How to choose the best catering for your boat party

INTERVIEW: Planning an event can be a stressful task – getting everyone to agree on a date, how to keep them entertained, and how to feed them, the list goes on! That’s why we want to assure those put in charge of planning and organising that we have you covered.

With this in mind, we are incredibly excited to announce a brand new spectacular menu for 2017, whipped up by the expert team at Riverside Food and Drink, who look after catering for every single event aboard a Thames Leisure vessel.

Want to know how to make catering easy for your next event? We talked to Skye Coxe, Head Chef at Riverside Food and Drink, who reveals insider tips and delicious food inspiration for your menus.

Tell us about Riverside Food & Drink and how you got started.

We have worked with Thames Leisure for many years and together came up with the concept of catering alongside the river as well as on the river, using our boats to bring the river and the land together with food and drink. There’s nothing more appealing than lounging in the sun, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves with good food and wine.

What inspires you to come up with your menu ideas?

We create our menus around the seasons and availability of our local farms and suppliers. I love designing menus and get inspired by the natural colours of produce and contrasting flavours. We also like to make sure we have catered for all dietary requirements, so this also gives us lots of interesting ideas to work with.

What are some of the most popular choices?

We have a wide range of clients from corporate office parties to fine dining on our beautiful Sailing Barge Will, so food needs to be appealing to all. Saying this, our hot fork buffets with classic English dishes are always extremely popular, such as free range chicken breast with Dingley Dell ham hock in a white wine tarragon and cream sauce served with crushed buttered jersey royals. For dessert, it must be our famous warm and squidgy chocolate brownie, dressed with simple summer berries and jersey cream.

Do you offer bespoke menus?

Yes of course! Our clients love to mix and match the menus, which we are happy to accommodate, budget depicting. For special requests, some of our brides and birthday clients like to request their favourite dishes which we create especially for them. Dietary requests also can be accommodated, even if the whole party is vegan or gluten free, we love an exciting menu!

What are your plans for Thames Leisure menus in 2017?

We have already designed new and exciting menus for this year, and will soon be working on Christmas one!

Hot off the press, we now have a festival style menu for the Dutch Master (our largest boat) served in handheld boxes that are perfect for larger groups who like to party! Some of our Street Food include lamb tagine with couscous and minted yogurt, pulled pork in a ciabatta bap, Catalonian chorizo and chicken stew, mini bangers and mash with onion marmalade, chicken tikka masala with rice and chutney.

What advice do you have for both corporate and private celebrations when it comes to selecting menus?

It is important to think about your type of event before thinking of food – if you’ll be drinking and dancing, it is better to look at our festival (box) BBQ and hot fork buffet menus, not too heavy and good for mopping up the alcohol! For dinners with friends and families, sitting down and bonding over food is what makes these events so special, so look at our three-course seated dinner menus and add some canapes for your arrival reception, perfect for wedding receptions.

In the heat of the summer, you can’t go wrong with a BBQ cooked on our deck whilst you drink in the sun. Our finger buffets are designed just to keep you going, usually for clients who have eaten beforehand and need a little pick me up later in the evening.

Explore the menus and get in touch to plan your next big event on one of our boats by clicking here.

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