A caterer’s view of intimate dinner parties

26 Jul


Purple Grape has been providing  lots of dinner parties for small groups of people wishing to enjoy each other’s company, appreciate good food and have a lovely relaxing atmosphere where they don’t have to worry about the who’s doing the cooking (or the washing up!).

Here at Purple Grape, we love a big event. A big show stopper that allows our creative juices to flow and gets us all ticking about like a well-oiled machine. But we also adore the smaller, more intimate dinners, where we are invited into people’s homes and get to create a very special day that you can instantly see is being very much appreciated.

A client, who we provided a gorgeous four course luncheon for, admitted to us that whilst she loves cooking (and is pretty good at it too), providing for over 16 people is just one step too far. The look of relief she gave us when we confirmed that we could come into her house to prepare and take care of everything said it all. From the setting of the table, to serving the luncheon, to making sure the little girl who only wanted to eat pasta had her favourite meal (possibly the most elaborate pasta and tomato ketchup she will ever receive). We made sure that day ran smoothly so that the client could concentrate on her guests and enjoy herself.

The Purple Grape team went up to Selby (Yorkshire) to provide a three course dinner with canapés for 6 people. This was for six friends who had won a competition to receive a fine dining experience and had never had any private catering before. I think when they first sat down, they didn’t really know what to expect. They were a little quiet and waiting to see what we were going to provide them with. But by the end of the evening they were chatting merrily away, with groaning bellies that were happily full, and proclaiming loudly that “that was the best meal we ever and will ever had!”

At large dinners, we rarely get to meet the guests properly. We try to be like helpful shadows ensuring that a seamless event is delivered without a guest ever really realising we are predicting their every need. At small dinners, especially when at someone’s house, everyone wants to come and meet the chef. To see him expertly prepare the Blackened Sea Bass, crisp the skin and artfully arrange the diver caught scallops with the raspberry and sea asparagus salad on to 16 different plates, all the time smiling and chatting to whoever pops in to see the magic. It literally is a work of art to watch. At the Selby event, a young girl was not satisfied with purely watching, and asked us if she too could take round a tray of canapés much to the amusement of her family – anything to feel a part of our team.

What I love about intimate dinners most of all is the genuine kindest and warmth people give us by allowing us into their homes and be a part of their private occasions which may be to celebrate a birthday party, a confirmation, an engagement or just an excuse to have a jolly good party. I consider us incredibly lucky to get to create the right atmosphere and in turn see families share and enjoy each other’s company at their most relaxed. It’s an experience I will never tire of and I’m already looking forward to the next one this weekend – a full day with one family where we will be providing a luxury BBQ for lunch and then an intimate birthday dinner for 20 people.