Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

What goes on behind the catering scenes? Inside Outside finds out!

September 13, 2017

We know just how much work goes into setting up and taking down a marquee for a party – the event itself may only last a matter of hours, but the time involved before and after can be considerable. It’s just the same for many of our suppliers – they don’t just turn up an hour before and get to work, their efforts can also be months in the planning.

Knowing just how important the quality of the catering is to any special event, we decided to find out a little more about what’s involved and spoke to Sarah Hammond at rhubarb, one of our catering partners.

Wedding MarqueeSarah told us: “As the style and theming of the marquee evolves it’s really important to understand exactly what the client wants. In terms of catering, we might be asked to use favourite ingredients (or to avoid pet hates!), create dishes that fit in with the colour palette being used in the marquee or to match a particular theme around which the party will be based. Listening is key!

“We like to get involved as early in the process as possible. Most clients enjoy a tasting session so that they can discuss the food choices we’ve made and to see a mock-up of how their table setting will look. It gives us the opportunity to make tweaks to the menu if need be and no surprises for the client on the day. Once everything has been settled, it’s a case of arranging all the equipment we will need on the day to deliver the menu the client has approved. About 10 days before the event we’ll ask for final confirmation of numbers so that we can ensure we have the right amount of ingredients.”

Teamwork and timing are key ingredients to making a marquee event a success
At Inside Outside we know just how important it is to give suppliers access to the marquee when they need it – good teamwork is what makes a fantastic party or event. For caterers such as rhubarb setting up in good time is crucial.

Wedding MarqueeSarah explains: “Whenever possible we like to set the marquee the day before the event and arrange for delivery of linen, cutlery, crockery, china and glass, anything we’ve been asked to provide. This gives us adequate time to set tables and make sure everything is absolutely perfect. We will also build our temporary kitchen, which takes time because of moving lots of equipment, and then we’ll check that all power supplies are working and test the kit. Dealing with all the logistics is also an important part of the process. Whether the marquee is in the middle of a remote field or in someone’s garden, the basics such as parking and access need to be checked. After that, the service itself – producing stunning plates of food – should run smoothly on the day.”

Does anything ever get overlooked?
We’ve worked with rhubarb and other caterers for long enough to know what’s what, but Sarah reiterates some details that can get missed: “Sufficient outside lighting at the rear of the service area is easily overlooked but much needed when we are packing down and loading heavy equipment into our vans very late at night. It’s also important to remember that, even though it’s temporary, it’s a kitchen and hygiene has to be our priority. That means not being positioned by portable toilets. It also means not having to share the space with the band or other entertainers who need a changing area.”

Have we tempted your taste buds? Why not celebrate your next special occasion in a marquee. Call us on 01372 459485 or email sales@inside-outside.co.uk.

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