The ideal Meeting Room in Sheffield

What makes the ideal Meeting Room?  From our years of experience of catering for a huge range of meetings in Sheffield at many diverse locations here are our top 10 ten factors to consider. 

Our special 11th factor just for January and February this year is FREE ROOM HIRE at our own meeting, dining and event space in Attercliffe, Sheffield.  See here for details.

Meeting with refreshments in progress - Upstairs@PJtaste 54 Staniforth Road, Sheffield.

Meeting with refreshments in progress - Upstairs@PJtaste 54 Staniforth Road, Sheffield.

  • Is it necessary?  Before selecting a venue a key question is what is the purpose of the meeting.  Could everybody save time by not actually holding it or could a "Virtual Meeting" be held or even the good old fashioned telephone put to use?
     
  • Location.  Having decided it is beneficial to get together face to face the geographical location becomes an important consideration.  However, its not always a case of making it the most convenient venue for the majority.  I remember when working in Scotland for Bass Taverns the meetings I attended were all in Birmingham necessitating a long jouney for the smaller Scottish contingent.  An enlighted Director once decided to turn the tables and organised an Edinburgh meeting.  Not only were the Scottish managers grateful but they enjoyed showing off their city and the other delegates appreciated the change of scenery.
     
The Peak District National Park - one great reason to choose Sheffield as a location

The Peak District National Park - one great reason to choose Sheffield as a location

  • Size of the venue.  A trick of PR agencies is to cram a small space with lots of people to ensure all the pictures show how well attended the event was!  Not a great idea for productive meetings where people need plenty of space to feel comfortable.  This extends to allow areas for networking and break out spaces for refreshments leaving the tables for formal meetings and business sessions separate.
     
  • Flexibility of the venue.  Having the ability to set up the room in a variety of layouts is useful along with the flexibility of the venue owners to change this rapidly and possibily mid conference is also useful.  The audio visual support should also be adaptable to work equally well in each format.  As caterers we also appreciate the need for adaquate space to set up refreshments and lunches preferably in a way which does not disturb the meeting in progress.
  • Food and Drink.  Often the most keenly anticipated part of any meeting, conference or training session!  Good food delivered in a timely fashion combined with warm personal service skills can make or break the success of an event.  Look for a proven track record of quality from the caterers, what their food hygiene status is (local authority inspection results for over 1/2 million restaurants and caterers can be found here) and if they have experience of delivering the type, quality and scale for your event.  Ideally the caterer should be making food from scratch, using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.  Having some unique products as well as good sustainability credentials is also a bonus, as is there ability to cater seamlessly for any special dietary requirements.
PJ taste's Sheffield Egg - always a lunch time favourite

PJ taste's Sheffield Egg - always a lunch time favourite

  • Wall Space.  Perhaps a lesser consideration but any good training event should generate plenty of flip chart sheets for display.  Flat and avaialble wall space on which to display is useful along with the blessing of the venue owner for plentiful use of blu tack!
     
  • People.  We all like to deal with people who get the job done efficiently but the really excellent providers are those who make it a pleasure.  Its worth seeking out venues where the team in charge not only fit your needs but are able to anticipate, tailor their product espcially for you and delight.  At PJ taste we have been lucky enough to work with Andy Hanselman and strive to embody his 7 characteristics of a 3D business in everything we do.
     
  • Licensing and additional services.  In order to serve alcohol, play live music or show film a venue must have the appropriate license from the local authority.  These can be useful adjuncts for a venue as can their flexibility to provide for one off requests.  As an example at a recent event for Tesco held in our venue Upstairs@PJtaste we sent out for more helium when the organisers supply for her gold ballons failed!
The PJ taste team posing with one of the business's electric delivery vehicles

The PJ taste team posing with one of the business's electric delivery vehicles

  • Transport Links.  Rather than relying on cars as the only feasible means of access having good public transport links is sensible.  Being on a tram, train and bus route gives delegates the opportunity to leave the car at home and perhaps enjoy that complementary drink inbtoi the bargain.
     
  • Quiet with no disturbances.  For most meetings where the business outcomes are important, large picture windows onto interesting scenes are not necessarily going to be the most productive.  Likewise noise pollution from ajoining rooms, external building works and noisy caterers are also to be avoided.
Always a good question to pose at the end of a meeting!

Always a good question to pose at the end of a meeting!

Edible Chrysanthemum - preserving seasonal produce #3

Edible Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum coronarium, is an easy to grow annual plant which has thrived in the garden this year.  It is a member of the Asteraceae/Daisy family and otherwise known as garland chrysanthemum or chop suy greens.  Originally from the Mediterranean the plant has spead over Asia and the American continent

Simply grown from seed in the polytunnel with successional sowings over April, May and June the seedlings were hardy and grew quickly in a variety of soils and positions once planted out.

The stems and leaves are used in stir frys and steamed as a green and if you want to encourage this kind of growth then pinching out the top growth to prevent early flowering is useful.  However, having a ready supply of flowers has been brilliant for adding colourful garnishes to our delivered and event catering and these plants willingly started to flower and have kept flowering well into the Autumn, producing the lovely yellow and white and pure yellow blooms.

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

To preserve the flowers for use over the winter we have been drying them and crystallising them.  The dried flowers will make a lovely golden tea and the sugared ones will give an extra month or two on the garnishing front.

Taking preservation to its logical conclusion I am now collecting the drying seed heads ready for planting next year.  I suspect that there will also be a lot of self seeding going on and it will be useful to be able to recognise the seedlings in case they start to take over large parts of the garden!

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds - preserving seasonal produce #1

We are learning more about growing our own food crops in a sustainable and productive way.  In this series of blog posts I will be picking one plant that I have grown this year and showing one simple and interesting way to preserve it.  The focus is on great taste and methods to store seasonal harvests into food which can be utilised in the coming months.

In this first post I look at Nasturtiums ,Tropaeolum minus, and how its simple to pickle the seeds to produce a caper like substitute.

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturiums are an easy to grow plant producing edible leaves, flowers and seeds.  In our new garden the rabbits seemed to love the young plants so after raising from seed in the polytunnel they were very vulnerable when initially planted out.  Tree guards worked well and from just a few plants we harvested dozens of flowers, followed by loads of seeds.  The dilema was how many to dry and save to plant for next year and how many to pickle!

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

As the flowers die back you will notice the distinctive seed pods forming.  These can be collected whilst still green straight from the plant (you may also notice that some will have already fallen to the ground - judicious selection will determine whether these too are collectable).

Pickling the seeds is simplicity itself and an excellent recipe and method can be found on the Decorators Notebook Blog

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

Celebrate Autumn's bounty with our special buffet menu

Featuring our own Sheffield grown food and artisan Derbyshire produce our special buffet for Autumn 2016 captures the essence of nature's bounty.
         

Sheffield Eggs - PJ taste April 2013.jpg

Menu - Cold Fork Buffet

Fresh baked courgette and cheddar quiche (PJ taste grown courgette) (V)
Platters of PJ taste Sheffield Eggs – Moss Valley pork, Hendos
Stanage Millstone Cheese – a new cheese made in Hathersage served with PJ taste baked bread and our plum chutney (Sheffield grown plums) (V)
Roasted beets, carrots and Jerusalem artichoke with a herby tahini sauce  (v)
 Potato salad with chives (PJ taste grown chives)
Selection of PJ taste Sheffield rhubarb Bakewell and bowl of Hazelhurst organic heritage apples (Sheffield grown)

Free delivery for orders of 10 or more people in Sheffield please book on   0330 043 1954 or ask@pjtaste.co.uk

Some Customer feedback:
We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in our event on Friday, the day was a huge success and we have received some very positive comments throughout the practice. Your excellent communication prior to the event and the attention to detail we received was military perfection which did not go unnoticed.
Sally Hutchinson, Senior Office Manager, Purcell July 2016

I would like to say a massive thank you from myself and all at Wake Smith.  Your service and food has been excellent and it has been a pleasure working with you. 
Bridie Mulgrew, Marketing Executive, Wake Smith Solicitors.  May 2016

I wanted to write to thank you for the wonderful catering at our event last Friday.   Not only was the quality of the food and drink exemplary but your accommodating and calm approach was very much appreciated by myself and colleagues. 
Alan Dick, Head of Policy, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

 

On the road to sustainability

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Since moving to our new production kitchen and premises at 54 Staniforth Road we have become increasingly interested in how to develop more sustainability. 

We have been extremely impressed with our Nissan electric van since taking delivery in March.  This was sourced through the Inmotion Scheme which adds very favourable grants for business.  We are able to charge the van via the 39 panels installed on our roof which effectively makes the running costs free and not to say zero carbon!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Now working on the refurbishment of floor 2 at Staniforth Road we are keen to incorporate as many features as possible to increase the sustainability of resources used in years to come.  Built into the plan so far are effective insulation, low energy lighting, rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting (of excess kitchen water use) as well as indoor growing!  This will involve extending our recent experiments in growing micro greens indoors to incorporating it as a key feature in the new space.  With Sheffield Architects Burnell Briercliffe working with us on the scheme we would welcome any further tips on building sustainability into this refurbishment.

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

Talking about growing we are extending the volume of crops we grow ourselves and are looking for land on which to develop an Urban Forrest style garden.  The ambition would be to grow more unusual perennial plants, bushes and trees to produce crops which we can then use and preserve for out of season use within our menus.  Of course some supplies are hard to grow and source locally.  Whilst we obtain excellent organic Yorkshire flours and oats from Driffield, sugar at the moment is a more global commodity.  It is arguably grown relatively unsustainably in the UK (see my previous post here) so its good to see the progress of our Stevia growing experiment.  Planted out in June the foliage has developed well and we are looking forward to our first harvest in the Autumn.  Once dried we can make a dried powder and a liquid sugar substitute.  On a larger scale it could make a significant contribution to our sweetening needs.  We will be taking cuttings in the Autumn and try to sustain more plants through the winter.  They are not frost hardy so we will need need to think about this.

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

On the waste front we have a way to go.  We do compost all our organic kitchen waste and recycle cardboard and glass but our general waste bin always seems to fill up fast.  Good kitchen management can help by using just in time stock ordering, sensible portion planning, preservation techniques and clever use by-products.  This should result in virtually no direct waste of ingredients although packaging of ingredients always seems excessive - any ideas to reduce this? 

Our ultimate aim is to produce creative and exciting food for your event that is as near to carbon free as possible.  See our menus here and watch our progress!