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.


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


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.


For further information about fine dining contact our team on 0845 6055 699 or email 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.



Fine Dining at its best

Fine food is undoubtedly one of life’s most exquisite pleasures. A perfect culinary experience takes a diner on a multi-sensory journey, with every course creatively planned and lovingly crafted to match the mood of the occasion, season and venue.  At Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events our team of high profile chefs are connoisseurs at capturing this spirit of fine dining; skilled in creating beautiful food that delivers an impact way beyond expectation.

Ascot Racecourses Head Chef Ben Dutson and Executive Chef Gemma Amor recently designed a unique menu for a Christmas experience which echoed the anticipation of a race day with a show-stopping final course.

The menu, inspired by a recent visit to Alinea in Madrid (run by the same team behind Michelin 3-star restaurant Alinea in Chicago), Ben and Gemma developed Ascot’s ‘Gastronomic Food Journey’ experience – a unique 10-course tasting menu which created both a sense of drama and fun.

The complex menu included lots of unique and crafted techniques which created dishes such as an amuse bouche of smoked eel, soft cooked quails egg and a parsley velouté, a risotto noir with squid ink and butter-poached lobster and Wagu beef served raw on a hot stone.  Undoubtedly, the pièce de résistance was a stunning dessert involving no plates!  An aerated chocolate egg filled with praline brownie, freeze dried raspberries, yoghurt, and raspberry powder was placed on the table whilst chefs spread a colourful array of ingredients around it.  The egg was then dramatically smashed, leaving the table resembling a culinary version of a Jackson Pollock masterpiece.

Regional Executive Chef Stephen Frost is one of the creative forces working to create fine dining menus for some of our most exclusive venues and events in Scotland.

Stephen and his team of chefs take into account that food trends constantly evolve, the importance of local sourcing and relish in the art of introducing a quirky twist on the traditional to their dishes.

A recent event at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School enabled Stephen and the craft and innovation team to showcase their skills. Chefs cooked dishes from a five course menu live in front of invited guests and they were given the opportunity to help recreate dishes from the canapé selection.

Head Chef Tom Beauchamp is also experienced in creating unique, fine dining experiences. There is no better example than the recent 600 – year birthday celebration of Dundas Castle’s Auld Keep. At a preview event for 16 invited guests Tom matched the food to the castle’s story and created the atmosphere of a medieval banquet.

The table was set inside the Auld Keep’s Stag chamber and the eight-course banquet included ingredients from the Castle’s own estate including dried chive flowers and Scots pine oil extracted from tree branches.

The menu delivered intense flavours and a series of small courses such as devils on horseback using dates stuffed with fois gras, home cured duck ham, roast potato vichyssoise, West Coast scallop with pickled grapes, Roe deer tartare, a light stone bass fish course and Scottish Blackface lamb, with three types of broccoli and anchovies. Finally a chocolate pave with Hebridean sea salt, honeycomb and crème fraiche ice cream finished things off.

For further information about fine dining contact our team on 0845 6055 699 or email

Making mum feel like a million dollars

Every mum should feel like a million dollars on Mother’s Day and that’s why some of our quirkiest, most interesting and best loved venues are putting her firmly centre stage on 26 March.
Thames restaurant cruise company Bateaux London is quite literally pushing the boat out, with a two and a half hour lunchtime cruise past some of London’s most famous landmarks.

A superb three course lunch – red velvet brownie with cheesecake cream and passion fruit curd, anyone? – against a backdrop of iconic sites such as Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster…it’s enough to make anyone feel like a princess.

Or, if you really want to ‘score’ some brownie points (yes, we’re back to brownies), why not give yourself a sporting chance by booking lunch at Brighton’s rather cool, very contemporary Amex stadium? Home to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, it’s marking Mothering Sunday with a celebratory lunch in its flagship HB’s restaurant overlooking the hallowed turf and, in honour of the occasion, every mum will receive a special gift.

From the Amex, we’re off to the Apex, at Bury St Edmunds, which is getting the ball rolling a little earlier in the day with a Mother’s Day brunch. And, because very often what mums really, really, want is a little peace and quiet, they’re even laying on themed activities and entertainment – so she can sit back and relax with the Sunday papers before the whole family sits down to a delicious breakfast buffet.
And talking of children – after all, mothers wouldn’t be mothers without them – a trip to Knebworth House is a must. Not only can everyone enjoy a quintessentially British afternoon tea, but, while mum lingers over the lightest of cakes and scones, kids of all ages can explore the gardens and parkland which surround this historic gem.
Want to give mum something to look forward to for her special day? Why not surprise her with a VIP experience at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 23-27 May. We have partnered with Raymond Blanc to create Jardin Blanc, a premium dining experience and hospitality garden. We offer both day and evening packages for you to choose from which include a show ticket. On Saturday 27th May Raymond Blanc will treat his guests to exclusive cookery demonstrations – perfect for those mums with an inner masterchef.

Trade flowers for oars at the world’s most prestigious rowing event, the Henley Royal Regatta. Taking place from 28 June to 2 July, treat her to a stunning lunch and Champgane afternoon tea on the banks of the Thames, taking in the glamorous and exciting atmosphere of the Regatta in our beautiful restaurants at Fawley Meadows and Temple Island.

These are just some of the Mother’s Day treats on offer at venues across the country. To take a longer look, visit, call our central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email

Phil Howard and Raymond Blanc OBE return to Royal Ascot 2017

Following on from their great success at Royal Ascot 2016, both Phil Howard and Raymond Blanc OBE, working with Ascot’s award-winning in-house team, will be treating guests to culinary delights alongside world class racing at the highlight of the summer events season.

Charming as ever, Raymond Blanc’s legendary restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire has held an impressive two Michelin stars for more than 30 years. He started working with Ascot in 2014 catering for the Private Boxes before graduating to the prestigious Panoramic Restaurant in 2016.  He has tailored the menu, staff training and service to create a restaurant which today provides one of the finest gastronomic experiences at the Royal Meeting.

He says, “The Royal Meeting is always so exciting and hosting in the Panoramic Restaurant is a real privilege. The Service Academy which I will be running in partnership with Ascot for a second year is something I am equally excited about. The Fine Dining experience at the Panoramic Restaurant is as much about the service as it is the food.”

Praised for his previous stints at Ascot, Phil Howard returns to On5 with a spectacular menu which remains faithful to his own cooking philosophy, championing the best of British produce. Another Michelin star winner (with two awarded to his co-owned restaurant, The Square), Phil has also won the prestigious Great British Menu in 2012 and his most recently launched restaurant, Elystan Street in Chelsea, is receiving rave reviews.

Phil’s view on hosting On5 at Royal Ascot reflects his signature style, “When planning the menu, seasonal British produce was at the forefront of my mind to create dishes that are both delicious and visually stunning – in keeping with such a prestigious occasion. It’s a privilege to have my dishes served at the Royal Meeting once again.”

To book or for further information with regards to Fine Dining at Royal Ascot, please call 0844 346 3000 or visit