It’s been a mad, mad month with some of our new restaurant and café openings so you’ll forgive me if I’ve not been writing that much but…..I’m back and although I’ve not been writing, I’ve been thinking!

One of the things I’ve been pondering over is how our eating habits have changed even in my working lifetime. I remember my first venture into the contract catering world was with a company called ‘Taylorplan’ (any of you remember them?!). Back in those days just over 20 years ago food at work was a very different affair…

  • Menus still had a ‘starters’ section and everyday there was a soup and even a fruit juice or grilled grapefruit to meet that ‘starter need’.

  • Main means were always served with vegetables and potatoes, and salad was an ‘exotic’ more talked about than eaten!

  • Pudding was on every day and we used to shift loads of it whether it be chocolate sponge with chocolate sauce or lemon surprise sponge it was always stomach lining and hearty.

There were no such things as ‘disposables’ except for napkins and everything was served in china or the dreaded stainless-steel coupe dish! I distinctly remember introducing a coffee brand to one of my biggest clients at Heathrow and having to really persuade the client that paper cups were the way forward for coffee. I can remember him asking with indignation “would people REALLY drink their coffee from a waxed paper cup?” I’ve heard recently that in the USA Starbucks have taken out china cups from all of their outlets and paper is the norm.

Where did we put all that food?

A three course meal everyday even for the ‘office workers’ seems like madness. I wonder where food service will be in 20 years from now?

What do you think?

I’ll let you know in 2031 if you were right!

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

More from Wendy Bartlett