Meet the Caterer: Working Picnic
A boutique caterer delivering vibrant, balanced handcrafted food that makes the taste buds sing, Working Picnic showcase a variety of fresh, natural ingredients by using classical techniques and well-considered flavour combinations. And it's safe to say we love them.
So we grabbed five minutes with head chef and founder Suzi Salkeld to discover how Working Picnic succeeds in London's competitive food scene.
What was your inspiration for Working Picnic and how did it start?
I first gained inspiration some years ago while participating in many meeting room lunches, where sandwiches were usually the order of the day. Occasionally we would break with tradition with something a bit different, but that would invariably mean an increased ‘faff factor’ - working out the ratio of one (serves 6) salad to another, assessing flavour combinations, making sure we had enough plates and cutlery and allowing (precious) time to dress the food to impress. What we really needed was convenience without compromise on quality or style – something like Working Picnic, of course!
How did you start out with City Pantry?
I was delighted when I discovered City Pantry as I think it’s a fantastic idea and a much needed service. It was a very easy decision to include Working Picnic in their portfolio, as it’s such a good fit, and they are a delightful, efficient team to work with.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when you founded your company?
Finding an appropriate home for our culinary artistry. Thankfully we found a state-of-the-art, sparkly new commercial kitchen just south of the river, and it feels like home (almost literally!) already.
What is your most interesting experience from your time as founder of Working Picnic?
Developing the menus, tasting, tasting and tasting! It’s primarily about the flavour, and being fastidious about good nutrition, I thrive on making the food healthy too.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I envisage Working Picnic growing to offer a wider service to our customers. This could incorporate different eating occasions or different product formats, depending on changing requirements. At it’s core, however, Working Picnic will remain a ‘deliciously convenient’ service.
What would you name as your favourite package at Working Picnic?
The Parisienne-style lunch tray, for its inclusion of my favourite, slightly indulgent, Paxton’s cheeses.
Favourite restaurant in London and why?
Cheyne Walk Brasserie for its all-round rustic charm, elegance and ubiquitous smell of rosemary from the open oven.
Favourite food blogger and why?
The British Larder (Madalene Bonvini-Hamel). I love the way that Madalene combines ingredients in a way that seems so simple and obvious, yet in a way you probably wouldn’t have though of doing! The sign of an instinctive chef, I believe.
If you could be mentored by any chef, who would it be and why?
Angela Hartnett - I love her calm reassurance and sense of fun, which also shows through in her food.
Thank you to Suzi for speaking to us for our Meet the vendor series! You can read more from the series here: