Having joined the Hospitality & Events team at Crystal Palace just over a year ago, we sat down with Executive Chef Julien Maisonneuve to discuss how he plans and prepares meals for events that have received such rave reviews.
What’s the process around building a bespoke menu?
When building a bespoke menu, the first step is to find out what type of event the client is hosting, and what role the food will play in it. Once we have this, we are then able to sit down and work out a menu that will not only meet their expectations, but also the budget which they are working to. It’s important to understand exactly what the client wants so that we’re able to build a menu that will be the focal point of their event, and is something that is talked about after the event is finished.
When putting a menu together we always consider how it will be served, and the room in which the food will be eaten - it’s important that the food and service work well together to ensure we provide clients with the best experience.
We build many bespoke menus for different clients, such as an upcoming Business Conference we’re hosting in October. The client has requested a two course sit down lunch, so after consulting with them, we’ll be serving roasted chicken with a tomato and caper sauce and then a number of side dishes including a fresh beetroot salad, minted baby potatoes, honey glazed carrots, followed by a cheese and charcuterie platter.
Tell us about the chefs at Selhurst Park – their backgrounds, experience and specialist dishes.
Our Chefs come from a large cultural pool with different backgrounds and cultures – this allows us to create diverse menus, across a number of different cuisines with Chefs that boast experience in these cuisines, making the dishes as authentic as possible. They all bring their own expertise and years of experience, which is fantastic, but we’re also keen to provide the opportunity to give young south Londoners the chance to get experience in a kitchen – this year we have an apprentice who has joined us, it’s a great experience for her and will hopefully allow her to gain the skills she needs to eventually move onto other culinary endeavours.
In terms of the experience that the Chefs have, it’s hugely varied, but one of them has joined us after working at the Momo Restaurant, a well-known and highly rated Mediterranean restaurant in Mayfair.
What are some of the suppliers that we use, and why do we choose to use them?
The quality of our food is hugely important to us, as is ensuring we work with local businesses to purchase all of our products from. By purchasing all of our food from local suppliers we ensure that it’s as fresh as it can be, and we feel that it’s important to work alongside our local community to improve the area, help businesses and it also means we have less of a footprint when it comes to transporting the food.
We use Goddards to supply all of our pies that we sell on a match day, they normally deliver 1000 pies for each match we have! As well as keeping our food local, our Chefs are also all from London - although they have a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
How do you build a menu based on a specific budget, do you have examples of cheaper menus vs more expensive menus and what are the differences between them?
As well as keeping the client’s preferences and expectations in mind, all of the menus are built with the suppliers in mind as well. We ensure we’re constantly communicating with them to see what products are in season, and therefore the most cost effective to use, and what products are going to be of the best quality. This is how we’re able to build a menu around a specific budget that a client might have.
In terms of the differences between a cheaper and more expensive menu, it’s often based on the quality and cut of the meat or fish, the side dishes and accompaniments tend not to make too much of a difference, but using farmed sea bass versus wild sea bass will have a significant impact on the price of the fish, and therefore the overall cost of the menu. The same would go for using chicken breasts over rolled sirloin.
When creating a menu to a specific budget, you have to consider the pricing of the ingredients, and then based on that build a menu that will meet their expectations as well as their budget.
If you have an event in mind and would like to host it at Selhurst Park with dining from Julien, get in touch with our Events Manager Holly Britton, who will help you arrange your event.
Call: 020 8768 6013