Vegan Catering – done by others for a change!

 In Dining Out, Events

Life has been hectic recently so over the last couple of weeks I have been taking some time to relax with friends and family. This doesn’t mean our vegan catering has been neglected, far from it. I have been discovering new products and places. These have filled me with so many new ideas there will be a whole host of new plant-based dishes coming out of the development kitchen soon. The only trouble I have now is where to start and how to evolve single dishes into practical vegan catering.

I have been a chef for over 20 years and have travelled extensively. I did like to think I had a broad knowledge of ingredients from many different cuisines, however the more I learn the more there seems to be to discover.

After discovery comes the harder part of incorporating wonderful new textures and flavours into dishes that can be served at events. Creating a single dish is very different to producing it for 75 guests at a wedding breakfast. Convincing the bride and groom that banana blossom is a popular Asian ingredient rather than the latest incarnation of my little pony is going to be interesting!

I discovered banana blossom at Phonam. It’s a rather unassuming Vietnamese restaurant in Tiverton, Devon – hiding in a building that from the outside could be mistaken for the local tourist information centre. Inside the staff are friendly and welcoming, the smells wafting from the kitchen just divine. We found them after a quick search on <ahref=”https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurants-g551696-Tiverton_Devon_England.html”>Trip Advisor

Tiverton is a small town and there aren’t that many places to eat out, and none listed as vegan.

We chose Phonam because Asian restaurants often have a wider plant-based selection than European places. As we sat down we were greeted with a whole vegan menu including specials and desserts – the most welcome surprise ever on a rainy Monday evening. All the dishes we chose were fantastic and now we know it’s there we will definitely be back for more. Happily full, with two cans of Banana blossom stashed in my bag from their retail section, we made our way home, ready to experiment. I think it will sit really well in our cosy comfort menu section for the more informal vegan catering events.

We have been working and not just having fun. The office side of event catering can often be dull and not nearly as interesting as the kitchen side. Researching vegan markets, event shows, and wedding fairs is not the side of the job I enjoy most so if I have been stuck in front of a screen I feel justified in ordering a special treat for dinner – Pizza from The Flat Exeter.

They make their own vegan mozzarella, all pizzas on the menu are vegetarian and even better they can all be made fully plant-based on request. We had two independent recommendations to visit and were certainly not disappointed. 10/10 for taste, 10/10 for service and 10/10 atmosphere – it only seats about 20 so not suitable for large vegan catering events but do book in advance to guarantee an intimate table for a few friends.

Back to the research part – Exeter Vegan Market monthly starting on the 23rd June 2018

Weston Super Mare’s first vegan fair – At the Tropicana on 5th August 2018

Visiting vegan events is far more enjoyable than tracking them down so get the dates in your diary and we’ll see you there.

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