A little bit of sick popped into my mouth this morning. It’s a long held Pavlovian reaction to hearing mention or reading the name of a certain ‘catering’ company for whom I used to work. It was mentioned thus, in this morning’s restaurant review in The Metro, that a certain angry and autumnal London chef is now in their employ. I won’t name them because its unprofessional and mean but I’ll do a clever code that (perhaps!) the sleuthier amongst you might break.
Comp*ss Group UK & Ir*land
We’ll call them Comp*ass from now on for ease. And I apologise for the word ’sleuthier’.
They are a huge multinational contract catering company that provide catering (and many other) services to business and varied other establishments around the world. And for some dark months, nay years in the early noughties I sold my soul to their corporate devil.
I got sacked, you see, from a cool, funky and posh society caterer called Blue Strawbe*ry (keep up). I was supposed to have client meetings, do tastings and then oversee the smooth running of a high class event, for this was long before I put the chef’s whites on. Unfortunately, not being cool, funky or posh did for me in the end and Fenella and Pompy Fa-Fa decided that mine was not the course upon which they wanted to steer. Coincidentally, the posho morons found out that they had forgotten to charge clients any VAT on labour for over a year…. thus wiping a considerable amount of profit from their bottom line… the day before I was sacked.
Actually that’s unfair. I WAS utter crap. I forgot to order table cloths twice, broke a priceless vase and got a bollocking because my suit trousers fell down at a banquet when the safety pin broke.
Aaaany way…… Then I got a job working for C*mpass – specifically at the BBC. I could tell you stories that would make your ears bleed. Some of the money saving ‘tips’ that I was personally given by High Command still crack me up. More oats, less raisins in the muesli. Food costings should include a cost for washing up liquid. Liquidise leftovers for tomorrows gloop of the day…..
I used to look after all the fine dining there- specifically for the then Director General- Greg Dyke- and was queried by one of my bosses about a £10 receipt for aged Balsamic vinegar. This senior catering executive, Mr D*vid Rand*n, said to me ‘Ten pounds?! Ten. Pounds?! Do you know how much Sarsons I can buy for that?’ Hmmm well thats an excellent point D*vid. I don’t know. But I won’t be eating your glazed fig and parma ham salad any time soon…..
A very famous investigative journalist and broadcaster whom I actually will not name, even with a code, has a severe allergy concerning cucumbers. He has an anaphalactic shock, should he ingest them. They might kill him. His throat might swell up and he might die. This is known to all caterers at the BBC for obvious reasons. A C*mpass employee gave him a sandwich, within which lurked some cucumber. And he had an analphalactic shock and nearly died.
So what did C*mpass High Command do. I’ll tell you what they did. They sent Senior Catering Executive D*vid R*ndon down the M4 in his Mondeo to personally deliver an apology food hamper. Into which the bumbling twit had put amongst other things…… a cucumber.
It’s a strange world, contract catering. Margin is everything and profit is king. The pay and the hours are better than many hospitality jobs, but every morning when you wake up, should you choose to suckle on that C*mpass teat, a little piece of you will die inside.