Motivate yourself with the #CatererMotivator! Who's inspiring us this week? Seven Mile!
Seven Mile

#CatererMotivator: Who's behind Seven Mile?

Having spent ten years in their respective roles, brother & sister duo Janine and Jake decided that it was time for a change, and after much discussion and a lot of wine, Seven Mile was born. As siblings, their separate skill sets compliment each other perfectly; as Janine says "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!" Janine brings her characteristic diligence to the role - honed by years spent in demanding roles in both London and New York; whilst Jake has spent the last decade running kitchens the UK over, to include an exceptionally successful gastro-pub in the Cotswolds. Janine and Jake are masterful multitaskers and in addition to running their mobile catering business, they also run a successful cookery school, cater for all manner of private events and have hopes of one day opening their own restaurant and vineyard - it's fair to say that 2017 is going to be a busy year for the pair...

Hi Jake and Janine! Can you tell us what inspired you to set up your own mobile catering business?

We are really close as siblings and thought we would work well together so that was definitely part of the motivation and with such complimentary skill sets - even planning and cooking, we really felt we could make it work. Running your own business, whilst exhausting both mentally and financially is a wonderful way of balancing our work and families. We both have children and being mobile caterers affords us the opportunity to be there for school plays, doctor's appointments and spend quality time with our children now that we're not working in 'clock in / clock out' roles!

Just one of the benefits of being part of this brilliant industry (: Where did the inspiration for the name 'Seven Mile' come from?

We get asked this all the time, understandably! Whilst planning Janine's wedding in Cornwall, we had a great idea (also inspired by wine) that we could sail between the Church and the reception by pirate ship. As part of our research we discovered that there is a seven mile stretch of coast between Talland Church and Fowey. It is also the stretch of coast line where we hope to retire one day.

We love that story! You're notoriously passionate about sourcing local produce - can you tell us a little more about this? Do you have any other sustainability practices?

Sourcing local produce is a bit of a no-brainer for us, really - food produced traditionally, rather than being forced out of season is always going to taste better. And why wouldn't we want to buy from our local growers and farmers to support other small businesses in our area, as people do for us. Ultimately, we would love to start growing our own produce. It would be so amazing to grow tomatoes which taste of something! 

How do you go about creating the menus for private events? Do you have set menus or do you take cues from the client?

We do have example menus for all different styles of dining but these are really just to provide inspiration and we love to cook to a theme or cater to specific tastes. A recent client wanted individual pies as a main course and the party was London themed so we made a pastry cutter in the shape of the Tube logo and topped each pie with it - everyone loved it.

Jake, I know you've worked in bricks and mortar businesses for many years. How does being a mobile caterer compare with working in a restaurant?

We have discussed our vision for the business at length and we would love to have a base one day but I think it's a way off yet as I don't think I can give up on the truck and festival side of things for a while - I enjoy it too much! Being a mobile caterer means that we get to travel around and meet some wicked people and see some great sights. You don't get that in restaurant!

You cater extensively for people with gluten intolerance / coeliac disease. Do you find this difficult? Do you feel that it impacts the price point at all?

No, not at all. In fact, a lot of the time, our food is gluten free without anyone realising. I think there is a huge misconception that gluten free food is 'health food' where in fact, if you are cooking from scratch, using fresh ingredients, it is incredibly easy to be gluten free.

What has been the best advice you've received from a fellow caterer?

To join NCASS of course!

Absolutely stellar advice! How has your NCASS membership helped with Seven Mile?

Easy access to training was a huge help and meant that we could get the whole team up to speed quickly. And the food management system makes life so simple to monitor! 

And finally, what are your hopes for 2017?

We already have a lot of weddings booked so we are really looking forward to all of those. We would also like to find a new truck to renovate; a smaller, more nimble version of the current truck. We are always testing recipes and creating menus around different themes and we can't wait to do more of that. We also love meeting new producers and suppliers who can help us create some delicious food and throw some awesome parties and event. Oh and maybe get a bit more sleep!
What tips can you take away for your business?
For more tips & advice check out this:

- The industry is constantly changing and evolving and it's important to roll with it as to not get left behind.

- Never say no! This is one of our mottos for life and has definitely led us into some interesting jobs and situations!
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Starting up and running a business
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