H&E North checks in with the founder of Leeds-based Blue Pepper Catering about how the food business is adjusting to the coronavirus crisis.

As hospitality services attempt to wait out a worldwide pandemic and months of events are cancelled or postponed in one fell swoop, businesses are turning to alternative ways to keep the lights on, often diversifying into new revenue streams to stay afloat.

At Yorkshire’s Blue Pepper Catering, the family-ran business has simply temporarily downscaled its offering, instead specialising in packed lunches for Leeds’ businesses and teams that are still required to keep working. Delivering tasty meals for workers who are busier than ever, including call centres, civil servants and key workers such as heroic NHS staff, David and the team have had to turn things around fast: “It’s been crazy but we’re very loading up with food as we speak. Like any small business in these very difficult times we are trying to do ‘business as usual’.”

For those who place an order of classic fresh sandwiches or some readymade meals, they will all be individually wrapped, ensuring no unwanted contact…just make sure you get to them before they all get gobbled up by your colleagues! Some ‘ready to reheat’ dishes include lasagne, curries and traditional favourites like fish pie to help businesses and essential services keep up morale. Payments will also be taken online, so contact can be kept at a minimum to help prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of clients, as well as the Blue Pepper caterers.

“Please be reassured that we are taking every precaution to ensure the health of our employees and our customers and are going above and beyond our already five-star hygiene rating.” Adds David.

This adjustment has been led from the front by David who has 18 years’ experience in the food and catering industry, cooking in some of the very best hotels and restaurants to attaining countless awards throughout his career. As a stalwart of the bustling Leeds restaurant scene, David achieved the accolade of Best Head Chef in Leeds, and in London was the Chef de Partie at the Cliveden Hotel when its restaurant achieved its first Michelin star.

Established in 2013, Blue Pepper Catering has worked with big name corporations such as automotive company McLaren and popular events venues such as New Craven Hall, Carr Hall Castle and Cannon Hall. As a member of the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS), Blue Pepper’s chefs and event team are certified in being well-trained and highly skilled to cope with the demands of the ever-changing events industry. Whether it’s delivering fresh packed lunches to a ravenous workforce or catering and serving at a glamorous gala dinner in auspicious surroundings, David’s team always prides itself on providing excellent customer service.

To place an online order or to discuss menu options for a future event, call 0113 871 5999 or email info@bluepeppercatering.co.uk.

Blue Pepper Catering reveals the kind of working lunches offered for hardworking teams and meetings all year around. Here is an executive buffet option that has been created in the past…

Executive Buffet Lunch

Carved meat platter, to include three of the following:

Silverside of beef
Yorkshire roast rump of beef
Honey roast chicken
Chicken with a pesto dipping sauce
Roast chicken with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes
Turkey breast

Honey roast ham

Accompaniments include:

Bread basket with a selection of breads and butter (v)
Cheese tray with brie and red Leicester (v)
Salad of spinach, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and baby tomatoes (v)
Rice salad with cashew nuts and raisins (v)
Mixed bean salad (v)

Homemade coleslaw (v)

To finish:

Seasonal fruit platter (vg)
Selection of flapjacks (v)