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The Kalm Calendar: We Are 10!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The Kalm Calendar: We Are 10!

It’s fair to say we know a thing or two about parties. But recently, Kalm Kitchen had its own cause for celebrations as we marked our 10th birthday! There was an incredible canapé-themed cake, provided by Odiham Cake Company, plus a glass {or two} of fizz, and a photo shoot with Eddie Judd to capture the team who have made our story so far very special. With a fair amount of nostalgia on our minds, we caught up with co-founder Jen Middlehurst to take a look back and reflect on where it all began…

Q: Jen, tell us, how and where did the Kalm Kitchen journey begin? 

A: My husband James was already involved in event catering, and meanwhile I was working as a private maternity nurse. Although we had quite different skill sets, we knew we wanted to do something together and felt we had enough vision between us to make it happen. In some ways it was all quite a leap of faith – we had no formal business plan, and we took the fairly bold move to relocate from London to Guildford to set up our first kitchen. At first we were dealing with mainly corporate clients, and then we did our first wedding and things really took off from there. I guess what has worked so well is that our skill sets are a perfect blend. James’s strengths are exceptional food delivery and attention to detail, I’m all about passion, people and creativity. In essence though, we both love exceeding people’s dreams and expectations.

Q: How has the business evolved, and what are the key things which have brought you to where you are today?

A: One thing which hasn’t changed at all is our passion, and the desire to create exciting visual, food displays. Our philosophy right from the start has been to make food accessible, while capturing people’s imaginations – giving generous servings, breaking boundaries in terms of presentation. We quickly established a reputation for inventive food stations and trailblazing new food trends. Once word started to spread, we outgrew the premises in Guildford and moved to a new property in nearby Compton, which could accommodate a separate commercial kitchen. We also welcomed our first child (the first of three) shortly after setting up the business, so it’s fair to say we had our hands full!

Once things started expanding rapidly, we realised we needed premises which could serve as a wash-up/storage for all our tableware. That’s when we first came to Puttenham – and now we have a large, fully-equipped commercial kitchen, offices, meeting rooms and storage facility all in one place. Quite a journey!

Q: Which is the part of the business which excites you the most?

I suppose it is, and always has been, creating food and visual displays which truly push boundaries. We’re just not willing to settle for ‘standard’ in anything we do. Every aspect has to always be of a consistently high quality – and that doesn’t mean stuffy and formal, it’s about re-establishing people’s expectations of event catering, and giving them something that isn’t just exceptional quality, but also generous, delicious and abundant. Food that captures people’s imaginations and creates magical, lasting memories.

Q: What is the most memorable event you’ve been involved in and what made it so special?

A: In fact, it was very recent – a fabulous wedding we had been asked to cater for industry colleagues and friends on the Isle of Wight. They trusted us to do our thing and allowed us to do what we’re best at. The result was just beautiful, and as I was a guest I was able to step back and appreciate what the team had pulled together. I must say, I felt extremely proud.

Q: What would you say has been your biggest achievement?

A: For me, it would be the fact that we’ve created a positive environment for people to work in. Our aim is to nurture a team and see it flourish. Many of our staff have been with us since the very start, and it’s such an honour that they have even chosen us to cater their own weddings. So yes, people are at the heart of what we do, and we are very grateful to have such an amazing crew around us.

Q: What is your favourite ever dish on the Kalm Kitchen menu?

A: One that totally sums us up is our Sharing Millefeuille – an elegant, but gloriously messy, generous, utterly delicious dessert, which encourages everyone to get together and get stuck in!

Q: Who in the food world inspires you?

A: It would be Ottolenghi – his principles of abundance and creating food to be shared and celebrated is very much what we aspire to. I remember years ago wandering past his Notting Hill store almost daily and swooning over the magnificent visual displays in the window. He is such an inspiration.

Q: What’s next for Kalm Kitchen?

A: We’ll continue to work alongside the incredible venues we’re already lucky enough to have links with, and hopefully establish some new, exciting partnerships too. And whether we’ll have our own venue one day? Well, you’ll have to watch this space…

Stay tuned on the blog as we’ll be going behind the scenes and finding out a little more about the faces behind Kalm Kitchen over the coming months. In the meantime, click here to Meet the Team.

Photography: Eddie Judd {eddiejuddphotography.com}

 

 

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Contact

Kalm Kitchen Limited
Unit 5 Lascombe Estate,
Highfield Lane,
Puttenham,
Surrey,
GU3 1BB

01483 813360

Isle of Wight enquiries: 01983 640 340

info@kalmkitchen.co.uk

 

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