Having followed Kalm Kitchen on Instagram and swooned over their beautiful food we knew we just had to try it for ourselves.
Kalm Kitchen’s presentation is second to none and we love the importance that is placed on how the food appears. After a tasting session we were delighted to discover the food is just as sublime as it looks, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. We got together to discuss menus and ideas for working together at Kent House Knightsbridge, as we knew our clients would love Kalm Kitchen’s approach to food. One of our favourite dishes is the shared plates which always get guests chatting and interacting with each other. Known for creating a luxurious and generous atmosphere, Kalm Kitchen will realise your vision with beautifully styled displays to enchant and inspire your guests. They have a reputation for transforming the ordinary into the magical. Their approach to food is straightforward; select the best available fresh produce and add just enough magic to let it shine. Find out more in our Kalm Kitchen interview.
How and where did the Kalm Kitchen journey begin?
Kalm Kitchen is headed up by husband and wife team, James and Jen Middlehurst. James was already involved in event catering, and meanwhile Jen was working as a private maternity nurse. Although they had quite different skill sets, they knew they wanted to do something together and felt they had enough vision between them to make it happen. In some ways it was all quite a leap of faith – they had no formal business plan, and they took the fairly bold move to relocate from London to Guildford to set up their first kitchen. At first, they were dealing with mainly corporate clients, and then they did their first wedding and things really took off from there. What has worked so well is that their skill sets are a perfect blend. James’s strengths are exceptional food delivery and attention to detail, Jen is all about passion, people and creativity. In essence though, we both love exceeding people’s dreams and expectations.
What is the Kalm Kitchen approach to food?
James discovered his passion for creating great food in a restaurant in Sydney half way through a round the world trip. On his return he trained at the Tante Marie Culinary Academy, where his talents came to the attention of a leading London event caterer. He spent the next few years honing his skills cooking for major events, private clients and multi-national corporate customers before establishing Kalm Kitchen with his partner Jen in 2006. His focus has always been to bring the standards demanded by International clients to every Kalm Kitchen event, however large or small. His approach to food is straightforward; select the best available fresh produce and add just enough magic to allow it to shine.
We love the emphasis that you place on the settings of Kalm Kitchen food. Can you tell us a bit about your styling?
Jen brings the service standards, style and attention to detail that makes Kalm Kitchen so special. With a brilliant eye for transforming the ordinary into the magical, she uses everyday objects and natural materials to create exciting settings for the presentation of Kalm Kitchen food, a constantly evolving style that makes every event unique and encourages lively interaction between the guests. Jen’s personal approach and ability to visualise, develop and deliver a client’s concept of their perfect event has become instilled into her team of creative and committed event managers who are constantly measured against Kalm Kitchen’s service objective which is to always exceed expectations.
Food is such a great way to get guests interacting – can you tell us a bit about the sharing platters you create?
Special occasions are all about laughing, celebrating and spending time together, and as we all know, gathering everyone around the table can often provide the biggest talking point of all. Kalm Kitchen founder Jen says, ‘There’s something really fun and interactive about food that everyone shares between them. It’s a great, informal way to encourage everyone to chat and get stuck in. The best part of these relaxed feasts is that they always look amazing, and taste completely delicious too!’ Dreaming up and presenting spectacular platters of sharing food is one of our favourite tasks at Kalm Kitchen
Kalm Kitchen have recently celebrated their 10th year anniversary. What would you say has been your biggest achievement over that time? What is the most memorable event you’ve been involved in and what made it so special?
In fact, it was very recent – a fabulous wedding we had been asked to cater for industry colleagues and friends on the Isle of Wight. They trusted us to do our thing and allowed us to do what we’re best at. The result was just beautiful, and as Jen was a guest she was able to step back and appreciate what the team had pulled together. She felt extremely proud.
These days, our clients are increasingly looking for caterers that are environmentally conscious. Have you taken any steps to find greener ways of working?
We’ve never been a company to use any kind of disposable tableware. We prefer beautifully sourced (often vintage) items from our stocks. Even if we’re catering a kids party, for example, we would always shy away from plastics – if anything, we would use wooden cutlery as a greener alternative. And of course, any glass gets recycled – we see a LOT of Champagne bottles being sent off to recycling!
We’re looking into ways of reducing our use of plastics and non-sustainable packaging as much as we possibly can. It can be a challenge as obviously we have hygiene and food safety standards to maintain too, but we are committed to finding alternatives, which are sustainable, fit for purpose and hard-wearing. Reducing our use of clingfilm, for instance, has been a big priority, and also replacing anything disposable with re-usable containers. It goes without saying, but also we’re obviously huge champions of sourcing the most local, freshest ingredients, which has its own positive impact on our carbon footprint.
The first – possibly biggest – initiative for us is that none of our food waste is ‘wasted’. All the by-products from our kitchen – scraps, peelings and leftovers are collected and turned into renewable resources such as electricity, heat and organic fertiliser. In addition, all excess cooking oil is also recycled into renewable energy. The result is that hardly anything from our kitchen goes to landfill.
We’re all conscious of the basics – switching off lights, reducing our energy output with the electricals we use, and we also only use rechargeable batteries. We’ll never stop looking at ways we can go greener and make a difference to the legacy we leave behind.
How do you keep your menu ideas fresh and come up with new innovations and ideas – do you have any food heroes?
It would be Ottolenghi – his principles of abundance and creating food to be shared and celebrated is very much what we aspire to. Jen remembers years ago wandering past his Notting Hill store almost daily and swooning over the magnificent visual displays in the window. He is such an inspiration.
Do you have a favourite dish on the Kalm Kitchen menu?
One that totally sums us up is our Sharing Millefeuille – an elegant, but gloriously messy, generous, utterly delicious dessert, which encourages everyone to get together and get stuck in!