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70th Birthday Celebration
Last weekend I catered for a 70th birthday party. I have done many events for this client over the years, at their beautiful home in Surrey – from small dinners to large gatherings of friends and family, as well as work-related events. As a setting, their home offers a great space with amazing views that make these parties all the more special.
A great deal of preparation went into the 70th birthday party in terms of both the food and styling.
A talented friend of mine, Ria, organized all the flowers and decorations for this party, working with a beautiful colour scheme. Ria’s background is art direction and styling and she has a great eye for researching and selecting one-off pieces. She made a real impact with her design, choosing beautiful flowers in rich hues and unusual foliage including something that looked like coral! Pewter mugs were chosen for the smaller flower arrangements and smoked glass vases used for the larger displays. Moroccan-style lanterns were also added to the tables to great effect. It’s wonderful to collaborate with like-minded people and Ria’s styling complemented my food so well.
As the design side of things was taken care of for this event, my focus was wholly on the food. I worked for a couple of days leading up to the event, to prepare everything needed for the plated starter, sharing platters for the main course and a dessert table with cheese board.
This time I used a different vegetable supplier – Gareth, based in Covent Garden – as he had lots of lovely cress and leaves, which would enhance the look of the salads. Ben’s Fish supplied the fish – they are based in Mersea but come into London with deliveries for some of the best restaurants in the city. And the cheese was sourced from Salon Brixton. I’m enjoying finding more lovely, quality suppliers to work with and these connections will be really helpful for future projects I’m working on (watch this space!).
When the day of the party arrived, the weather was amazing – it was like we had rented the sunshine for the evening! And the sun was the perfect accompaniment to my summery menu.
The guests began with a leek and Parmesan tart made with buttery flaky pastry, served with a red chicory salad and hazelnut dressing. Sharing platters then followed for the main course, which were placed down the middle of the tables for guests to share and swap as they chatted: rare roast beef with smoked paprika and flowered thyme; seared sea bass with lightly-pickled cucumber, lemongrass and ginger; pea shoot salad with heritage tomatoes, oak leaf, mint and feta; and cracked wheat salad with lots of herbs and lemon dressing.
The desserts were laid on a side table so guests could come up when they were ready and help themselves to almond and raspberry tart or chocolate torte, and a selection of cheeses – including Keens cheddar and some lovely goat’s cheese – served with dates and walnuts.
The party was still in full swing when it was time for me to leave, but my capable waiting team stayed to top up glasses and continue making sure everyone was well looked after.