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The Caterer

Breakfast: Less is more

30 November 2007 by
Breakfast: Less is more

Eating wisely is an important part of Ernst & Young's continued success. In the first of a new series in association with Heinz Foodservice, Tom Vaughan reports on contract caterer Artizian's breakfast menu at the company's HQ

"A healthy child grazes, little and often," says Paul Calvert, executive head chef at the Ernst & Young UK building in Southwark, south London, run by contract caterer Artizian, "and the same applies to workers."

It's an old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but if mental sharpness is the aim, it should read "the most important three meals of the day", or "the most important regular snacks of the day".

The idea is that eating smaller quantities at regular intervals better encourages attentiveness. "So," says Calvert, "instead of having a large croissant at nine o'clock we suggest having a smaller one, then maybe a muffin or an energy bar at 10.30."

The breakfast offering at Ernst & Young reflects this thinking. Smaller snackable items include a pot of porridge, made with either skimmed or soya milk a selection of cereals, yogurts and fruits, such as plum compote and pitted prunes and pick-and-mix dried fruit.

Fresh fruit smoothies, including Banana Heaven (caramel, banana, yogurt and milk), Californian (banana, mixed berry, grapefruit and orange juice) and Energiser (apples, mixed berry and grapefruit juice), sit beside a subsidised selection of fruit.

Despite the emphasis on healthy eating, Calvert insists that the idea of penalising anyone for wanting a cooked breakfast is far from the caterer's thoughts. And by using healthier cooking methods, the standard rises sharply. Thick, chargrilled bacon allows the fat to drain off and results in a smokier flavour the grilled pork sausages do likewise. Eggs come fried or poached or as a three-egg omelette, while well-drained sautéd mushrooms are chunky, brown additions to the meal rather than the soggy grey messes that often stew under a hot lamp.

A cooked breakfast will usually cost about £3. Bacon and sausage baps are also available.

Whether employees adhere to the caterer's recommendations or not, the aim is to cover every popular want of a morning. "We are happy to educate people," says Calvert, "but we also make sure we give them the option to eat what they want."

Is yours the best breakfast?

In association with Heinz, Caterer will be selecting an annual Best Breakfast offer from those featured in the Breakfastwatch column, with the winner to be announced at our spring Chef Conference in May.

To qualify, you must run a breakfast menu with a cooked offering. The sponsor's judges will be looking for food selection, healthiness and value, among other criteria.

To put forward a menu, send it and any supporting information to tom.vaughan@rbi.co.uk.

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