Foodie Hackney family with recipe for success
PUBLISHED: 11:59 14 October 2014
Catering for celebrity birthdays and functions of more than 2,000 people is all in a day’s work for restaurant-turned-family events business, Boulevard Events.
Now celebrating 25 years in hospitality and having won the prestigious Squaremeal Canapé Cup award earlier this year, siblings Mark and Daniel Maher are looking back on the company that kick-started Hackney’s foodie scene.
“My dad always says when they first opened, they were the first to open around Victoria Park but his friends thought he was mad to open a restaurant in Hackney. In some ways he pioneered the area”, said events manager Daniel.
Established in 1989, the second-generation business started as Boulevard Restaurant, in Lauriston Road.
It is now headed by Daniel along with his brother Mark, sister Keran Crouch and executive chef Adam Neale, of ITV show Dinner Date fame.
After 15 successful years, the catering side of the business took over the restaurant which closed to provide a more ambitious events-focused service, including catering for Bruce Forsyth’s 80th birthday.
Daniel said: “We did the memorial service for the 7/7 bombings, which was a difficult day, but very poignant.
“We’ve also done events for QBE Insurance - they always have a huge winter party. One was a space theme with a floating walkway, aerial acts, the girls dressed as Barbarella and the guys in Star Trek uniforms.
“Another was a crash landing scene, the second room was decorated as the Amazon rainforest and the third was a Rio carnival.”
Mark Maher said: “One of the highlights for me has been the Vespa World Club which meets once a year in a different location. We were asked to provide a three-course meal for 2,000 people. I was at university and I came back to work on the event. It was amazing to see how far the business had come.
“That was a pivotal turning point for me. It was so well organised and catered entirely from a tent. I did sports science at university but so much was the draw of Boulevard that I sacrificed my love of sport.”
The brothers said their bespoke approach, even to large-scale events, and chef Adam’s willingness to create exciting personalised menus made them unique.
Mark added: “We won the Canapé Cup for Squaremeal and Adam made one of the nicest things I have ever tasted. It was called the Hunter’s Gathering – a potato crisp basket with venison, celeriac and truffle puree, blackberry, wild mushroom and a pancetta crisp.”
Daniel said: “Adam’s biggest strength is he is always happy to speak to the client. But I think what also makes us different is, though we are a small family business in the way we operate, I don’t think many family businesses would be able to host a dinner for 2,000 people.”
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