Venue & Location Catering
Tarroco orange, Cointreau, hazelnut shortcake
Free Range, sourdough toast, Agon Prime Jelly
Organic smoked salmon, dill, fromage blanc, golden caviar
Venue & Location Catering
"It was a hugely successful evening, the food & service was outstanding. We had so many positive comments."
We can offer a more bespoke service - our chefs will bring fresh ingredients to your chosen venue or location and prepare on-site. Even if your shoot or crew are on the move, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the full service. Preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner in a pop-up kitchen means you can have your eggs done to order, your salads dressed and tossed, your plate beautifully presented...
Location Catering and Venue Catering - best of both worlds
Who uses location catering?
Organisations holding corporate events that are filmed by outside broadcasting units require catering companies to produce food for guests, audiences and performers.
Film and TV production companies shooting on location need catering firms to provide a continuous supply of fresh, wholesome, seasonal cuisine and drink for cast and crew throughout the day and evening.
VIP location catering companies working at corporate events such as the Henley Regatta, Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, cricket matches at Lord’s and polo matches at Hurlingham must deliver the quality, style and originality that these areas demand.
VIP caterers are expected to provide many styles of cuisine for the guests, ranging from grazing stations, buffets and barbeques to seated dinners and chefs’ tables. Pop-ups such as espresso wagons and street food vans add further interest to the location.
Managers of corporate events such as horse and dog shows, sporting fixtures such as rugby, football and boxing matches, and music festivals and concerts rely on catering companies to provide an extensive selection of tasty, fast food for the audiences and healthy options for the performers.
Importance of location catering for production companies
Shooting on location can be demanding – very hot, cold or inclement weather, long schedules of weeks or months and frequent retakes can leave cast and crew feeling tired and stressed. Early mornings, late nights, long hours – that’s just standard in the film industry.
Shoots can be long-haul events and very taxing for everyone involved. Despite this, one of the advantages of a long shoot is the opportunity for the catering staff to get to know the crew and their tastes and preferences better. This information can then be incorporated into the menus – feeding cast and crew the fare they want.
Catering companies introduce fresh menus every few weeks to stimulate interest in and enthusiasm for the cuisine. During a long session of shooting a film, meal breaks enable members of the crew to recharge and re-energise before the next set-up. Mealtimes have an important social function – a chance for cast and crew to relax, wind down and socialise.
The film crew is responsible for heavy physical work moving around large items of equipment. So it’s important that the cuisine is nutritious, sustaining and capable of maintaining their strength and stamina.
Continuous day working is becoming more prevalent in the industry. Cast and crew are required to work long hours, which means they need to be fed accordingly. A choice of healthy and balanced meal options helps them to sustain their energy levels until the end of the film shoot.
Filming TV commercials on location
Shooting a corporate film commercial can be intensive and demanding work. Meeting the needs of the client and agency is as important as delivering a first-class product.
A commercial can last anything from ten seconds to three minutes, although the majority are thirty seconds long. Short, no doubt, but it will be precise and exact – the culmination of months of production; mapping a concept, scripting and then illustrating it on storyboards that detail how the commercial will progress.
The creation of a commercial is a team undertaking involving a group of people with specialised skills, from camera operator to set designer. A film shoot can take many hours to complete in possibly only one session.
So it is important that the catering maintains the stamina and energy of the cast and personnel to meet the demands placed on them.
Essential skills of location caterers
This type of catering is not only about producing quality cuisine. Great logistical skills are also required to source, cook and serve delicious meals in challenging locations – rough terrain, hilly, isolated or inhospitable areas.
Planning and organisational skills are of paramount importance – paying attention to detail and communicating effectively before and during the shooting of a film enable the company to deliver their services to mesh seamlessly with the production schedule.
Careful scrutiny of every facet of the daily cuisine and drink requirements ensures that whatever is required is in the right place at the right time. Yet the flexibility to accommodate a change of plan efficiently at very short notice is essential.
Flexibility combined with friendly and attentive service from front-of-house staff and menus that cater to the individual needs of your clients can deliver a highly professional operation. Understanding and recognising that every client’s business and needs are individual can help to promote a personal, discreet and efficient service. Delivering a wide range of delicious and imaginative menus seals the deal.
Location caterers aim to:
- Create menus for an event that are creative and imaginative
- Deliver great-tasting cuisine that is nutritious and healthy
- Ensure a friendly and competent service that is reliable and flexible
- Provide a corporate film shoot with a creative and knowledgeable team.
What sort of cuisine do location caterers offer?
Cuisine made for film location catering will be planned to suit the size and length of production, numbers of personnel, as well as cater for any particular requirements such as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
Some caterers regularly maintain a four-choice menu of quality main courses, including a fish and a vegetarian dish.
Working on the basis that hungry workers are grumpy workers, menus are tailored to cater for daily requirements. Weather, location and dietary concerns are taken into account and catered for.
Increasingly, there is a need to cater for large cross-section of nationalities and cultures on every film shoot. Dishes are specifically designed to provide a choice of international cuisine for personnel from all over the world. Foreigners should be spoilt for choice when deciding what to eat, rather than struggling to find something suitable.
Many caterers take every opportunity to source seasonal produce from local suppliers for an event so that the freshest and most varied ingredients are used.
Companies are aware that there may be requirements for specific types of menu at a corporate event and they would be happy to provide suggestions and accommodate such requests.
A typical menu for a location film shoot would be:
Porridge, cereals, full cooked English, a vegetarian option, toast, rolls, yogurts, fresh fruit platter, fruit juices and smoothies.
Toasted cheese croissants or muffins, Danish pastries and fresh fruit platter.
Three options for the main course; meat, fish and vegetarian, with fresh vegetables, potatoes and rice or pasta; freshly made buffet table; a selection of cheeses, bread and fruit; hot and cold desserts.
Freshly made sandwiches and wraps, and a selection of cakes, pastries and chocolate bars.
Stir-fried chicken, salmon frittata, fish pie, lasagne, Thai king prawn curry, with veggies and/or salad; fresh fruit and a selection of hot and cold desserts to follow.
Tea and coffee would be provided from morning to evening on set and on location.
An example of a VIP menu at an event would be:
Parma Ham, Fig & Sherried Stilton
Red and green chicory, pickled walnuts & micro herbs
Melon Three Ways
A shot of melon Mojito, trio of melon brochette & griddled water melon
Roast Breast of Guinea Fowl
Bubble and squeak with a mushroom emulsion, asparagus, courgette and baby Chantenay carrots
Seared Pak Choi & chilli ginger noodles
Chocolate Brownie Trifle
Chilled Martini glass of chocolate mousse, Mascarpone & dark rum with chocolate shavings
Vanilla Panna Cotta
Pimm’s jelly, chocolate & strawberries
& handcrafted petit fours
Quality fast food at an event could include:
Slices and pies, sausage rolls, hot dogs, burgers and grazing bowls of classic dishes such as fish and chips, sausage and mash and chicken curry.
A wide variety of sandwiches, rolls, tortilla wraps, baguettes, ciabattas, salads, yoghurts, muffins, pastries, turnovers, scones and chocolate bars.
Allergy awareness and healthy eating
Catering companies need to be fully up-to-date with the latest allergy awareness laws, and guarantee that good practices are used in the preparation of all food.
Food allergies and intolerances need to be taken very seriously – they can result in death if disregarded – and the needs of all personnel understood and provided for.
Appropriate information about products and ingredients should be made available to the client by the catering firm before the event.
The catering staff
Many staff kitchens are purpose-built and staffed by well-trained people with a passion for food. Success is down to the commitment and professionalism of the team, who are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards.
Some kitchens operate on location with complete autonomy and authority, which means that any changes to schedules or specifications can be made and agreed there, without the need to gain approval from ‘head office’.
Companies understand that catering on location at a corporate event is a small but essential part of the production process, and they work hard to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The handling and dispensing of food is carried out in accordance with current Health & Safety Hygiene Regulations (Royal Institute of Public Health).
Vehicles used by location caterers
Whatever the size of the events, there will be appropriate vehicles such as mobile catering kitchens, hospitality trailers and refrigerated support vehicles to provide sufficient cuisine for the duration of the event.
Specialist mobile kitchens are designed and built to withstand the varied environments of the locations chosen, anywhere from a beach to a mountain top. Some catering firms cover a particular area of England, say London and the South-east, others are willing to travel all over England, and a few are willing to work abroad.
A one-day supply of fresh water is often carried on board and replenished daily. Kitchens can carry liquid waste tanks with a one-day capacity. Dry waste/refuse cannot be carried, collected or transported by catering vehicles, in accordance with the EU Waste Disposal Regulations – the catering backroom staff must arrange for daily collection and disposal. So you can be sure there will be no risk of cross-contamination or infection.
Film location catering has not always been known for its environmentally friendly stance. But many companies now behave responsibly and ethically by adopting green and eco-friendly standards in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Many work closely with the BAFTA-led Albert Consortium, a group which oversees the management of the industry-wide environmental programme and promotes best practice across the industry’s operations and output.
Others are affiliated to Greenshoot.com, whose founders have worked in the film and commercials industry, and who now implement sustainability management systems customised for each production.
These catering companies lower their impact on the environment by:
- Using recyclable materials wherever possible
- Providing separate bins for different types of waste
- Offering clients the option of using produce and materials that can be disposed of in compost bins
- Buying seasonal supplies locally to help create a cleaner environment and increase the viability of the area’s economy
- Using low-emission vehicles to transport kitchens, trailers and support vehicles to events
- Offering clients the option of using jugs of water instead of bottled water
- Sending documents electronically or printing them double-sided on recycled paper
- Understanding the environmental impact of promotional items.
Hopefully you will have gained an insight into the world of location catering; who hires these companies and at which events; their importance for film production companies; catering for shoots of TV commercials; the essential skills of catering firms and their staff; the types of menu offered; allergy and intolerance awareness, and healthy eating; the vehicles used by the firms; and the issue of sustainability.