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Michelin-starred chef hits out at "humdrum" event catering

Barry Tonks, newly-appointed executive chef at The Gherkin, believes there is significant room for improvement

Pictured: Michelin-starred chef Barry Tonks

Ex-restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef Barry Tonks has hit out at “humdrum” event catering.

Tonks, who has taken over as executive chef at The Gherkin, part of the Searcys collection of venues, believes there is significant room for improvement in the world of conference food.

He said: “Great quality food is in my DNA, it is part of my ethos, has been a cornerstone of my career and success to date and I intend to deliver on that in everything I produce at The Gherkin, whether it be a romantic meal for two under the dome, dinner for 140 or canapes for 260.  

“Searcys and The Gherkin have a reputation for the kind of high quality food and dining experiences that are not often found in the event and large scale catering world. I intend to take that reputation to the next level and firmly believe it is possible to deliver fantastic flavours and interesting dishes rather than the humdrum food so often served up at corporate functions.”

Tonks’ career has taken him from the Dorchester, Landmark and Threadneedles Hotels through to Bonds Restaurant and Bar, Les Deux Salons and McClements Restaurant where he earned a Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes.

He added: “The naysayers will say it can’t be done but the secret to delivering such good quality food for the events market is a well-chosen menu that balances both taste and creativity while meeting the expectations of attendees. 

“Through clever buying, a lack of waste and an in depth knowledge of how to get the best from available food I intend the make events at The Gherkin not just a memorable experience but one that is affordable to groups at a time when event budgets are lean and there is a tendency for organisers to order the cheapest option on the menu.”

Searcy’s will be showcasing The Gherkin’s Summer Sky Riviera themed pop-up at Imex Frankfurt (19-21 April) and The Meetings Show (14-16 June). 

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