Undoubtedly unique and undeniably wonderful, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show heralds the start of the summer social season amidst a blaze of colour and exceptional exhibits. It was a great success for show caterer Sodexo which reported a 16% revenue increase year-on-year.

Last week (21 May – 25 May), 170,000 people, including celebrities and VIPs, visited the world’s most famous horticultural event. Sodexo catered for around 60% of the people who attended the show at public food courts and restaurants (the Rock Bank Restaurant, the Champagne and Seafood Restaurant in partnership with Caviar House & Prunier, and the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Lounge).

As part of the show’s 100th anniversary, Sodexo Prestige, Sodexo’s corporate dining, hospitality and events division, introduced new initiatives such as an afternoon tea created for the centenary which consisted of a glass of Champagne, a selection of sandwiches, handmade cakes and a wide selection of teas plus the freshest strawberries served with lavender cream, shortbread and honeycomb.

New for the show this year, Sodexo Prestige introduced a food guide service just inside the entrance gates of theChelsea Flower Show show to help visitors make their food plans for the day and to guide them to the catering locations. This also had a positive effect on the sales. Gala Preview Evening on Monday - one of the most prestigious hospitality events in the UK – was a particular highlight. The Sodexo Prestige team served Champagne and canapés to 5,000 guests.

Tom Parry, Sodexo Prestige executive chef at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, said: “This year we wanted to give the Rock Bank Restaurant a vintage look and feel using pictures featuring shows from the past. With this in mind, I created some exciting signature dishes such as an amuse bouche of chilled English watercress, buttermilk and snow pea velouté; chicken liver parfait, wilted summer berries, pickled beets with hazelnut toast; and English garden pea and shallot tortellini.

“My team also served Champagne and canapés to the Gala guests the day before the show opened to the public. Our canapés included smoked apple wood parfait, cranberries, fruit jelly and toasted walnut bread; English asparagus, yellow peppers and tapenade; and Scottish duck mousse and fig bagel.

“Each day I managed a team of 60 chefs who prepared 35 menus at different locations around the gardens. From the early morning daily deliveries to clearing up at the end of the day ready for the following day’s service, the five days are non-stop, but what a great five days they were.”

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