Behind the scenes at our new menu shoot

Differing tastes and lots of people to please at once can make it tricky to keep everyone happy during an event - that's why we take pride in developing a range of mouth-watering menus for everybody to enjoy. From light bites to a networking lunch or gala dinner in The Venue, we'll cover those all-important special touches so you can concentrate on bringing your ideas to life.

The menus

Our new menus take the stress out of catering for your event. Rather than picking just one dish for your whole group (because when there's so much choice, why should you?) we've created an entire range of delicious options that everyone will love. Pick as many or as little as you like... it's your event, your way.

Our Group Executive Chef, James Haywood, formulates the new menus after researching the latest trends in the industry. And he's there on the day too, preparing the dishes, dressing the food and making sure it's looking its best.

We decided the best place to shoot our new dishes would be where the menus were designed to be enjoyed - The Venue. Cue chasing the sun for the perfect lighting, plenty of taste-testing and lots of washing up.

The shoot

Claire, our resident food photographer, joined us for her first taste of corporate events menus. She said: "There was a lot to cover on this shoot as the Center Parcs Conferences & Events offering includes all sorts of dishes, from breakfasts and canapes to finger food and gala dinners."

In preparation for the shoot, our Creative Services team design new concepts for our menus, which gives us some direction for styling the images. Claire says: “Before any shoot we always discuss the style of images and how the final menu will look, so this involves input from the design team as well as marketing. We discuss how the dishes will be grouped and agree on any backgrounds and props that we might need.”

On the day, Claire loads up the car with all the equipment she needs for the day, as well as backgrounds – with everything from plain colours, wooden bases and marble effects.

We started the shoot with our new and improved breakfast offering. Introducing our new Granola Sundaes, which come in a range of flavours to fuel a busy day spent at one of our four forest locations. One of Claire's favourite items to shoot on the day, she said: "Sweet things and pretty fruits are always well behaved for the camera and they have a lightness and brightness to get everything started on a positive note."

"As we worked our way through the menu we had to ensure we photographed everything fresh from the kitchen so it was as it's best. Keeping to schedule is important, as is working in tandem with James and the chefs to let them know what we need."

As the day drew to a close and we'd shot everything from croissants and fresh fruit platters to finger food bowls, buffet dishes, canapes, starters and mains, then came the delicious desserts from our lunch and gala dinner menus - which turned out to be our trickiest dishes of the day. Claire said: "Ice cream is always a tricky one so we had to photograph the desserts quickly before it melted across the plates! We always taste test a few of the items as they leave the set, and I did make the most of the hot apple and cinnamon churros before they got whisked back into the kitchen." 

We're so excited to share our new menus with you when they land later this year. Keep an eye out for further updates so you can be the first to sample them at one of our four locations.

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