29 Nov 2012

25 years ago today...

Today is a very special date here at Bovingdons - it is 25 years to the day since Andrew and I started the business. 1987 feels like yesterday!

Although my motto has always been "we're only as good as our last job", this seemed like a prime opportunity for me to share a little of the past with you.

See below - I've compiled a list of 25 things you might not know about Bovingdons. I've included the big milestones, a little nostalgia, some impressive figures and some fond (and not so fond) memories of some of our more notable jobs. I really could write a book!

I've also found a photo of one of our first plates of canapes - I hope it makes you chuckle as much as I did! Thank goodness us caterers left the doilies in the 1980s.

My thanks to all our loyal clients, our fabulous suppliers and my trusted team; the last 25 years have flown by and everyday has been different. One thing that remains the same; the team and I absolutely love the challenges that being an event caterer brings.

2013 is guaranteed to be another vintage year for Bovingdons, you can expect exiting new venue contracts (more details soon), growth, awards and plenty of foodie inspiration from the Bovingdons team. Onwards and upwards!

25 years - 25 facts, figures and memories

1. Bovingdons was incorporated on Sunday 29th November 1987.

2. Our first office was in Esterbrooke Street, SW1 - we're now in our own unit in Wandsworth.

3. We shared our first office with another small foodie start-up called Pret-a-Manger. We supplied their first three shops from 1982 and I think we stopped at 18 shops in 1992.

4. Our first contracted client was Christies. Lunch for eight, three times a week.

5. It only used to cost 20p to park at the meter outside their offices - no congestion charge in the 1980s!

6. Five of our first clients are still our clients today.

7. We feed over 40,000 guests every year, not just in London but at events across the south of England.

8. Most challenging brief - a chocolate menu for a beauty launch held on a 40 degree day in a greenhouse. Mission accomplished.

9. Most expensive menu - £620 a head plus wine and service. Seven spectacular courses for seven very happy diners. Email me if you'd like to know what they ate!

10. Proudest "show must go on" moment - convincing six local restaurants to let us use their ovens to cook a saddle of lamb for 80 when the venue ovens blew.

11. Most stressful moment - running up Victoria High Street to pick up Noilly Prat and gin for HM The Queen Mother (her office had told us "she will not be drinking" - ma'am was not amused!)

12. Worst nightmare - making 500 bowls of jelly for Noel Edmond's Late, Late, Breakfast Show. Urgh.

13. Biggest event - a corporate Christmas party for 3,000 in a marquee in Isleworth. Three courses served to over 3,000 in 1.5 hours, military precision!

14. Quickest main course service - our record is 660 covers in 11 minutes at Vinopolis - the organisers thought it was impossible but we proved them wrong! It was all caught on camera too.

15. Most canapes served in a single night - 12,000, even more impressive when you consider that some of them were made to order!

16. We still make our own bread and stocks - always have, always will.

17. There have only ever been five Head Chefs at Bovingdons.

18. Our longest serving member of staff is our trusted Kitchen Porter Mickey who's been with us for 16 years.

19. We have one of the lowest staff turnovers in the industry with the average stay of 4.5 years.

20. Andrew and I still work on and in the business everyday.

21. The oldest piece of equipment in our kitchen is the radio - it is on every day from 5am until late. Yes the chefs are often singing.

22. We won our first venue contract in 1993 for The Orangery, Holland Park and Leighton House and still cater there today.

23. In 2009 we launched our first venue, Nonsuch Mansion in Cheam, Surrey.

24. We celebrated our 15th birthday in 2003 by rebranding and building ourselves a new thing called a "website" http://www.bovingdons.co.uk.

25. One of the only menu items that's stood the test of time is smoked salmon and leeks nests with quails eggs - a faultless classic.

Thank you for reading! Do stay in touch.

1987 canapes vs 2012 canapes - as you can see, quite a difference!




  1. I have been looking the World Wide Web for this information Event Staffing Agencyand I want to thank you for this post. It’s not easy to find such perfectly written information on this topic. Great Work!

  2. Wow! I like the food you have here on this photos. I can request for the catering who handled on my wedding to this kind of food on my menu. Thanks for sharing!