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Behind the scenes: How to make a corporate catering menu from scratch

By Susan Slager (aka the Baking Monkey)

I am spilling the beans on behind the scenes of Monkey Business Catering from the last few tumultuous months…

Read it here first!

 If I could put it in flashing lights, I would….

Hold on to your napkins….

Coming soon to a table near you……. 

Have got your attention?!? 

With the COVID ongoing yo-yo between isolation, changing restrictions & freedom, our industry has been hit hard.  Those of us in hospitality have found ourselves with a little bit more time on our hands, in that there is very little, practically no catering going out the door of our kitchen.

So what has this troop of monkeys been up to? Well,  praise the Lord, we still all have our jobs, a blessing we are all so grateful for.

Firstly I will start with what we have not done and that is we have not  bunkered down, nor stuck our heads in the ground and waited for this season to roll over us.

 Instead, we have ‘taken the bull by the horns’, ‘grabbed this opportunity with both hands’, each one of us and made the most of this quieter time, to work behind the scenes, catching up on office work, updating procedures etc and setting the wheels rolling on all those brilliant ideas, we have had over the last 12 months in terms of what we can do to improve our systems and our menus, and thus our offerings to you, our wonderful and most greatly appreciated, customers, both large and small.

So for me, being relatively new to the company, that is, I have been with this amazing ‘troop’ for less than a year, I of course have come with lots of ideas from my 15 plus years of experience in various hospitality roles. These having ranged from ‘under water ceramics technician’   to kitchen hand, baker of all things sweet, barista, front of house rolls, even function co ordinating.

For me, in my role in  this amazing little ‘troop’, this has meant firstly presenting my ideas to the ‘head monkey’, finding recipes that we can adjust and make our own, and then trialling those recipes. Some turning out as expected and others not working at all ( sounds amazing, but in REALITY…) and others just needing some fine tuning, and then some final tweaking. 

All this trialling requires volunteers (please be willing) to do the initial taste testing. Always a risk as everyone has their own distinct likes and dislikes when it comes to food, and with the rise in popular TV cooking shows, everyone is now an ‘expert’ on food. One lesson I have learnt, is not to be offended by the opinions of my taste testing  volunteers.  Yes, you guessed right, I have been trialling base recipes on my family members, before bring them (the recipes) into the  work kitchen for tweaking (and family are often our harshest critics)

But there is more to consider than just taste. Once we are satisfied with the taste there are a lot more boxes to be ticked….is it reproducible on mass, can every employee make it, is it transportable, is it freezable, what about shelf life, how will we package it, and probably the most important criteria, what is the final cost of the product?

So there you have it, you now know what we have been up to here at Monkey Business Catering and yes there is a NEW MENU!

P.S – Be sure to check out our delectable Sweet Finish Canapes, our nod to COVID coping mechanisms with an overwhelming decedent alcoholic theme…  those delicious Pina Colada Macaroons, Rum Nut Clusters & the mini Baliey’s Eclairs!!!

Monkey Business Catering – Intagram – Sweet Finish Canapes: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCH5ZwbpGRe/

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