And so, this is Christmas…

Well, that’s Christmas dinners done, and I must admit, I’m feeling fairly exhausted now. But what a time we’ve had, and what a lot of happy clients we’ve left behind!

All this week, along with the management team, I’ve been laying up tables, cleaning trays, cleaning cutlery, washing up, and serving some of the best-tasting turkey dinners I’ve ever seen grace a restaurant.

When the service team see myself, co-Director Sam and all the managers in there and working as hard as anyone, they can see that we’re all in this together. It’s the Cucina way, and I can actually see the difference it makes to general morale and team spirit. And you know, this really is us in our ‘natural habitat’.

Christmas is the most important time of the year for us, so we pull out all the stops. And even though we go all out on the food, it isn’t just about the food. We set out to create a festive celebration in every restaurant, with the traditional sights and smells of Christmas to greet the customers as they arrive.

Festive tablecloths, dressed-up staff, Christmas crackers, and festive music mingle with a specially-created aroma (cinnamon, all-spice, cloves and oranges) fanned out from the kitchen to create a subliminal festive feel. We’re sowing special memories for these kids, I’m sure of that. And what about the food?

For the non-vegetarians, It’s turkey of course. We sourced some lovely British red-tractor birds these year – juicy and luscious to carve and serve. And didn’t they go down well! The brussel sprouts? Well, I don’t think we’re going to work any miracles there, although we did do a ‘try these if you dare’ approach, which caused a bit of fun.

We had crispy-on-the-outside moist-on-the-inside roast potatoes, fresh carrots, peas, horse chestnuts, chipolatas, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. For the vegetarians we had roasted vegetable tartlets with crispy leeks, and a festive (non-alcoholic) punch for everyone.

For dessert we served our very own Christmas puddings. We had home-made vanilla sauce and home-made chocolate and orange mousse.

Another thought occurred to me in the middle of the service – that traditions and customs don’t always remain constant.

For example, we had some of the customers asking: “What’s the meat today?” which begs the question: “Well, what do you normally have for Christmas?” Not everyone said ‘turkey’.

And a lot of kids had never tried Christmas pudding – the special treat that me and my generation grew up with. So that’s the other great thing we’re doing, I guess – allowing kids to experience some of these things for the first time.

Serving such a quantity of plated meals was a logistical challenge, that’s for sure. But it was great that we did it, and great that we made a difference. Because really, that’s what it’s all about. Oh, and did I mention the price charged to the customer? Just 3 pounds.

Anyhow, time to put my pen down now, and go out to do some Christmas shopping of my own!

To all of our clients, customers, staff and friends – my best wishes for a very merry Christmas, and a peaceful prosperous year ahead.

Till next time,

Steve

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