Bowl food: love it or hate it?

By David Wilkinson, Head Chef, One Great George Street

Bowl food is hardly the new kid on the block at One Great George Street as far as food innovation is concerned, so why have we never featured it on our menus before? The reason it hasn’t made its way onto the menus in the past is because personally, I didn’t really know how I felt about it as function food.


What did I think I hated about bowl food?

1) Definitely concerns over practicality. What do you do with your glass while you are eating, as you need two hands to do so?

2) What happens to the empties in a busy room?

3) Do we want to invest in the equipment and where do we then store it?

4) Will we always have enough service space?

5) Will it be a 2-minute fad that would fade away?


What do I now love about bowl food?

1) Our sales team has been telling me that it is a constant request, proved true by our catering figures and how busy my team are.

2) It’s a creative chef’s dream because of the huge potential in pure food terms – create small and tasty dishes with very few restrictions.

3) It’s perfect for networking events – we’re a popular venue for this style of event.

4) You can try a little bit of this and little bit of that.

5) It’s cost effective if you are on a tight budget in these difficult times and don’t want to splash out on 7-course fine dining meals, as impressive as they might be.

So this year I finally put my ambivalence to one side and with the aid of my two senior chefs, Joanne Dingwall and Charlene Basan, created a brand new menu using the bowl food concept.

Now that it’s done, I can’t remember why I made such a song and dance about it, and I have gone from being lukewarm to super excited about the whole concept.

We have already held several tastings and the feedback from clients has been fantastic.


The most popular dishes are proving to be:

1) ‘Thai green curry with sticky rice’

2) ‘Salt and pepper squid with Asian slaw’

3) ‘Crab, watermelon, cucumber, mango, ginger and dill salad’

4) ‘Chocolate brownies with white chocolate sauce’


Are you a bowl food fan?

Why events industry workers need to relax and take a break

By Clare Hodgkinson, Marketing Executive, Church House Conference Centre

In an increasingly hectic and busy world many professionals go all day with little or no breaks. With deadlines approaching, business deals to make, clients to meet and targets to reach, many individuals find themselves working throughout their lunch break, and working well into the evening and even the night.

According to BUPA, taking regular breaks is of great importance. This statement may come as no great surprise to you and you may still firmly hold the opinion that you simply do not have time due to a heavy workload. Actually, by not taking a break you are decreasing your productivity and increasing the chance of making errors and mistakes.

Taking breaks helps to maintain energy levels and minimise stress, help improve concentration and reduce the risk of getting headaches, muscle and joint stiffness, fatigue, and sore eyes (BUPA, 2009).

For individuals working in the events industry, taking a break is especially important due to the notoriously long hours, late nights and early mornings. What many people don’t appreciate is that guests at an event only see a small part of the efforts and time that is put into the organising, setting up and break down of an event. Furthermore, with pressure to meet deadlines and deliver an event of the upmost quality, dedicated events teams can sometimes overlook their own wellbeing.

It should also not be forgotten, however, that the same rule applies for delegates attending conferences and meetings. It is important that delegates have regular breaks, not only for their own health and wellbeing but also to help ensure that they get the most out of the event and can remember the key information or message that is being put across by the speakers.

There are many fun and interesting ways in which to use breaks, other than the obvious being teas, coffees and light refreshments. At Church House Conference Centre, delegates can experience a break with a difference by playing Wii Olympics on the Centre’s brand new 64” screens.

Alternatively, outside of conferences and meetings, some professionals make sure they make the most of their breaks by booking themselves into spas, such as The Sanctuary, for the ‘Sleep Retreat’. 25 minutes of this relaxing and meditative experience is said to provide total mind and body relaxation through the use of low frequency sound waves which cause a gentle vibration to relax the body and any muscle tension (The Sanctuary Spa, 2012).

This of course is a rather indulgent and I dare say expensive way to spend your break…if only every company included regular ‘Sleep Retreat’ sessions as fringe benefits!


Sources of reference:

BUPA (2009) ‘The importance of taking breaks’ BUPA.

The Sanctuary (2012) ‘Sleep Retreat’. Available: Accessed: 24th January, 2012.