Boulevard Events is an award-winning caterer, boasting three decades of experience.
We recently appointed them as approved suppliers to Kent House Knightsbridge and caught up with Managing Director, Daniel Maher, to have a chat about their catering style and business.
Boulevard Events is a family business, originating from Boulevard Restaurant set up in 1988. Pioneers from the start, Boulevard was the first restaurant in Victoria Park Village, London. The event catering followed from the restaurant and eventually outgrew it leading to Boulevard Events. It’s still a family business with strong community ties, and now run by the founder’s children and chef, Adam Neale, specialising in award winning event catering. Over the years they’ve won various awards and have developed an outstanding reputation based on their passion for incredible food.
What’s your food background?
We have always thought that the Boulevard story began with the restaurant in 1988, but I recently found a letter dated 1987 with the letterhead titled Le Boulevarde. Turns out Mum and Dad were doing events even before the restaurant opened! The big company transition though was in 2000 when the restaurant closed its doors after 13 years and the operation moved to purpose-built kitchens in Hackney Wick, our home to this day. For much of the next ten years, the company operated both day-to-day delivery catering and event catering but in 2011 when the second generation took over, we decided that events would be the sole focus of the business.
What’s your approach to food?
More than anything, as an event caterer, our food has to be purposeful. Flavour, provenance and sustainability are essential, but when we are catering for an event we want our food to have meaning and to enhance the event, not just be ancillary to it. Going beyond the basic brief, understanding the company we are working with, the couple whose wedding day it is or the guests attending and thinking about how we can use our food to improve their experience is so important to us.
What does a typical day look like?
Nothing like the day before – that’s why we love what we do.
Where do you get the inspiration for your menus?
From everything we do – it could be a country we have visited, a TV show we’ve watched or something we have tasted recently. We are also massively inspired by our clients – we get asked to create new dishes or design food around a particular theme all the time and we love nothing more than taking their ideas and bringing them to life in our food. Many of the dishes on our menus now come directly from a client request that we’d loved so much that we decided to let everybody else try it too.
Do you have a particular dish that you love to serve?
I’d actually say that we don’t really have a favourite dish. What’s so great about being an event caterer is that we get to work on new dishes all the time and having that variety in what we do is what makes it so enjoyable. However if I was pushed I’d say that at the moment, my personal favourite is our whole shoulder of lamb which we hang over a huge fire pit to cook slowly and serve with potatoes and veggies cooked in the coal and our homemade flatbread brushed with the dripping lamb fat – heaven!
How do you introduce greener ways of working into your catering?
We ask everybody at Boulevard Events to constantly have sustainability at the forefront of their minds. Every week, following our operations meeting, we ask the whole team to each name one thing that we could change to be more sustainable. It could be swapping out a product for a greener alternative, a method of preparing a dish that means we didn’t need to use cling film or a new dish that incorporates previously wasted products: have you ever tried spinach stem pesto? It’s amazing! Our approach is very much evolutionary not revolutionary; small steps each day to be better. It’s such a simple thing but if everybody followed a similar methodology the impact globally would be monumental.
Do you have any food heroes?
Well, I once asked Adam (Director and Executive Chef) this question and his answer was Keith Floyd. I can live with that.
You’ve been appointed at many venues across London, what events stand out?
The Bradley Wiggins Hour Record was a personal highlight. I still remember the day when London was confirmed as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games – I was 18 and couldn’t wait to be able to go and watch an Olympic event on my own doorstep in East London. Standing in track centre of arguably the most iconic legacy building from the Games, the Olympic Velodrame (the Pringle!), as we catered for 800 VIP guests whilst a true sporting and national icon completed a world record around us was a moment I’ll never forget.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I think from an operational perspective it would be another Olympic Legacy event, the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. We looked after catering for every area of the three-week long event, excluding spectators. That meant in excess of 2000 meals per day across nine distinct tiers of catering: from nutrition-packed athlete meals; sandwich bags for the army of volunteers, security and broadcasters; full day catering for the media and four separate levels of hospitality that ranged from a pie and a pint to themed food stations and fine dining.
Favourite thing to do outside of work?
It always comes back to food and nothing beats getting friends and family together to enjoy a home cooked meal.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org