With limited equipment, enclosed spaces and business to attend to, in office catering can be a challenge. For caterers working to serve up something special in a corporate environment, there are dozens of hurdles and hitches to navigate ? all of which call for more than a little culinary ingenuity and creativity…
Office kitchens and fridges are typically small and are rarely heaving with cutting-edge equipment. This means you’ll most likely need to prepare your cuisine off site. This raises a whole range of hot food vs. cold food quandaries, depending on the transportation and warming equipment available to you.
Even after you’ve navigated the logistical side of the job, there are lots of other office-specific issues you’ll want to bear in mind when planning your menu. Typically stuffy and enclosed, pungent foods can become overpowering in an office setting, making your beautiful spread seem a lot less tempting ? particularly if the aroma lingers long after lunchtime…
You’ll also need to consider the ?messiness? of your offering. From flaky pastry, to dripping fondue, the last thing professionals want to do at their place of work (in front of contacts and clients at a catered function) is clean up. With cleaning staff on set rotas, it’s likely that any mess created is going to be there for hours or even days ? not ideal.
So how can you create spot on catering in an office environment? To give you a little inspiration, we’ve compiled 5 tasty ideas which won’t smell overpowering, make a mess or prove to be a logistical nightmare…
1. Individually packaged salads
For lunchtime meetings, freshly prepared and creatively made salads are a great in office catering option. Easy to refrigerate with no need to store them on site, pre-packaged to avoid mess and, unless you include tuna, not overly aromatic ? beautifully made salads with interesting ingredients can be a winning option. Why not try…
? Cucumber & mango salad with chilli spiced pork
? Turkey salad with clementine dressing
? Green bean salad with Italian sausage, olives & a basil vinaigrette
2. Cheese & meat boards
Who doesn’t love cheese and meat? Apart from lactose intolerant vegetarians, that is (always make sure you discuss dietary requirements with your client). Offer antipasto and cheese with some freshly baked bread to create an easy and delicious in office meal. Ensure you focus on the quality of each ingredient to make certain this simple solution tastes truly exquisite.
3. Exotic sandwiches
Boring British sandwiches can be somewhat depressing and predicatable office catering fare, but culinary traditions all over the world have their own take on sandwhiches ? perfect for adding a little excitement and panache to chilled in office catering! Why not make…
? Vietnamese Banh Mi with pork and pate
? Cuban sandwiches with roasted pork tenderloin and arugula-corn-tomato salad
4. Bento boxes
Japanese cuisine is ideal for in house catering. Often served cold, which means fewer tricky logistics, and self contained in bento boxes to minimise mess, it’s well worth considering giving your in office catering a Japanese flavour. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your bento box to include seasonal ingredients or less traditional fare, just ensure every item is of a high quaity and presented beautifully.
5. A rustic tart
Delicious served cold, simple to plate up and perfect for using lots of yummy seasonal ingredients, a well-made tart can be a great centrepiece alongside salads for catered office functions. Be creative with your ingredients and don’t hold back on flavour to ensure your tart is a taste sensation, not another forgettable working lunch. Why not try…
? Basil, pea & pancetta tart
? Vegan mushroom, chestnut & cranberry tart
? Turkish filo tart with lamb
Have you catered for in office functions before? Do you have any tips for menu planning? What are your ultimate recipes for office lunches? Let us know via Twitter or get in touch with the IMS of Smithfield team to source high quality meat for your next event.