduced time. The intensity is kept the same to ensure you sustain a match level of fitness.” Izzy also admits to enjoying all aspects of training when asked which exercises she dreads, “I’m quite a geek and like learning, to know why we do things. I enjoy working with the technical, tactical team out on the training field and also working with the sports science team who provide the science behind what we do.”

Izzy suffered an injury in one of the opening games of the season so it would have been easy for Izzy to let her head go down, but she is a resilient young woman and explained, “I was obviously really disappointed to have worked so hard during our pre-season period and then to get injured. It’s part of the game though and injuries certainly adjust your diet and your training.”

Like any normal woman in her 20’s she confesses to loving chocolate, “It’s definitely my weak point”, and hankers after the comfort of her mum’s home cooking, particularly roast dinners. However, her determination and commitment to her sport mean that she takes nutrition seriously and explains, “Where we are now with Women’s football, diet has become even more integral than it was 5-10 years ago. As with any professional sport there’s a key amount of science that goes in to what we need to eat and why we need to eat it. Again, I’m really interested in that side of things and I find it quite easy to maintain a good diet. My diet mainly consists of lots of vegetables, very good protein sources, carbohydrates when needed to fuel training and fuel the games, and increasing protein intake for recovery post training.”

Izzy is very much a star in her own right, having been voted by her peers as the PFA Women’s Player of the Year 2016, something she describes as being a “huge honour” but also “a massive shock”. On the back of winning consecutive Women’s FA Super League titles with Manchester City, her views on the future of the women’s game are similarly positive, “The amount of progress it’s made over the past 5 years is phenomenal really. I think the more teams that we can get the wider the participation. We can improve the standard of the players coming through to strengthen the league and make it bigger, make the league more competitive.”

The PFA Awards 2017 are taking place on the 23rd April where the new Women’s Players’ Player of the Year will be announced, and also the Young Women’s Players’ Player of the Year – both awards are sponsored by Sodexo. It will be fascinating to see the rising stars of the Women’s game, especially with the sport growing increasingly influential.

The full interview with Izzy Christiansen is available in the recent issue of Prestige magazine. Take a look here: Prestige Magazine Spring 2017

Sunday Brunch: a ‘social’ affair

A few weeks ago we launched a competition to celebrate the exclusive Jardin Blanc experience at the Chelsea Flower Show which this year takes places on the 23rd – 27th May 2017.

In return for your mouth-watering brunch pictures we are offering a range of fanciful prizes including hotel stays, champagne treats and lots more!

You’ve certainly had all the tummies rumbling in the office with pictures of your delicious dishes and tasty treats. The first of our winners was @Brinibelle with her poached eggs, salmon and spinach on toast looking totally delicious. Hannah Rowe became our second winner with her poached egg and avocado on toast creation! We particularly liked Colin Wheeler James’ entry of scrambled duck egg, oak smoked salmon and chive flowers on a toasted bagel as well as Louise Wong’s Spanish eggs with Chorizo and peppers. You may have had enough of chocolate eggs this weekend, but don’t let that put you off the savoury kind!

The competition runs until 10th May and to enter simply upload your best looking homemade brunch picture to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages with the hashtag #JardinBlancSundayBrunch

You can also enter by following the link below: http://bit.ly/2mPrCY8

Jardin Blanc, a beautiful collaboration between Raymond Blanc OBE, The RHS and Sodexo – is nestled in a peaceful corner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and offers a variety of hospitality options for day and evening – the perfect way to enjoy the show with guests and clients.

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For further information about Chelsea Flower Show and the Jardin Blanc Experience visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Food-drink/Jardin-Blanc

 

Mystery fine-dining experience showcases familiar dishes with a twist

Sodexo’s Craft & Innovation chef team created a fine-dining experience with a difference at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, for a select group of corporate and venue guests.

Led by Sodexo Divisional Executive Chef, Stephen Frost, the showcase dinner featured a mystery eight-course tasting menu, which was kept secret from guests until after the final course. The thinking behind this was to prevent individuals being influenced by some of the more unusual ingredients.

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Dishes were created specifically to mimic familiar flavours but given a twist, with chefs incorporating some quirky additions.

Highlights of the tasting experience included:

  • ELT sandwich – classic BLT ingredient bacon, was replaced with eel and served alongside lettuce, tomato and mustard, encased in a brioche bun
  • Tuna & corn – the tuna was seared and served with a very unusual sweetcorn sorbet and tuille
  • Rack of lamb – roasted and then served with wild garlic pesto and white asparagus – the perfect spring dish
  • Truffled Clava – the wheel of Scottish brie style cheese was sliced in half, stuffed with truffles and roasted; before being served alongside grapes sautéed in sherry

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Guests were also invited to take part in a canape masterclass with each member of the group provided with ingredients and encouraged to develop their own style and flavour before being judged by the Sodexo chefs.

Featuring fresh and local produce, the dinner aimed to showcase the best of Scotland’s larder and reinforce the fact that seasonal ingredients are always at the heart of Sodexo’s approach to menu creation. This experience not only demonstrated the talent and skill of our chef team, but celebrated our belief that creating a fine-dining occasion starts with great ingredients, used simply.

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For further information about fine dining contact our team on 0845 6055 699 or email VenuesandEvents.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com They can create bespoke dining experiences at a number of stunning Scottish venues including Blair Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Assembly Rooms and Dundas Castle.