Serving suggestions

We enjoy multiple menu innovations, from bowl food to interactive desserts

By James Martin, October 18, 2011

Kosher caterers aim to offer the perfect blend of tradition and innovation.
Chives, run by Ryan Binun, places particular emphasis on event presentation.

"With bar/batmitzvahs, we can be very adventurous," says Ryan. "For example, BBQ stations, mezzes and even a Master Chef Interactive Event.

"Weddings are still concentrated around a more traditional plated meal service, but this has also evolved over the past few years. For example, instead of the traditional fish starter, how about having a tower of Asian beef salad on a bed of rocket, served with a mini jug of Hoisin and sweet chilli sauce?"

Other ideas include "evening espresso bars, live interactive crêperie and waffle bars, individual three-tier dessert carousels and mobile bars serving personalised cocktails."

Neil Samuels Kosher Catering plans a host of "special surprises to be announced over the next couple of months, to mark 10 years of our being in business.

Blossom honey and lemon thyme chicken is served with crushed baby potatoes, beetroot fondant and beans

He adds: "Creativity is at the heart of what we do and clients know us for staging the tranquil and the intimate, as well as the flamboyant and the glamorous."

Increasingly he is catering for weddings, although originally his main clientèle was primarily for bar and batmitzvahs.

He puts this down to "offering value on wedding functions", by charging the same basic rate per head as he does on the bar/batmitzvahs.

The basis of Tony Page's cuisine is described as "traditionally French" and he works directly with executive chef Michael Wilding to push the boundaries and create innovative and seasonal menus inspired by different cultures and countries worldwide.

"Experiencing new dishes and flavours is vital to the business yet, needless to say, recipes always need to be adapted to comply with the kashrut laws," says the caterer.

"Presentation of food is as important as taste, so this is continuously at the forefront of our minds while creating delicious new and exciting menus."

Guests at a Tony Page function feel as if they are attending a show, such are the production values of his parties. These include such variables as his stunning Winter Wonderland weddings, which give guests the feeling of being in a shimmering silver forest. A barmitzvah party might feature big-screen video sequences to add to the mood.

Rochelle Sassoon Caterers offers a "classic fusion" of contemporary and traditional Jewish food at top venues across the world.

Under the London Beth Din since it started just over 20 years ago, the caterer puts on more than 50 events a year, at hotels such as the Intercontinental, Hilton Park Lane, Royal Lancaster, Royal Garden, Millennium, Marriott Grosvenor Square and Carlton Tower. Monty Sassoon describes the company's food as "a blend of contemporary cuisine and traditional Jewish cuisine including European and oriental styles", adding: "We are constantly researching into new dishes and ideas that can make functions unique and special." The Rochelle Sassoon philosophy is "consistency, including food of the highest quality; innovative cuisine including lots of new fusion foods; great service including a fantastic team of cordon bleu chefs and a great team of waiting staff; finally, it's a family business in which we all feel every function is important to us."

Over the past 15 years, Royale Cuisine has built a reputation for flavoursome food and innovative, imaginative party designs.

Events and banqueting manager Matthew Dahan says: "Our clientèle are primarily looking for a total event-management company such as ours, to take bring together all aspects of the event such as venue design, table centrepieces, band and lighting as well as looking for fresh and innovative food ideas, beautiful presentation and attention to detail."

He adds: "Whether we've arranged an intimate dinner for two or a thrilling party for 500, our clients know that they don't have anything to worry about at all - except enjoying themselves."

Continual innovation is important to Royale.

Its chefs scour the globe in order to "explore new culinary trends including the complementation of flavours and textures around the same meats cooked in different ways on the same plate.

"Our chefs also deconstruct the dishes, to see how each element can be changed, in order to enhance its presentation."

The major differences between bar and batmitzvot and weddings, says Matthew, is that wedding menus are usually a little more upscale and there are more details to consider when planning a wedding; from the flowers to the table linen, "basically from A-Z the game is raised. However, we naturally give each function equal importance."

In terms of new ideas for presentation of food he remains coy, but says: "Over the next 12 months we have lots of new ideas planned, plus much more of the same: good food, music, atmosphere and prices."

Jasmine Catering, which was launched in June, is "a dream come true for the Carmelli family" - who have spent 25 years in the bakery business.

Events manager Jodie Dryer says: "the benefit of our experience in the industry means we have familiarity with venues, knowing what will work and that we can always deliver what we say." Jasmine will work exclusively with "suppliers with which we have a great relationship and who share our visions for the types of functions that we would like to create".

She adds that Jasmine Catering - as well as benefiting from the market position Carmelli occupies - has a "young and contemporary team who all have experience in the industry and will bring new ideas to every function".

Its vision is to create a range of "modern cuisine rather than traditional kosher catering; we think there is a gap in the market for this."

Jodie adds that the catering team is continually "searching for new food products and ingredients and ways of originally presenting food to make it stylish, exciting and often interactive for the guests".

This includes bespoke canapé trays and bespoke crockery and cutlery designed in-house, as well as food bars.

Jasmine will cater anywhere: in a home or hotel; for anything from a small barmitzvah or batmitzvah to a large wedding.

The events team will relish the "opportunity to theme parties" at bigger events, or to adapt to more relaxed occasions like anniversaries or barmitzvahs.

"The key is that we are adaptable. With the introduction of our new food bowls and canapés we can, for example, offer a large reception and no starter".

The buffet starter is often used at simchahs in Israel and has the advantage of allowing the guests more time to mingle.

The caterer can also offer "special menus for kids, in which we can be more creative (and less formal)."

Starters on offer from Jasmine (some to be served hot, some cold) include swede, celeriac and beetroot bricks filled with spinach and shallot salsa; Jerusalem artichoke ravioli with lemon thyme oil roasted baby aubergine; citrus-marinated Cornish mackerel with beetroot fondants, micro leaves and red pepper jelly and cherry wood smoked chicken fillets and Hass avocado and roasted Brazil nuts served with chervil and tarragon mayo.

Main courses include vegetable ratatouille and sweet potato purée served with King Edward potato mash and plum tomato and truffle sauce; roasted Black Sea bream on a ragout of whole wheat, accompanied with comfit of garlic, tomato cubes and fresh herbs; blossom honey and lemon thyme marinated chicken breast served with crushed baby potato, beetroot fondant and blanched green beans and rack of lamb with creamy King Edward potato mash, field mushroom, caramelised carrot, fine beans and lamb jus.

Bowl food is another highlight of the Jasmine Catering line-up. This concept is perfect when you wish to have a more substantial element alongside canapés.

Bowl food, which can comprise an array of hot and cold dishes, ranges from Spanish tapas to oriental specialities.

Among the possibilities are shaved green and white asparagus salad, served with wilted aromatic herbs and dressed with sweet lemon and purple shallot vinaigrette and caramelised whole almonds; risotto with maple syrup roasted pumpkin, browned chestnuts and chopped herbs; miso marinated seared Norwegian salmon with creamed sweet potato mash, sumac dust and Yuzo dressing and soft thyme roasted medallions of beef, served on rosemary and coriander seeds, roasted baby potato and beef jus.

Desserts include fruity tartlet petit fours and an assiette of chocolate heaven - dark chocolate and blackcurrant mousse, chocolate macaroons with coffee cream and Mayan chocolate drink.

Who would have thought that the art of kosher catering, once upon a time symbolised by chicken soup, a poussin with roasties and a slab of lokshen pudding, would evolve into such a tantalising and varied contemporary menus as these?

Last updated: 9:51am, October 8 2015