Wow…what can we say about this huge event that we have had the pleasure of being part of once again.
With a crowd of 300 guests to feed a 3-course sit down meal to, this is no mean feat! The intention is purely to raise as much money for the Hospice as possible, so the organisers of this event really do mean business….and it has to be just right.
With an event on this scale it is all in the organisation, which takes weeks…months even, and hinges on so many things coming together. Every last tea spoon has to be considered, because when you are in a marquee in the middle of nowhere you can’t just magic things you may have overlooked out of thin air! And we were just praying that when we collected 140 fresh dressed crabs that morning from the fishmonger that their catch had come in! Too late to change the menu and offer beans on toast!
The day kicked off with canapé and a band playing outside. The weather was somewhat challenging at times (a few very heavy thunder storms and downpours of torrential rain) but somehow the guests seemed to get seated in the marquee just in time, and out the back we managed to carry on regardless, even though parts of the service tent were beginning to look more like Glastonbury than East Dean!
The menu was seasonal and making use of local suppliers. Starters included a Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Terrine with a Balsamic Vinegar reduction, and Carpaccio of Beef with a Ginger and Soy dressing. The main meal was either Dressed Crab on a bed of Samphire, Green Beans and Asparagus or Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Maple-roasted Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Candied Pistachio Nuts.
With the help of 50 local school students to carry the plates, we got the food out promptly and efficiently. With our staff overseeing their own group of students, it was a system that worked well. Of course with a group this size there will be several dietary requirements to consider, but these were all dealt with too with minimum fuss as we had been informed of these before hand and had made alternatives that were suitable.
In fact once again we managed to pull off this huge operation….although we were all very glad to get home that night!
In the space of just 4 hours, they managed to raise a phenomenal £50K – absolutely incredible, and we were so grateful to be a part of it. Here’s what the Hospice wrote about the proceedings of the day….