We’re continuing our foody theme on the blog this week with an interview with Iain, who runs Blue Bus Catering Co.
Rebecca wrote a lovely piece last night, all about alternative and quirky food ideas for your wedding day, and it’s clear that caterers are starting to break the mould too. No longer is it considered necessary to have a sit down formal meal – the rules have changed and you can eat whatever the bloomin’ eck you want!
Iain runs his catering company from his wonderful VW camper van, called Blueberry!
When did you start the business? What was your motivation for doing so?
I started Blue Bus Catering Co. just before Christmas last year, cooking for a couple of parties, street food style. I had been toying with the idea of taking my food on the road for ages. I love working as a restaurant chef, though with a young family I decided it was time for a change. We already had Blueberry, our camper van, to use as transport and a base of operations, and everything else just fell neatly into place. I am absolutely loving the variety my job gives me. I get to work with the finest ingredients, often visiting my suppliers to collect their wares, and I get to work all over this beautiful county.
How much experience do you have?
I started cooking in restaurant kitchens whilst studying for my art degree back in 1995. I started at the bottom and gradually worked my way up the ladder. I spent a couple of seasons running a private ski chalet in France with my girlfriend (now wife) Amy. After a brief stint in Bath, we opened our own restaurant in Looe which we sold when our first daughter was born. Since then, I have continued working in Cornwall as a chef, either in restaurants or as a caterer.
What you offer is very unique – where did the idea for a camper van come into it?
Kind of by chance, really. We had been in love with the idea of owning a camper van for ages, and after a holiday in Scotland which we spent touring around in a hire van, we decided to finally get one. My little girls absolutely love it. The initial idea was that we could rent it out to people on holiday in Cornwall but after we had spent six weeks living in it ourselves, we decided we couldn’t. The idea to use our van for catering grew organically. The time came to finally do it last year and I haven’t looked back; I haven’t had time to!
I’m organising a marquee wedding in the middle of a field! Can you cater?
Of course! I am catering for a lovely young couple’s marquee wedding this month. I can work with you to produce a menu that fits the bill. I can take care of the food either serving from the van, or provide table service. I can do both a lunch reception then more of a street food feel when the party gets going!
I’m looking to organise a secret cliff top meal for my soon-t0-be finance, and I plan to propose! Can you cater?
Absolutely. I have just cooked for a couple’s very special celebration in a tiny fisherman’s lodge by the river in the middle of a woodland. As long as I can get the van to you, I can cater. You could either sit outside in the setting sun, or sit in Blueberry, my vintage dining room on wheels!
Can you give me a few sample dishes?
If I am serving from the van, I make a mean fish and shellfish stew, served with a rouille (a kind of garlic mayo with saffon and cayenne). Pulled shoulder of pork is always popular, I usually serve it on homemade griddled flat bread with apple coleslaw and a selection of homemade sauces, like my chipotle chilli sauce. I make various individual tarts, such as rhubarb and custard, chocolate and raspberry or classic lemon. I also offer a more refined service for formal or intimate occasions.
Do you just offer catering, or can you provide drinks and staffing too?
I work closely with my good friend Tamsin at Wadebridge Wines who is extremely knowledgeable, and between us we can provide food and rink. A cocktail bar, champagne and canapés, Cornish cream teas with a bit of local bubbly? I am also building up a pool of talented people to staff various events.
Can I find you at any events this year?
The next event I will be cooking for is a performance of Nick Darke’s play “The Dead Monkey” on 29th April in Wadebridge Town Hall. I will be at various local festivals and I’m planning a few pop up events throughout the summer. I will also be holding various demos and classes including pasta making and fish prep. Keep an eye on the website or Twitter for breaking news!
Want to find out more?
If you’re interested in having a chat with Iain about your wedding catering, then you can find him in the following places –