Thomas the Caterer – an awesome East Midlands Wedding Caterer!
I met Tom at a shoot at Bawdon Lodge organised by Val Mattinson from Benessamy Events- she has the knack for getting a fab team together. He cooks really good food and is a fun, sparkly, kind, loveable guy. I wanted to interview and recommend him properly. He is the only published wedding caterer in UK! but I’ll let him speak from himself. (The second part will be more specifically about outdoor weddings including some precious tips)
Tom: So my name is Tom, I am the owner of the business Thomas the Caterer where we offer bespoke wedding catering, .. mainly weddings but other events in the East Midlands. We’ve been going for 4 years, 5 years in October I don’t keep track of age, I should really celebrate but I don’t.
Last year we won Best Wedding Caterer for the East Midlands which I’m really proud of and also a pie award that’s really great.
Alix: Yes I read about that!
Tom: We have a big strong team now. I’ve got a business manager, chefs, task managers, office manager so moving forward, growing every year and making wedding catering awesome which is my thing.
Alix: Yes! How did you come to cooking?
Tom: I ate spaghetti carbonara when I was seven
Tom: That’s the truth. I jus thought how can I eat something that is so delicious and that was it, I just wanted to be a chef, so I was seven, I’m thirty two now so that’s twenty five years. 25 years of wanting to cook for a living
Alix: Seven is when I got my first camera! So what was your path from there?
Tom: I just went to school until I was 15, came home from school and made dinner, every day
Alix: Lucky mum!
Tom: Yes she was, and dad! And then I left school, I went straight to college to be a chef, I got a part-time job as a chef. I left college pretty quickly , went to restaurants and one day after my 19th birthday left for France!
Alix: Yeah! which is why you speak such good French!
Tom: Thanks, so that was 13 years ago, such a long time ago. I travelled a lot: France, South East Asia, Australia, and went on to meet my wife.
I came home, worked in a couple of restaurants and then, when we were getting married we had a tipi wedding and at the time we couldn’t find anyone to do what we wanted. Luckily I got help from my friends. But it was clear that there was an option for us, a gap in the market for what I do now and I’ve always wanted to have my own business.
After working in restaurants I knew that I didn’t want to have my own restaurant because it’s very very much a tie, it’s relentless. When you want to stop you have to close the restaurant down you know so that worked out quite well in that respect. I can say I’m not working on a week end if I like, if I don’t have anything booked obviously, I’d never let anyone down.
I have the power to stop, I can just block out some time for me and my family. And having Christmases off, no-one gets married at Christmas or very few people and so I can have a bit more of a lifestyle while still doing something I love , which is very important to me.
Alix: Do you cook at home as well?
Tom: Yes I do cook at home as well yes I do. Family meals. My boys eat dinner at 5 o’clock and I finish work at 4:45 so I do cook but not all the while
Alix: What’s their favourites?
Tom: Pasta, they like pasta and rice, Yes risotto, they love risotto.
Alix: What about you?
Tom: Mmm my favourite? I love a really good steak in Bearnese sauce, love carbonara still,a fter all these years, a decent burger. I don’t like rare burgers. Ice cream. Triffle. Sticky toffee pudding.
Alix: How did you come to write a book?
Tom: I wrote a book because I wanted to show people that wedding catering didn’t have to be boring, you know, that it could be something far more exciting. Without being bland and grey I guess.
Now I look at my book and I’ve already moved on , just little things.
Alix: You should have a magazine!
Tom: That’s probably not a bad idea! That’s what I wanted to show, literally show people: look at this, it can be anything you want, it’s blue sky thinking, you can have what you want.
Alix: When you have clients from different cultures, do you research recipes?
Tom: Yes. Yesterday I had a chat with a chap about a Nepalese food, I had to research it and find out more. We did it with Dutsch croquettes and that was a bit mad but they said it was delicious. Yes I do a lot of research, scout the internet. I love that aspect, the challenge, the new-ness.
That’s why we don’t have menus, we make it bespoke, I didn’t want to do the same thing twice. I don’t want to be bored. I’ll probably do mainly chicken and beef but served differently, presented in some wacky way. Not like here is your chicken and green beans, not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s delicious but I don’t want to do that every time. I love the inspiration I get from brides and grooms because they’re all different. I look forward to their idea, I get excited. The problem is the gestation time, the lead to the wedding, sometimes it’s two years you know.
Alix: What about vegetarians and vegans?
Tom: Last Saturday we did a vegan wedding and they loved it. We guarantee that at least 5 people will say how amazing the food is and the lady said she had 40 people coming up to her and saying the food is so great. They were very happy. It was difficult for us to do because a reaction from a chef might be a splash of cream , a dollop of butter, even honey, forget honey. So doing that was a little bit of a test but it was good, I enjoyed it and I liked the food.
So if you’re planning a wedding in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and nearby, and are looking for a caterer who can do bespoke, exciting, innovative food, do give Thomas a ring on 0116 326 0529