Find out below about the new kids on the block in Catering.
Who is Shimla and how did it come about?
Shimla is the story of two uni friends who share a passion for food and events. I have always worked in the catering industry, and Rik has previous experience in restaurants and events. It was a no brainer for us both to get together and start up Shimla Foods which is a brand built on great food and great service. We love what we do - even with the unsociable hours and zero sleep on most weekends.
What is a typical wedding day like for Shimla?
A typical wedding day will start with all the chefs and kitchen staff switching on the gases at 3am making fresh curries, dhals and any other prep that needs to be done for a wedding lunch. The rest of the staff will slowly build up until it is time to load the vans and get to the venue. Time flies during the morning and before we know it we have set up in the venues kitchen and are making fresh breads, rice, and savoury dishes for the guests. The waiting staff are busy setting up the buffets in the dining halls and usually the buffet would be open by 12 lunchtime. Hundreds of hungry guests line up for a traditional wedding lunch once the ceremony has finished, but this is only half the job done, we still have the evening reception to cater for. After the lunch we start the evening set up with waiting staff ready to dress the 30-40 tables with our linen, crockery, glassware etc. Whilst the kitchen gets busy yet again to prepare canapés and welcome drinks, the dedicated bar staff on the day are setting up the bar with all the alcohol and soft drinks. The event managers on the day, usually myself and Rik will be running around making sure everything is set and ready to go for 6pm. Before you know it the whole venue has been transformed in to a beautiful setting, as guests start to arrive the waiting staff will be floating around with canapés and champagne.
The party is in full swing by the time it comes to serving mains, this would be around 8pm. We can relax once the desserts are served as the bulk of the work is done. As you can imagine the clean up operation is huge. Once the music switches off at around 12 we can clear the bar and be on our way home. After a long day for all the staff.....it's time to do it all again the next morning!
When did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
Being foodies ourselves I think our paths were always set to be in the food industry. For myself growing up in the family business I was always pretty sure that this is what I wanted to do.
Where do you see Shimla Foods in five years time?
I think our vision is to continue to grow, doing wedding and events is great but we don't want to stop there. We want to be seen as a company that caters to all communities and events. There are a number of things in the pipeline for us in the next few years, without giving too much away I'm sure you will be seeing us around a lot more.
It's a great feeling knowing you have completed an event or wedding fully satisfying your clients and guests. The feedback we receive sometimes really makes it hit home what an important role we play for brides and grooms on their big day. That's what drives us to do what we do.
Which Indian and non-Indian restaurants are your favourite in London?
In terms of restaurants we all have our favourites, but personally when I want Indian food it will always be the following.
- Regency (Queensbury)
- Sugar and Spice (Queensbury)
- Caraway (Gants Hill)
- La porta des indes (Marble Arch)
- Chutney Mary
- Divans (Finchley)
- Aksular (Palmers green)
- Ariana II (Kilburn)
- Meat liquor (Oxford street)
- Hache (Camden)
- Patty Bun
- Bleecker Street Burger
- Yum Bun
- Mother clucker Chicken
- Red Dog Saloon
Thank you Shimla foods. That is sure some long list of favourites and i will make sure i visit them all. I have been lucky enough to try some of their food and it is great. I hope that if any of my friends get married soon that they will get Shimla to cater for the day.