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OLIVE’S ELISA-JADE GRATTON COMPETES AT THE B&I CATERING ‘STREAT’ FOOD AWARDS

November 17, 2017

 

Why did you enter the awards?

I knew that entering the competition would take me out of my comfort zone and would push me to try my hand at something new. I love working with fresh ingredients, so getting to experiment with different flavours and techniques was an interesting challenge.

 
Street food has become so broad, how did you decide what to cook? (And what was it?)

We plan menus every day working alongside Olive’s food innovation team, but I knew I would need to create something really memorable for the competition.

The plan was to take some of my favourite ingredients and use them in a way that hadn’t really been seen before, so I created an Italian ‘antipasta’ sushi dish which incorporated Mediterranean flavours for the technical challenge.

For my signature dish, I took two flavours that everyone is familiar with – chicken and coconut – and looked to take them in a new direction. This lead to me creating a street food style wrap using freshly made flatbreads.

 

How do you stay calm under pressure when competing?

No matter what you’re doing, I think the best way to stay calm is through preparation and focus. I practiced both of my dishes on a regular basis in the run up to the event, and on each occasion I would have a stopwatch with me to make sure I was sticking to the allocated time.

I definitely had a lot of nerves on the day, but as soon as we started I lost myself in the food and my passion for cooking took over.

 

Why has street food become so popular?

Street food is made of honest, fun and fresh ingredients. It’s generally seen as happy food – the chefs are enjoying themselves and they’re passionate about what they’re doing, which is something that translates to customers.

 

What effect has it had on contract catering?

Street food has become one of the biggest trends around the world, and is something nearly all caterers have had to add to their offering. At the end of the day, we’re feeding customers and it’s important to keep them happy, so we have to stay in touch with what’s happening in the wider world.

 

Did you enjoy the competition?

I loved it. Although I was nervous to start with, there was an amazing atmosphere at the event, and it was great to be cooking alongside so many other incredibly talented chefs there on the day. It was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as a few new ones, and I would definitely do it all over again if I could.

 

What effect has it had on contract catering?

Street food has become one of the biggest trends around the world, and is something nearly all caterers have had to add to their offering. At the end of the day, we’re feeding customers and it’s important tokeep them happy, so we have to stay in touch with what’s happening in the wider world.

 

Did you enjoy the competition?

I loved it. Although I was nervous to start with, there was an amazing atmosphere at the event, and it great to be cooking alongside so many incredibly talented chefs. It was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as a few new ones, and I would definitely do it all over again if I could.

 

What’s next in the world of street food?

I think street food is already near the top of its game, so anything that does come along needs to be something really special.  Saying that, I do think that more people are now looking for healthier alternatives, so anything that is low on calories but looks a little bit naughty will without a doubt capture customers’ interests. Watch this space!

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