A TASTE OF WIMBLEDON – By Jane Sullivan, Hampshire Society Magazine
Wimbledon fortnight is approaching but don’t worry if you haven’t managed to secure centre court tickets this year – throw a summer garden party and let Hampshire caterer Emma Way show you how to serve up three winning canapés based on Wimbledon’s favourite foods
As any ardent foodie knows, Britain’s biggest tennis tournament isn’t just about what takes place on the courts; food is an integral part of the Wimbledon experience, with the emphasis firmly on seasonal British fare.
Mention Wimbledon food to anyone, and they will almost certainly think of strawberries – a whopping 27,000 kilos of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are eaten during the two-week tournament. But it’s not just about strawberries. Caterers also serve up 30,000 portions of fish and chips, 60,000 sausage baguettes, 190,000 sandwiches and 200,000 glasses of Pimm’s.
Not everyone has the chance to experience Wimbledon first hand, but you can still get a taste of the tournament at home with a little help from Emma Way, of Hampshire-based event catering company Taste.
Emma knows how difficult it can be to rustle up something seriously impressive in the kitchen while still managing to spend time with your guests, so she has designed three stunning canapés based on Wimbledon’s favourite foods that can be prepared in advance and are sure to create a smash hit at any summer tennis party.
After a successful career as a PA within London based investment bank Gartmore, Emma began a new chapter of her life by moving with her young family to the pretty rural village of Chilbolton. In 2006, she began her catering business Taste.
“I started small, making cakes for local Stockbridge and Andover country markets,” says Emma.
“Then friends began asking for platters of food they could serve at business lunches, and I realised there was a growing demand for the good quality, locally-produced food I was making.”
Emma was no stranger to the catering business. “My parents ran a successful catering company in London and I spent my teenage years helping out in their kitchen.”
As Taste began to grow, Emma realised it was time to expand and converted an unused outbuilding at her home into Taste HQ. While Emma is very much in charge of the kitchen and food development, she has the help and support of husband Richard and daughter Verity to ensure things run just as smoothly front of house, together with a large team of smart and friendly waiting staff.
As Taste has developed, so have the type of events it caters for, including weddings, garden parties, drinks receptions and intimate suppers. Corporate catering is still an integral part of the business, as is memorial catering. Emma has not lost touch with her humble beginnings, though, and still supplies local shops with batches of freshly-baked homemade cakes.
“We pride ourselves on our personal service: if you book Taste, you get catering by Emma Way. I particularly love meeting and building a rapport with clients, working with them to realise their dreams for their special event. We believe all events are important, no matter how big or small. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which probably harks back to my PA days, but I find that helps to ensure that the food and the service are the best they can be.
“It’s great fun experimenting with recipes and coming up with new twists on old classics. Miniature versions of traditional British favourites are very on trend at the moment – like our mini burgers, fish and chip cups, and our Pimms jelly. There is also an increasing demand for a more relaxed dining experience, for example sharing boards packed with local cheese and charcuterie, or sliced whole fillets of beef with all the trimmings.”
Emma is very happy running a successful business, but says: “I want to stay small so I can concentrate on my truly personal service, which is such an important part of my ethos.”
Emma is passionate about supporting local suppliers and producers, and believes providing locally-sourced, sustainable and seasonal food has been key to the success of her business.