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Catering for the Commonwealth: our experience serving the Games’ VIPs

Two years ago, the future of Just Good Food hung in the balance, with social events and gatherings grinding to a disconcerting halt. 

Two months ago, that was a very different story as we found ourselves being asked to provide catering for one of the most globally reputable watch brands, Longines, at one of the most significant multi-sport events in the world: the Commonwealth Games. 

“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had to turn people down,” said Louise, who was inundated with catering requests throughout the occasion. 

“I still can’t believe we had the opportunity to be a part of such a huge event like the Commonwealth Games and to say that we’ve catered for Longines.”

Dishes plated up

Commencing in December of last year, the process of organising the team, food and equipment proved lengthy. 

Several tasting sessions were created for the client to sample different flavour profiles, presentations and three-course combinations, with the 17 food menus not finalised until a few weeks before the Games began. 

Brimming with local produce sourced from areas and allotments around Birmingham, the menus illustrated subtle inspiration from the cuisines of a few Commonwealth nations.  

And what a selection we managed to deliver.

Main dish

From masala monkfish and pickled carrot canapes, wild mushroom fricassee and sous vide guinea fowl to lemon curd and almond tart, pumpkin ravioli and Moroccan lamb bowl food, the almost infinite choices demonstrated the dedication which had gone into finding a premium range of ingredients. 

“I think Longines were quite gobsmacked about how good the food and service was,” Louise recalled. 

“When I asked the main client how the services had been during the week, he said everything was simply excellent.” 

Across the ten days, we served a variety of canapes, three-course lunches and dinners, afternoon teas and bowl foods which were all accompanied by a series of aptly-named cocktails, wines, local beers and soft drinks. 

High-quality coffee, made from locally-roasted beans from the Quarter Horse Coffee House on Bristol Street, was also offered alongside teas after each meal. 

Steak cut plated with a green sauce splatter

Everything down to the table layout was thoroughly thought through, with different settings on each so that returning guests could enjoy variation. 

Hosted in The Compound Studio which is located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the dinner occasions catered for many of the Games’ dignitaries and officials. 

“It’s a unique venue. It has its limitations so you need to be aware of the things you can and cannot do,” said Kristina, a Just Good Food team member and onsite manager for the events. 

“I’m happy with how everything went though and there were clean plates for the most part. It was quite interesting to see people’s different tastes – there were people from Greece and Korea on the same table and the Greek people saw the bread and said ‘beautiful’ but the Korean guests were not so keen on it. Its just a difference in culture.” 

Dish with splatter decoration

Alongside the work we carried out for Longines, we also continued our ongoing catering service for The Priory House and Unique Venues Birmingham, the latter of which saw us producing hundreds of lunches for security members and individuals involved with the Games.

“We couldn’t have taken on any more clients. I wanted to ensure that the quality of our food was maintained and if we’d spread our wings across more events it wouldn’t have been possible to do this,” Louise explained. 

“I’m just so thrilled we pulled it off and it was fabulous to know that Longines had confidence in us. They told us every day how fantastic and lovely the team was.” 

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