Harbour & Jones chef calls on event catering chefs to back his 'Real Food' campaign

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef, Catering, Cook

Leo Rodley, executive chef at Harbour & Jones venue 76 Portland Place, has launched a campaign to encourage more event catering chefs to showcase their use of 'Real Food'
Leo Rodley, executive chef at Harbour & Jones venue 76 Portland Place, has launched a campaign to encourage more event catering chefs to showcase their use of 'Real Food'
Leo Rodley, executive chef at 76 Portland Place, has launched a campaign - Real Food - in order to encourage event catering chefs to showcase their use of quality, seasonal produce and change the negative stereotypes surrounding meeting and event food. 

The Zimbabwe-born chef, who has worked for Harbour & Jones at the Marylebone conference centre since 2007, has started a blog and begun sharing his thoughts on the subject on Twitter in an attempt to change perceptions about the quality of event catering food. 

"Although we do some high-end food and molecular cuisine, we still use basic, good ingredients - free-range chicken and locally-sourced vegetables," he told BigHospitality. "Harbour & Jones has based its ethos on using smaller producers where possible.

"A lot more could be done (in the industry). Are all firms using free-range eggs? Are people recycling everything? If you are going to be green, be green - don't talk about it and not do it," he said. 

Business sense

Rodley said fellow event catering chefs should be encouraged to follow suit because clients are increasingly demanding to know what things venues are doing to monitor supplier standards, in the same way diners are increasingly interested in a restaurant's sustainable credentials.  

"Once you have got the systems in place everyone buys into it but it doesn't come cheap at first," he explained. 

"Installing bins, buying equipment and monitoring collections - food waste is twice a week, cardboard is once a week - can be prohibitive for companies and they shy away from it and don't buy into it.

"Clients have booked here because we have promoted what we do. We do get asked where our stuff is from and if we use ethically-sourced chicken," he added.

Leo Rodley

Rodley heads up the kitchen team who work for Harbour & Jones at the home of the Institute of Physics (IOP) in Portland Place.

He is involved with developing menus and organising events - from fine-dining occasions to meeting and receptions - both in London and Bristol.

Before starting work at 76 Portland Place, Rodley had worked for a number of years as a self-employed event catering chef for various clients in London after studying in South Africa.

Related news

Show more

Spotlight

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers