Food is such an important part of a wedding, and can often get overlooked during the planning. If you are having to opt for catering then I can personally recommend the wonderful Kalm Kitchen. Jen and James put so much love and passion in to their business and you can tell, the outcome is incredible food displayed in such gorgeous and unique ways. I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Jen about her inspirations and background. Enjoy!!
How did you start out?
Kalm Kitchen all began with myself and my husband James – the head chef, working from our tiny home in central Guildford. Back then we were predominantly working on small private parties and weekend catering. It is so rewarding to look back and see how far we have come since those days and exciting to think where the business might take us in the years ahead!
How long did it take you to get to where you are now?
Kalm Kitchen all started six years ago. Now we are a preferred supplier to numerous venues in the South-East and cater for fantastic weddings throughout the year, we combine this alongside our corporate and private party work. I love the variation of my job; you never know who is going to enquire about our services next. Last month we worked on a fabulous corporate event in the style of Alice in Wonderland. Our staff were dressed up with face paint to bring the theme to life. Something you wouldn’t expect at a corporate event but it worked really well! I love it when we are able to be as creative as we like – an open brief is my favourite as I can really go to town!
Have you always wanted to work within catering?
Yes! I love the creative styling aspect of my job and fulfilling peoples dreams. Many couples assume that the job of a caterer is just to turn up, serve your guests and then leave. However we take great pride in going above and beyond this. I look to exceed client expectations and really make their day as memorable as possible, after all why shouldn’t your food look as fantastic as every other element of your day! The caterer plays such an important role, we are the last people to set your reception room before your guests arrive, I love the moment just before the couple walk in – I take great pride to ensure it is picture perfect! As a caterer you have to be a people pleaser and be prepared to work very hard indeed!
Where do you get your food and flavour inspiration from?
James and I gain inspiration from all aspects of our lives; a stint in Australia was the starting point that planted the seed for setting up Kalm Kitchen. We love to work with the seasons and try to move classic dishes forward by creating new service concepts – for example serving traditional dishes in unexpected ways. Our couples are currently loving food stalls, carving at the table – anything that is a little bit different. As a team we are passionate about good quality, unpretentious food – delivered with impeccable service and creativity.
Do you use locally sourced ingredients?
Yes we try to use locally sourced ingredients whenever we can alongside local small suppliers – it means such a lot to work with local suppliers you know and trust. We love building relationships with likeminded suppliers that we know we can call on and will have the same vision as ourselves. This is particularly enjoyable when working on photo-shoots – everyone is so creative and hardworking – it is a fab industry to work in!
Who are your favourite chefs/cooks/bakers?
My absolutely favourite chef has to be Ottolenghi, his philosophy of making people happy through food is such a simple one but so true and can be easily applied to our wedding industry!
What are your favourite foods?
I have to say I prefer savoury dishes to sweet. My favourite dish would have to be a beautiful abundant salad. I love vibrant foods that appeal to your visual senses and are deeply nourishing.
Where do you get your inspiration for your amazing displays?
I draw inspiration from numerous places; a beautiful vintage shop, interiors magazines, wedding blogs and Pinterest are some of my favourite sources. I recently enjoyed a stay at Daylesford Farm and came back so inspired by my time away! We are always looking for impressive ways of displaying our dishes and serving our canapés – my philosophy is why not go that extra mile to make sure something looks spectacular – it can be so easy to achieve and I have lots of fun sourcing goodies for our ever growing prop store!
What do you love most about your job?
Making people happy is by far the most pleasurable aspect of my job. We are incredibly lucky to be dealing with couples planning the most exciting and fun day of their life. We are often receive lovely handwritten notes and emails from our couples after the wedding. Hearing how much they enjoyed their day and the food makes it all worthwhile!
What is in store for Kalm Kitchen?
2014 is already shaping up to be a huge year with lots of exciting developments in the pipeline; something we have been working on recently is an extension to our catering offering – our selection of pop up carts. The carts are both visually appealing and a great treat for your guests. Couples can choose from a Cheese and Ham Larder, Sushi cart, Sweetie Bureaux, Pop-corn Pop-up or S’mores Station – the perfect antidote to some late night munchies.
Plus for those couples hosting a marquee breakfast the morning after the big day our new Brunch Cart is the perfect solution – imagine rolling out of your tent if you are hosting a festival style wedding and snacking on one of our bacon butties – delish!