From the beginning: food solves everything; coming together with friends and family is the most important part of life and good food really is the heart and core.
It was under this notion that Carway-Roe Events was born; working as head chef in a restaurant was very exciting for me but I wanted something more. I wanted to create an experience for people. I was overwhelmed at the amazing response to my first small dinner party and it encouraged me to do more.
To this end I planned and held my first Supper Club at the Blue Joanna, carefully creating a seasonal tasting menu. Afterwards I kept being asked when the next one was going to be! I held my second one at Bedfords and by this time I was confident that I wanted this to be my path. I met Phoebe, my partner, at the Last Wine Bar where she worked Front of House. She has a very natural way with customers, making them feel so comfortable; she is passionate about what she does and has an incredible work ethic. Together we started working as a team holding dinner parties, whilst still working full time. We were receiving more and more enquiries and so last June decided to take a gigantic leap that would change our lives. We made the decision to leave our positions and take on Carway-Roe Events full time. At the then ages of 22 and 24, it was both scary and incredibly exciting, but we knew we both had so much young creative energy, imagination and passion about food and people that we couldn’t wait to get started and push our business forward!
Just over one year on and we couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved so far. We are the recommended caterer at fantastic venues, halls and houses all around the county such as Holkham Hall, Henham Park, Hales Hall, Godwick Barn, Ash Tree Barns, Fishley Hall, Mount Amelia and Carrington House to name but a few. We have secured contracts with Barefoot Retreats in Burnham Market and Salt Norfolk in Holkham, both holiday cottage rental companies, for their guests to enjoy our unique catering services during their holidays. As we were both born and raised in Norfolk, we love being able to showcase the incredible produce our county has to offer to holiday makers from around the globe! We always provide a complimentary dinner party for the owners of the venues/houses so they and their friends are able to sample what we offer. The feedback has each time been phenomenal and highly encouraging for myself and Phoebe to keep driving forward.
We have long-standing relationships with our suppliers, such as Howard & Sons, Archers, Nurtured in Norfolk and Easters, and during the past year we have enjoyed getting to know, working with, and planning to work with, businesses such as Flint Wines, Marsh Pig and St Judes Cheese. (All of who we met at the fantastic food circus event at Hales Hall Great Barn.)
We have become busier and busier with our events, such as dinner parties, weddings, corporate events, garden parties, street food events, intimate private dining, tasting menu dining, retreats, vegan/specialty events, and large birthday/hen parties. We are enjoying the huge variation of events, and have recently become busy enough to take on a part time sous chef Dan Gorton who is an incredibly talented chef. (He won Chef of the Year at Norwich City College). This has allowed us to take on more than one event per day; we are now able to do two weddings, or up to three dinner parties in one day.
We have a pool of fantastic and experienced front of house staff who work with us at the larger events such as weddings. Each front of house team member has commented on how much they enjoy working with us – we strongly believe in a happy work place!
One of the achievements we’re particularly proud of this year, which sets us apart, is the introduction of our cookery school. Open to all abilities and ages, we create a bespoke menu with our clients, based on what they would particularly like to learn to master, whether it be a three course meal, or types of bread, etc., then we come to their house with all of the ingredients and I take them through step by step on their food journey. The cookery school includes a bag of treats such as a recipe pack, and a Carway-Roe Events apron.
We always create our menus bespoke, tailored around the seasons and the customer. There isn’t anything we won’t do (so far!) and I am always looking for inspiration, whether I am prepping in our Carway-Roe Events kitchen in Norwich or travelling, I always keep my notebook with me to quickly write down ideas whilst they are fresh and I’m feeling inspired. This year we started ‘Carway Confidential’ which is a blog on our website, where I talk about a favourite ingredient I’m excited to use which has come into season, for example wild garlic, then post a recipe using it.
We love to support other independent businesses. We want to take part in more community events, such as the Norwich Lanes Fayre, (if it hopefully goes ahead next year!) food festivals and pop-ups. Phoebe has just passed her Personal License – this is because of our exciting new venture – offering a bar service to our clients. We have a beautiful (very old!) bar that belonged to Phoebe’s great uncle at his farm in Walsingham, which we are preparing to ‘do up’ and convert into a portable gin bar, as Norfolk has so much fantastic Gin to offer. We will name the bar ‘Abbey Bar’ after Abbey Farm where it came from in Walsingham and, good news, we have just taken our first booking for Abbey Bar for a wedding in 2019!
I have used Nurtured in Norfolk products in my dishes for as long as I can remember. They are so versatile and are always releasing new and exciting products to add that extra finesse to our dishes. This family run business are now a nationwide company and I am proud to say they are from Norfolk.
Connect with Carway-Roe Events and discover more of their work at @carwayroeevents