Rugby World Cup 2015 Menu Inspiration

Rugby blog2015 promises to be a huge year for rugby with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner in September. Are you organising a corporate dinner or reception around this time, or are you hosting office events over the games themselves?  Well, let us help you with a little Rugby themed inspiration for your menus.

For a seated dinner the easy way to enhance the theme is to incorporate the team countries local cuisine into the menu.  For an England vs. Wales game we have selected some local specialities to incorporate.

A Seated Menu for England vs. Wales

Chilled leek soup with laverbread, cream and Caerphilly cheese twill

English tasting plate
Mini braised beef cheek pie with a mini ale shot
Lancashire lamb hot pot with heritage potato crust
Classic beef wellington with port jus

Warm Welsh cake pudding with Glamorgan cream

Freshly brewed coffee and rugby ball truffles

For a less formal event, say an office get together over a game, make it easy grab food so people can still enjoy the game, or serve food prior to the match for best results.

Food stall ideas may include:
Argentinian street food, American sliders, South African boerewors sausage, Japanese yakitori – charcoal grilled chicken skewers, soba noodles and sushi, Australian burgers with the lot! And not forgetting a pudding station with fun themed cake pops, popcorn, rugby ball buns, dessert empanadas with dulce de leche and salted caramel choc pots…

There is lots of fun to be had coming up with inspiring menus, so get in touch and we’ll be happy to create some menu ideas for your coming events.

Contact the events team on 020 77315282

Top Tips for Choosing The Perfect Venue

After many years of working in the events industry it is clear that choosing the right venue and location is key to a successful event.  Appeal of the venue and ease of reaching it can be what gets bums on seats.  With Christmas party bookings taking the forefront, we thought it would be helpful to share with you our top tips on how to get the venue right. Whether you are looking for grandeur, history, minimalistic or with an amazing view, there is something to suit all.


1.  Location Location Location – almost like buying a house!! You want a venue that is easily accessible – close to public transport, ideally a tube stop and within minutes from either your office or the venue front door.
Venue tubelines1

2. Type – The style of venue you choose sets the scene and tone of your event from the start.   Consideration of your audience and type of event is essential when choosing the venue.
Type of Venue                          Suggestions
Modern or traditional?                The View from The Shard vs. Stationers’ Hall
Christmas or summer party?      Bloomsbury Ballroom vs. The Thames Princess
Gothic or Art Deco?                    Two Temple Place vs. Eltham Palace and Gardens
Conference or product launch?  British Museum vs. The Worx
Ornate or minimalistic?               Lancaster House vs. 3 Olaf Street
Classic or themed?                     Kent House vs. Leighton House Museum
Venue exteriors

3. Budget – Budget plays a big part in the venue you choose.  Getting the balance right between venue hire for your dream venue and all the additional costs is imperative to ensure you fulfil your overall event objectives.  A more expensive venue may have more inclusions.  Are there basic packages on offer that you can add to if you wish to keep your event unique? Cooks and Partners have a range of venues to offer from £800 to £20,000.

Venue setup - dinner

4. Venue size – Determine the size of your guest list first and what you would like to do in the space.  It is often tempting to book a venue that is larger and appearing more glitzy when in fact a smaller and more intimate venue may provide a more natural atmosphere.  You may be able to book a smaller space within a large venue attraction such as the Museum of London, while still benefitting from the exhibitions on offer.

Venue interiors

5. Venue Amenities See what else the venues have to offer to enhance your event, whether outside space for a summer event, (The October Gallery, The Orangery at Holland Park) an amazing view (Harrow School, The View from The Shard) or exhibition/attraction which may mean you require less in terms of entertainment as a result (Wellington Arch, Museum of London).  Other considerations:  options for music and dancing, closing times, catering on offer, on-site facilities available and access.

To take some of the stress away why not give us a call and we will happily provide venue ideas, costs and availability to suit your event brief.  See more suggestions on Cooks & Partners venue list.

Call 020 7731 5282 or email

Middle Eastern Themed Menu

If you are looking for inspiration for a Middle Eastern themed menu, then here is a Syrian Menu we recently did for a charity dinner at the stunning Leighton House Museum.


Vine leaves with roasted lamb and flavoured rice
Chicken kebabs with chilli and coriander sauce
Courgette fritters with baba ghanoush
Falafel with garlic and goats yoghurt dip

Seated Menu

Spiced grilled quail with Fattoush salad and lemon dressing


Main Course
Slow cooked lamb with okra, garlic and onions cooked in tomato sauce
Crispy rice

Bemieh - Slow cooked lamb with okra, garlic and onions cooked in tomato sauce with crispy rice

Caramelised wheat, filled with Lebanese cream and rose water syrup

arabic theme2

Tea, coffee and Pistachio short crust pastries with meringue cream

For more delicious menu inspiration, contact the team at Cooks & Partners
T:  020 77315282

How to make the most of your wedding tasting

20140711_151235 (640x480)1. Pre-plan
Book ahead. Many caterers have busy diaries with other events and tastings so it is important to book ahead if you want to allow yourself plenty of time for menu alterations and further sampling. Most tastings take place at the caterers kitchen which gives a good opportunity for you to meet the rest of the team and the chefs. Should this not be convenient for you, ask if they are able to come and cook in your house – this takes more planning but should certainly be possible. Arrange for the tasting to be over lunch or dinner as there will be a lot to eat! Allow 2.5 hours for a full wedding tasting.

2. What do you like to eat?
So much of the time brides and grooms worry about what their guests will want to eat at their wedding – eclipsing the main importance – what do you want to eat?! It is your day and you’re footing the bill so ensure you select a tasting menu that you like. Guests and unusual dietary requirements will naturally follow suit.

20150409_125636_resized (640x479) Arabic theme 2 (480x640) Family service style platter (640x457)




3. Sample a selection of food
A selection being enough to offer variety but not too much that you can’t eat it all! By sampling a selection of different canapés and dishes you get more of a feel of the caterers particular style and theming. You want to aim for a balanced menu, such as for canapés: 2 x meat, 2 x fish, 2 x vegetarian. For the main meal you might like a light fish starter, a heavier meat main and a light, palette cleansing pudding to finish. A selection also offers back-up options in case your original dish was not as expected. Your wedding planner should be able to talk you through various suggestions.

White bean soup with chorizo, crispy kale and saffron foam (640x637) Beautifully presented by Cooks & Partners20150409_134635_resized (480x640)




4. Images
The better the brief, the more accurate the result. Show your wedding planner what you like. Food presentation styles, cutlery, crockery, glassware, linen, table centres…. Modern or traditional? Photos say a thousand words. If you are not quite sure what you like, try and show what you don’t like. Both are good starting points!  Check out our Instagram and Facebook for some ideas.

Summer Cocktails MTV - Old Truman Brewery 0025. Drinks
If you are supplying your own drinks for the wedding ensure you bring a bottle of each to the tasting. It is important to sample the food with the wine to ensure they complement one another. Your wedding planner should be able to make additional suggestions should the pairing not be correct.

6. Bring a friend
Ensure you have a second opinion. Most tastings cater for 4 guests: Bride, Groom, Wedding Planner and assistant. Should you wish for another opinion, ask if you can bring a critic-loving friend along.

Bride & Groom - Mario & Katrin Client relationships Orangery Room view seated





7. Critic
The whole point of food tastings is to try out different food, styles, presentations and flavours. If you do not like something say so. If you would prefer the sauce on the side then now is your time to discuss it. If you rather the dish was served on a black plate as opposed to white then mention it. If these things go unsaid your event planner will be none the wiser and the key is to get it 100% correct for you on the day.

Easter Seasonal Menu Inspiration

With spring in the air, lighter evenings and a little more sunshine, we are all feeling an uplift.  Easter is around the corner and with family gatherings and April events coming up, you may be wondering what to serve your guests.  Well, we have a few menu ideas for you, but first lets see what’s in season…
Samphire rocket salad_resized (3) (600x450) Seasonal salads, radishes  (2)




April brings us lots of delicious seasonal British foods and plenty of green colours in the food world.  With asparagus, crisp lettuce & salad leaves, peppery rocket and watercress, salty samphire, spinach, crunchy spring onions and wild nettles.  We then have delicious Jersey Royal new potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli,  rhubarb,  spring Lamb and wood pigeon and an assortment of seafood including crab, langoustine, lobster, plaice, salmon and sea trout.

With so many awesome ingredients we’re spoilt for choice when menu planning!   Here are a few dishes to get your taste buds tingling.

Yorkshire roasted pigeon v2Smoked salmon pickled cucumber starterFor those seated lunches and dinners why not try your hand at a delicious starters of Yorkshire Dale roasted pigeon with grilled fennel, sweetcorn puree and micro cress salad 

Or, perfect for family gatherings,  a Sharing platter of Salmon – Cucumber and dill mousse with gravadlax salad, Teriyaki glazed salmon with Chinese cress, ginger and lemon grass dressing and Scottish smoked salmon with horseradish cream

For main course the traditional Easter dish is lamb and this lamb dish will surely please….Cotswold herb crusted fillet with confit of lamb breast Rosemary red wine jus, Fondant heritage potato, Purple sprouting broccoli and grilled asparagus or served up with heritage potato rosti and fresh wild leaves.

Rump of Cornish lamb with red wine jus (424x600) (2)Cotswold herb crusted fillet with confit of lamb breast  Rosemary red wine jus (450x600) (446x370)Pan fried cornish sea bass with courgette spaghettiHowever, a slightly lighter option may be your preference with Pan-fried plaice with courgette spaghetti,  Pistachio crumbs and green olive oil with lemon scented Jersey Royal potatoes

20150127_211323_resized (600x429)Easter is synonymous with chocolate and this dish will certainly place you in a chocolate coma Blackforest stack with poached cherries, cherry gel and bitter chocolate crumble.

Personally, I love Rhubarb, so for me, this would be the way to go…Vanilla pannacotta, poached rhubarb and ginger shortbread with summer flowers.Vanilla pannacotta, poached rhubarb and ginger shortbread with summer flowers

For more menu inspiration for your next event, or if you would much rather we do the catering and take away all the stress, then please get in touch on 020 77315282 or

We look forward to hearing from you.