We’re thrilled to bring you a guest post from Tie The Knot Catering today; an interview with their executive Head Chef Graham Strong:
Here at Tie The Knot we are incredibly fortunate to have an unbelievably talented kitchen team headed up by executive Chef Graham Strong. Graham has been a chef for 22 years and in that time has amassed an astonishing amount of experience in all aspects of the food industry. We thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to tell you a little more about the man behind the menus!
Hi Graham, could you give us a bit of information about your catering background?
Of course, I’ve been a chef for twenty two years and running large events for fourteen years.
I used to work for Andrew Lloyd Webber. I was his executive chef for two and a half years looking after seven of his west end theatres including Theatre Royal and the famous London Palladium overseeing all of the hospitality.
We catered for a huge number of events including three course sit downs, canape receptions, press launches, and after show parties. Two of the theatres also have a la carte restaurants specialising in British Modern cuisine which were under my jurisdiction.
Two years after I left the catering company with the tender I received a phone call from the Really Useful group stating that they had parted ways with their caterer and would like me to come back and run everything again. At that point Nick and I started Strong Flavours and Andrew Lloyd Webber became our first client. That was in 2012 and we still cater for them to this day.
We started Tie The Knot Wedding Catering in 2016 after catering for weddings across London and the South East under the name of Strong Flavours. Whilst we knew we had the experience and passion to expand the wedding catering umbrella of the company we felt that the corporate branding on Strong Flavours was not best suited to the wedding industry.
What an amazing background! Could you tell us how you develop our menus?
What’s most important when I’m thinking about developing our menus is that they are deliverable. We have a good working relationship with all of our venues and clients and it is essential to us that the amazing food a couple try at a tasting will be exactly the same on their day whether they have 50 guests or 250 guests and we are in a grand castle hall or an outdoor marquee kitchen.
It all comes down to developing a range of bespoke menus. They are designed specifically around our venues capabilities, not around our capabilities as chefs. We never over promise and under deliver. It’s important that we can combine fantastic flavours and textures in a way that is exciting and bold, but achievable, whatever the circumstance.
Our menus are British modern, all homemade fresh, with a little twist. You know what you’re getting but you don’t know how you’re getting it. We home smoke and cure all our own fish and meat – For us it’s all part of the process for creating beautiful one-of-a-kind dishes.
What are your favourite aspects of the wedding food industry?
I love different flavour combinations and food trends. It’s wonderful to see how dishes can evolve with just a few simple twists.
The most important thing in the industry nowadays is to be adaptable. People want to add their own elements to dishes. Having the ability to create bespoke menus for every client ensures that each event is completely individual!
Another brilliant aspect is getting to see chefs at the top off their games. We have a young pastry chef who has seemingly boundless creativity and a phenomenal team of regular chefs with all kinds of specialities! Having a great team makes every event the very best that it can be!
What is your favourite thing to cook Graham?
I love the winter months, for cooking. It’s the best time for slow cooking, and pressing and flaking. All of those beautiful shins and flanks and cheeks!
I also love seeing good English produce coming through in all of its seasons. Based in West Sussex we have the luxury of having fantastic local suppliers. We have a brilliant butchers in Crawley Down and all of fish is from Brighton and Hove. Our cheese is from the Cheese man based in Brighton. We use plenty of West Sussex cheese made with locally farmed cream and free range Sussex barn eggs!
Those suppliers not only allow us to support local businesses but increases accountability giving us the traceability of every single ingredient! We think it makes our food taste even better too!
Tie The Knot are a West Sussex based wedding catering company catering all across the South East. They cover a whole range of menus from three course traditional to rustic BBQ boards and everything in between! If you would like any more information you can visit www.tietheknotcatering.co.uk or contact Pippa at firstname.lastname@example.org