Meet Sarah Hick - Catering Manager
What were you doing before you came to work here?
I worked with faires, magic and Santa Claus! I worked at The Christmas Adventure at Stockheld Park, a private estate with ice-rinks, skiing, an enchanted forest, enormous café and huge shop. It attracts over 110,000 visitors a season.
So you're used to serving lots of people?
Yes, we once did 1,600 meals in one service!
What does the Northern Ballet café offer?
We're trying to bring all the cooking and baking in-house. We roast our own vegetables, make our own pastries, bake our own bread. Basically we're bringing in a home-cooked style. Everything is made from fresh, basic ingredients whether it's our soups which enter the building as fresh vegetables or our flap-jacks which comes through the door as flour, butter, sugar and eggs. We've just invested in a new gastro salad-bar meaning we can offer a much wider variety of healthy foods both to the dancers and public.
With over 40 full-time dancers based in the building as well as the Academy do you take that into account when composing your menus?
We're always looking for the healthier option - we don't even have frying equipment in the building! Everything is either baked or dry grilled and we stay away from high-fat foods (except for the occasional treats!)
The building's making a name as a conference and events venue - how does the café feed into that?
As part of the conference hire we offer a range of menus to suit almost any need. Last week we held The Bank of England Breakfast with the local Chamber of Commerce and Mervyn King - that was 151 breakfasts and was all over by 9.30am. We were in the night before until 9.30pm making ready the the main studio and from 5.30am that morning preparing the breakfasts. Having a strong theatrical component to the company meant we were able to use stage sets as a backdrop to the breakfast giving us a real WOW factor which no one else locally can offer.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Where possible we use independent local suppliers, not chains and they're all based within Leeds or Leeds post code areas. We're really trying to maintain a low carbon footprint in line with the buildings BREEAM status.
What are your plans for the café?
The more people who frequent the café the better - the profits go back into Northern Ballet and help support the productions and the Academy. We want to grow the conferencing side of the business too. We're open to the public and have had a lot of support from some of the big organisations around us and we're looking to spread that to other local businesses.
The café's open Mon-Sat from 8.30 till 5pm (later & on Sundays when there's an evening performance in the building).
Submitted by Northern Ballet on Thu 4 August
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