Tony Beales at the multi-award winning Beales Gourmet
PUBLISHED: 14:58 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 March 2016
Having been a personal chef to royalty, Tony Beales is determined to provide the same amazing cuisine with outstanding service for clients with his multi award-winning business, Beales Gourmet
My company, Beales Gourmet was born in 2005 - the year I returned to Dorset after spending 10 years cooking on private yachts of the rich and famous in the South of France. I originally trained as a chef at Bournemouth & Poole College, working in various local restaurants and pubs whilst at college. I subsequently moved to London, honing my skills at 5-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants to get the very best training I could find.
An idea to write a cookbook (I still have to finish it!) took me around the world for 16 months, gaining inspiration along the way by working in France, Australia, Asia and Canada. Then in 1995 I stumbled upon a career cooking on private yachts in the South of France. During my final two years in France I was personal chef to the Queen of Bahrain when she was in Europe, which included cooking for her high profile guests in Paris, Cannes and on board the family yacht.
I actually had the idea to set up a gourmet catering and events business back in 2003. As a chef I have always had a passion to make people happy by giving them great food with great service, and having my own business seemed the ideal way to realise that dream. I wanted to dismiss the myth that wedding and events catering is repetitive and boring. As a result our food is rosette standard, served in a co-ordinated and organised fashion by trained staff that care about every guest at the wedding or event we are catering for.
Ten years on I am delighted to be running the most successful wedding and event catering business on the South Coast. We have won in excess of 20 awards – celebrating not just our gourmet cuisine and service, and our venue – The Italian Villa, but crucially our talented team too. We were even awarded the title of Best Employers in Hospitality (catering) nationally in 2013 – something that we are exceptionally proud of. And in 2015, our venue, The Italian Villa, was named Most Popular Wedding Venue in the World at the International Wedding Expert Awards, which was just incredible!
We won’t be resting on our laurels though – our company ethos stems from the Japanese word “Kaizen” – meaning “the practice of continuous improvement”. It is in that spirit that we drive the business forward, creating weddings and events that – above all else – are magical and memorable.
I still love classic French cooking but I also enjoy Great British classics and all Mediterranean-style food. But really it comes down to what the customer wants. I like to think that I have enough experience to cater for any special requests that come our way.
For example, we recently catered for the Poole-based cosmetics company Lush who celebrated 20 years of business. They wanted a vegetarian canapé party for 1500 people incorporating vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free canapés. Receiving special requests like this and then exceeding expectations is what I enjoy most.
When it comes to weddings I consider us to be experts in our field. Last year we catered at 210 weddings, 150 of these were at our very own award-winning venue, The Italian Villa in Poole. So with this in mind I thought I would share with you some of the trends in wedding catering and also offer some ideas for your wedding breakfast.
Wedding trends in 2016
The majority of our weddings are still opting for the traditional three course wedding breakfast with coffee, but there has been a gradual increase of sharing platters being placed on the tables for guests to help themselves, as well as barbecues and spit roasts. I think the spirit of sharing is particularly wonderful at weddings!
I always recommend the use of seasonal, locally grown produce, cooked and served using modern techniques. We offer four seasonal menus to choose from to encourage the use of seasonal produce, which has gone down exceptionally well with our brides and grooms. We have also seen an increase in requests for gluten-free options.
About Beales Gourmet
When we created the ‘Beales Gourmet Experience’, one of the crucial elements was the service – it has to match the outstanding cuisine served. We guide our customers from initial enquiry right through to their special event. For us it’s all about attention to detail – if we can do little things that constantly exceed our customers’ expectations, we feel great for making it happen. To provide that level of service our staff receive ongoing training; it’s all part of our quest for continuous improvement – following out ethos - Kaizen!
Beales Gourmet cater for private and corporate events as well as weddings. Events range from glittering awards dinners for 550 guests to exclusive home dining parties for 10 people.
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