Oystercatcher Catering – Norfolk Based Wedding & Event Caterers

by Michelle

 Oystercatcher  Catering is a family run Norfolk based company. They specialise in creating beautiful dishes using local, seasonal food wherever possible.

We love the contemporary vibe of Oystercatcher Catering’s food. It’s presentation is a delight and by using the finest of ingredients thoughtfully combined, we’re sure your wedding guests will be talking about the amazing food served at your wedding long after the day has passed.

Add to the above a commitment to superb service from a company prepared to go that extra mile and you have a winning catering formula for your wedding. Over to Fiona now to tell us more.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

The name of our business came about one evening when we were on our local beach at sunset and oystercatcher birds surrounded us, flying together against the pink sky. They embodied what we love about Norfolk and how the area makes us feel.

We are a husband and wife team who built Oystercatcher Catering up from nothing through hard work and a love for food and feeding people.

Jackson is the head chef and master of all things food and Fiona is in charge of front of house, bread baking and the day to day running of things. Our aim is to serve elegant, bespoke and delicious meals, using locally sourced produce, which Norfolk has an abundance of! Jackson has spent his career working in outside catering, starting in London at Alison Price.  His extensive  experience in outside catering means that we are flexible to any and all challenges and can deliver in almost any circumstances.

By using local, seasonal produce (some of which is grown by us!), we strive to share this love of Norfolk produce with each diner that we feed. A big part of our ethos is to be environmentally conscious and as a result we run our prep kitchen on 100% renewable energy.

We enjoy building personal relationships with each customer as we plan their special meal together, tweaking parts of their personal menu until they’re just right. By the time the big day comes around, it often feels like we are feeding friends, rather than customers.

What motivated you to start your business?

We wrote our wedding menu together and Jackson made all of the food at our wedding along with a few of his chef friends. A few years later a friend of ours who was at our wedding asked if we’d cater for his friends’ wedding as he’d raved about our wedding food for so long that they wanted us for their big day.

We jumped at the chance and it was a roaring success. We really enjoyed working together to make our dream menu for our wedding and wanted to give that same experience to other couples, so Oystercatcher Catering was born.

Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business

We sit down most days after breakfast and go through any menus or jobs that need discussing, then Fiona does the admin and e-mails whilst Jackson goes to our professional prep kitchen to get cooking. On our days off we’re tending to our fruit and veg plants, growing a lot of the produce that we use for our company.

Don’t let our small core team fool you into thinking that we can’t run a faultless service for 180 people!

 If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?

We pride ourselves on our personal approach to each meal that we serve. Even in our 4th (and busiest) year in business we can name each couple whose wedding we’ll be catering and what date their wedding falls on. None of our customers are anonymous, we appreciate each and every person that comes to us and we work hard to make sure that we provide them with the best possible experience we can give them. We never double book ourselves with weddings. If someone books us for a wedding, we won’t book any other large events for 2 days before the event so that you get our full focus.

We can assure you that we will care about you as an individual, provide you with laid back, friendly service and serve you delicious, beautiful food that  you will remember. We feel very strongly that each of our customers should have the chance to have a unique menu and we love providing them with that.

How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?

It depends on what you want.  Think about the atmosphere of your big day, your vision and the vibe that you want you and your guests to enjoy. Make sure that the caterers, or any other suppliers that you choose, match this energy and understand your vision. You’ll get a good feel for this from your first few e-mails with a company based on how they engage with you. Go with your gut!

Bear in mind, in the time coming up to a wedding you’ll need lots of back and forth of e-mails regarding timings, finer details, dietary requirements, table plans etc, so you’ll want prompt, friendly and comforting responses to put your mind at ease. If a company is slow and ineffective at getting back to you (unable to prioritise you) at the beginning of your relationship together, it’s unlikely to get any better in the busy season!

One final point: it sounds obvious, but if you’re a foodie, make sure that your caterers are food focused (and also foodies!). There’s a tendency in the wedding catering industry to focus on getting the people fed and moving through the day smoothly. In this process the finer details of what separates ‘OK’ food from ‘excellent’ food can be lost. Make sure you see some pictures of actual dishes that have been served at weddings of your size in the past. Nothing makes people feel better and more ready for a good party than some great food, so don’t underestimate what an important decision it is!

What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?

One proud moment was when we did a wedding at The Keeper and The Dell last June, after service, the groom (an ex-chef turned lawyer) came to the kitchen marquee with his chef friends to gush over how good the food was (this is rare in the chef world!).

Another great moment was when we did a wedding for a Norfolk boy marrying an Indian girl and they came in together doing a really sweet traditional Indian dance together. We then provided them with an English-Indian fusion meal which went down a storm, even with the Indian family present! As we mentioned earlier, by the time we get to someone’s wedding it often feels like we’re at a friend’s wedding, not a client’s, so we can get a bit emotionally involved!

This September we are doing an 8 course tasting menu at a wedding and I suspect that wedding would feature in our list of favourites if you were to speak to us in a year’s time!

The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more

Yes our more day to day work is actually for dinner parties of any size (as small as 2 people!). We cater for birthdays, hen/stag dos, anniversaries and even just for people who come to Norfolk on holiday and don’t fancy cooking for a few nights.

What have you got planned for the next 12 months?

Even though we could do more, we aim to stick with 10-12 weddings per year so that we can keep adding that personal touch to each wedding  we cater for.

We’ve started training up our fantastic sous chef to be able to run jobs herself and we hope to expand our availabilities for dinner parties within the next year.

And finally, what or who inspires you and why?

Our main inspiration comes from our customers and their visions. Particularly those who come to us with a strong idea of what they want for their big day.

Our next biggest inspiration is the produce that we grow and that we can source locally in the area. We write our menus first by chatting with our customers and then looking at what is in season at the time of a potential job and taking inspiration from that.

 

All images courtesy of Oystercatcher Catering

 

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