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Concept Cooking and Destination Dining

TOAST talks concept cooking and destination dining with gourmet caterers Anson and Curtis

A bespoke picnic for 8 in the British countryside? No problem. A luxurious dinner party for 12 in a Spanish villa? Consider it done. Gourmet caterers Anson and Curtis talk TOAST through their ‘destination dining’ and ‘concept cooking’ and share their top tips for smooth entertaining, wherever you are.



It is often said that good things come in pairs, and dynamic catering duo Anson and Curtis are no exception.

Whilst working together for a catering company back in 2012, Elizabeth Curtis and Caroline Anson quickly bonded over their enthusiasm for whipping up creative and delicious dishes that look as good as they taste. Fast-forward five years and Elizabeth, who studied at the prestigious Leiths School of Food and Wine, is at the helm of the kitchen, whilst Caroline oversees all enquires, logistics and staff. Between them they have 10 years worth of experience whipping up mouth-watering menus for a truly varied range of events, taking a very personal approach each time.

Running a small company and being our own bosses means we have the luxury of accommodating almost any client request,” explains Caroline.

Corporate and private dining is very popular, but we also love to organise launch parties, award events and even working with brides to plan their wedding breakfast! We catered for the Wandsworth Business Awards last December where we fed 270 guests with canapés and a 3-course dinner. This was our largest event to date and we surprised ourselves with how smoothly it all ran on the evening, and were thrilled with the feedback. It showed us that we are definitely ready to take on bigger and better events this year!”

Anson And Curtis Canepe Dish

Canepes Anson And Curtis

Anson And Curtis Bakwells

The Anson and Curtis kitchen can be found nestled in Battersea, South West London, but despite their urban location the team can cater just about anywhere and everywhere – hence the term ‘destination dining’. The girls pride themselves on their willingness to provide excellent food wherever the client might want it, meaning that they regularly travel across the country and even the continent to cater.

Destination dining is all about creating menus to suit a different environment,” explains Caroline. “It could be going abroad with a client and relying on local market produce, or creating a menu to be served in a car park at Ascot! It's all about being flexible outside of our usual kitchen environment.

Previous jobs have included an opulent dinner party in a Spanish villa, an Alpine-themed wedding in the depths of the English countryside, and brilliantly bespoke and beautifully packaged picnic hampers for the British Touring Car Championships at various locations throughout the UK. Alongside this ‘destination dining’, Anson and Curtis’ ethos also encorporates something that they call ‘concept cooking.’

Concept cooking is basically pushing the boundaries of cooking beyond the usual restaurant-style menu,” explains Elizabeth. “This gives us the freedom to be at our most creative and produce something truly spectacular for the client.”

Recent creations include gin and tonic cured sea trout with lemon cream, horseradish snow, black toast and confit lemon to start, delectable canapés such as jerusalem artichoke quinoa aranchini with truffled aioli and crispy sage, sumptuous buffet dishes such as guinea fowl supreme with a mushroom and brandy stuffing served with freshly baked lavender and thyme bread with roasted garlic butter, and to finish? Pecan and treacle tart, with salted caramel ice cream, crystallized berries and brittle. Their mouth-watering menus are imaginative and seasonal, and presentation is always of the upmost importance.

We don't like to hide behind fussy presentation, but let the food take centre stage. We definitely believe in the saying ‘you eat with your eyes', so we make sure whether it's a small bite, cheese table or a three-course dining experience, that every mouthful looks and tastes fantastic.” explains Elizabeth.

We spend a lot of time discussing in the kitchen, trying new ideas and adding our own Anson and Curtis twist to classic dishes,” adds Caroline. “Ultimately, we only design menus and dishes that we enjoy ourselves, and the thrill of a happy client and seeing an event run smoothly after months of planning, tasting and preparations is hard to beat!

Anson And Curtis 5


As well as conjuring up a variety of delectable dishes and wickedly tasty treats (their brownies are to die for), Anson and Curtis can also provide ‘lighter’ menus, which are a welcome relief after an indulgent Christmas. If you’re planning a do this month, take a look at TOAST’s guide to throwing guilt-free dinner party featuring a specially designed lighter 3-course menu from Anson and Curtis, over on TheEdit now. But before you go, here are the talented duo’s top tips for entertaining at home;  

Anson and Curtis' Top Dinner Party Tips 

  • Organisation is key. When you host a party you want to be able to spend time with your guests, not panicking in the kitchen!

  • Prepare as much as you can in advance - from prepping the vegetables to putting things in saucepans ready to go.

  • Ambience is really important; low lighting and some candles can really set the scene. Elizabeth has taken to flower arranging recently which really makes the table look homely and welcoming.

  • Seasonal ingredients will avoid any issues with unripe fruit and vegetables, so choose a simple menu based on what’s in season.

For more information about Anson and Curtis have a look at their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 20 January 2017

  dinner party food, menu creation

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