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How to make food the talking point at your event

We can’t deny it – we all love talking about food, almost as much as we like eating it. Most of the time, one of the first things you think of when you’re invited to an event of any kind is shamelessly ‘what’s on the menu?’. Event catering is important!

We spoke to Rosie Newton, the Business Development Manager from Old Billingsgate, and the rest of the lovely OB team about their thoughts on food at events. As a team full of ‘foodies’, they really did deliver…

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Gone are the days of cheese and pineapple, smoked salmon sandwiches, or a chocolate gateau as the standard for events. It’s now all about themes, performance and drama when it comes to catering.

Old Billingsgate has played host to some incredible food-related events. A favourite client of ours has – for the last couple of years – themed their dinners around the nation’s favourite TV shows. You can’t really get any better than a Great British Bake Off menu, can you?

The amazing team at Moving Venue served guests a smoked fish ‘Battenberg’ for starters and a GBBO edible board game for dessert, which you can see in the picture below! Everything you see here is edible – that’s a chocolate cake ‘board’, a rocky road ‘rolling pin’, an ice cream ‘butter’, fudge ‘weights’, popping candy ‘flour’, mixed berries ‘jam’, coconut and mango ‘eggs’, and a passion fruit puree ‘icing bag’. It really was the talking point of the night, as you can imagine.

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Our favourite thing at the moment is giving a nod toward our fascinating history through the food served at the events we host. We were once a world-famous fish market, running up until 1982. The Grand Hall at Old Billingsgate was the market floor, whilst the basement was covered in 50 years of ice and used to store the fishermen’s catch.

Given an industrial twist by architect, Lord Richard Rogers, the building has undergone an amazing transformation, turning it from the largest fish market in the 19th century into London’s premier event space. The Grand Hall now holds a wide variety of large events, from exhibitions to award dinners, and the basement was transformed into the utterly fabulous space, now known as The Vault.

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We think that a seafood station would be the perfect throwback to the Billingsgate of old. Street food-style bars laden with seafood, or perhaps a salmon-carving station with sour cream, caviar, and made-to-order blinis? Our personal favourite would be an oyster shucking stall, complete with every sauce under the sun for you to choose from, (we particularly recommend shallot vinegar).

If fish isn’t your thing, how about asking one of our lovely caterers for a ‘Best of British’ dinner, served in a historic space like our Grand Hall. We’re talking things like hand-raised pies with mash and jugs of gravy parsley liquor, followed by homemade trifles. This is definitely something our international clients love, and it’s a theme that fits perfectly with the incredible view of the iconic London skyline from our terrace.

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Perhaps instead of a sit-down dinner, you could host a drinks reception in the unique space of our Vault. Inside The Vault, we have The Well that chefs have used as a show kitchen. Guests can look down on the pros at work and learn some tricks of the trade, before heading down to load their plates.

If you choose to make food the talking point of your event, whatever option you might go for, you need to be prepared to think outside the box. Remember, no good story ever started with a salad!

OId Billingsgate

Find out more about booking the beautiful Old Billingsgate for your event right here. 

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