Have you ever looked at a completely blank space and tried to imagine building something in it?
A house, a shed, a pop up café? No? Well, this is what the production team behind Relish Contemporary Food are experts at when it comes to outdoor catering.
In between weddings, corporate summer parties and Christmas, Relish Contemporary Food are catering some very special international events. Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of these special events that sits in the hearts and minds of the nation’s cultural celebrations.
Never before has food and drink featured so much at this event. It’s an honour to be producing the menus to be featuring in the Spiegeltent and working alongside John Torode, Gino D’Acampo, Gizzi Erkstine, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, Russel Norman, Bill Granger, just to mention a few. Our on-site cafes and bars are called The Feast, The Wilde and Bite offering the best food and drink possible. And behind it all is the energetic and creative Relish team led by Chef Director Rob Goves.
Planning for this event alone has been six months, and the behind-the-scenes wasn’t pretty until it all went live on 2nd October.
“We speak with the celebrities and their publishers or agents about their menus and source the exact ingredients. A lot of the celebrities want to meet with us first-hand. This year, Masterchef host John Torode is not only showcasing his book, talking about the many recipes and lifestyle that he enjoys, but will also be joining us on, what we call in the industry, the line, to plate up some of his food – it’s his way of working with us, being involved, maybe even having the final control over the look of everything before it is set in front of his guests by our wait team.”
As Rob explains, everyone involved was on their toes the week before the Festival started, busy setting up “in an empty marquee, tipi and venue shell plumbing in electricity, gas, water and installing temporary kitchens and food preparation areas.
“Deliveries of kit, chillers, freezers, glassware, crockery, cutlery, fresh ingredients, dry-goods, pre-made cakes and drinks arrived, and we set up absolutely everything including the creative look and feel for the customer experience. Think about you’re weekly food shop of anywhere between £150 and £250. We spend £75,000 on food alone during the Festival; a decent deposit on a house!”
We speak with the celebrities and their publishers or agents about their menus and source the exact ingredients. A lot of the celebrities want to meet with us first-hand.
Finally, when doors opened on Friday, ticket holders and visitors walked into a complete café and bar, full of the aroma of barista coffee being made, sweet cakes beautifully displayed, savoury wood-fired pizzas and more.
The Reslish team believe there’s no other project like this one. No other Festival where you can select a brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, and enjoy delicious food, in the middle of a Spa town which draws the attention of thousands and thousands seeking a cultural retreat for 10 days with access to some of the most sort after authors.