It is shortly after 5.30pm at the prestigious event venue Pesti Vigadó when Gábor Marosvölgyi finally has the time to take a breather and sit down with us to discuss the challenges of event services over a coffee. The catering director and his almost 50-person-strong team have been buzzing around like busy bees since 2pm to finish all the necessary preparations for tonight's big event. A company from the banking sector booked their services, and in less than two hours the almost 300 guests will begin to arrive.

In the great hall of the glamorous event venue, all the tables are already set up and ready for dinner. Only the decorators are still making final adjustments to the table settings. In an adjoining room, the kitchen team of head chef Károly Pintér is preparing the appetisers. Preparing more than 260 servings takes some time but the kitchen staff works like Swiss clockwork. Nobody seems rushed.

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Prepared for just about everything

No surprises there. After all, it is not the first project of this scale for anyone. Each year the high-end caterer organises about 90 such major events, including some with a much higher number of guests. "We already did jobs with more than 1000 guests,” Marosvölgyi says, visibly proud. According to the catering director – who has been with the brand since the start in 2016 – there are no restrictions in terms of size, as long as it is possible to rent a sufficiently large location, enough staff and all the necessary equipment.

"The Kitchen Caters" has a decisive advantage over other competitors in the market because it has the backing of the five-star Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, with all its infrastructure, resources and know-how of the local gastronomy and service team. "You always have to be ready for everything," explains Marosvölgyi. "Of course we prepare a few extra portions of food for each event and also have some back-ups when it comes to the vegetarian and gluten-free options. But sometimes it happens that even this is not enough. But in that case at least we have the opportunity to go back to the hotel and get more supplies."

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The customers of "The Kitchen Caters" are predominantly destination management companies, corporate partners and public institutions such as embassies and chambers of commerce. But it is not just large-scale events the caterer takes care of, it also takes on smaller private occasions with, for example, up to 25 guests.

The service ensures that not only the culinary needs are met, with Marosvölgyi and his team offering all-round support for event hosts by carrying out several important tasks. As he explains, most customers have already decided on a particular location when they come to him, but the service provider can also offer to help find a venue. In Budapest, more than 16 prestigious places partner with "The Kitchen Caters".

These include small but exclusive ones such as the Festetics Palace and the Wenckheim Palace, but also some with capacity for receptions of up to 2000 people, for example the Budapest Railway Museum. One of the most popular locations in the portfolio of the service provider is the Museum of Fine Arts at Heroes Square. Since its reopening after extensive renovation more than a year ago, "The Kitchen Caters" has become one of the venue’s exclusive catering partners.

The service is also offered outside the capital, one recent example being the Red Bull Air Race in Zamárdi.


From venue and setup to smenu of the day

Beside organising the venue, "The Kitchen Caters" offers to take care of the setup, including for example the renting of chairs, tables and other necessities. But of course the most important thing remains the culinary offer. Here "The Kitchen Caters" aims for the high standards of quality that their customers already know and appreciate from the gastronomic quality of the Kempinski Corvinus.

"We offer everything from office breakfast to lunch options to festive dinners," Marosvölgyi says. "Customers can of course choose a selection of dishes from our basic menu but we like to fulfil individual requests. Almost everything is possible here." Thanks to its mobile state-of-the-art kitchen technology even the most demanding dishes can be prepared freshly on the spot. This way customers can, for instance, enjoy a perfectly prepared steak at an event away from a professional restaurant.

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The various menu options can be sampled in advance during a tasting at the Kempinski. But what are the biggest challenges when organising an event? For Marosvölgyi it is the fact that he and his team have to try to foresee the unpredictable, to be prepared for any eventuality. "It can always happen that on the day of the event customers suddenly completely change their mind about the schedule or that guests suddenly have other food preferences. We need to be prepared for cases like that."

Service providers such as "The Kitchen Caters" need to show a lot of flexibility, for example when a wedding with more than 700 guests postpones the beginning of the dinner by half an hour because the best man’s speech takes a little longer than expected. "That poses a big challenge for the kitchen because everything is exactly timed,"says chef Pintér.

So far they have not met a challenge that they could not master, even if work in the field of catering does seem to need nerves of steel to keep a cool head in all kinds of difficult situations.

See www.thekitchencaters.com.


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