Author Archive

Meet the Manager: Shahail Woodcock

Posted on: November 5th, 2019 by chandco

October has blown the last of summer away and as we enjoy this colourful prelude to winter, we have managed to grab five minutes with Shahail, the exciting new manager who has breezed into our exclusive north London venue.

Where are you from?
I spent my childhood growing up in Surrey but have been living in London for the past 10 years.

How long have you been in the company?
Three months.

Where is your favourite country and what is your favourite food?
Favourite country…that’s hard. I always enjoy exploring different parts of Italy: the food’s amazing, the scenery is stunning and the wine is…well…they don’t make it hard to get through a bottle or two in an evening. Favourite food…that’s easy; nothing can beat Mum’s food!

What career path do you think you would have chosen, if not hospitality?
I trained in Musical Theatre. I started singing, dancing and acting at the age of six, never stopping until eventually choosing it as my degree. I still feel super at home on stage and I guess I find that form of presentation to an audience very similar to working with guests and clients in hospitality.

What was the last movie you watched/book you read?
Recently re-watched The Help. Definitely do not read enough books, might have to make that my 2020 New Year’s resolution.

Who or what inspires you?
Music and lyrics inspire me. A song has the ability to completely change my mood, whether it be to pick me up, bring comfort or push me to work harder.

Name either your guilty pleasure or favourite tipple?
I don’t think I really have any guilty pleasures (I’m sure some of the people around me may argue otherwise) but favourite tipple(s)…Champagne, vodka and love catching up over a pint with friends.

Who are the three people, past or present that you would like to have dinner with?
Princess Diana, Walt Disney and Christina Aguilera.

Thank you Shahail for taking time out of your busy schedule for us.

Meet the Team

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 by chandco

With spring in the air, and as we head towards a new month, we’d like to introduce our brand new feature: ‘meet the team’.

First up is our company head chef Robert Milligan.

Where are you from?
Dagenham, East London.

How long have you been with the company?
Nine years in June, including seven with Harbour & Jones.

What career path would you have chosen if you hadn’t been a chef?
I decided from a pretty early age that I wanted to be a chef, so never really considered anything else. However, if I had to choose another path now, it would be something in the travel industry.

What, or who, inspires you?
I get inspired by the younger generation of chefs. I have a classical training background and it’s very inspiring to see younger chefs challenging those classics and pushing the boundaries of food and service.

What do like to do when you are not in the kitchen?
I love travelling and some of my colleagues do question how many holiday days I have a year:  it’s all legitimate I promise!
I also enjoy keeping fit and spending time with my dogs. The perfect escape for me is fishing, although I don’t get to do that as often as I would like.

Name the kitchen gadget that you could not live without?
There are so many gadgets in the kitchen now and I love my Thermomix which covers many jobs and also gives great consistency, but being a company chef and being renowned for travelling light due to site visits, the tomato knife is the go-to gadget for me. It’s small, covers all manner of jobs and fits easily in the rucksack.

Name either your guilty pleasure or favourite tipple?
My guilty pleasure is Cadbury chocolate – especially Fruit & Nut, no posh chocolate for me!
My favourite tipple is an ice-cold beer in a glass that’s just been taken out of the freezer – it reminds me of being on holiday

Who are three people, past or present that you would like to have dinner with?
Alex Ferguson – I am a big Man Utd fan.
My Dad’s brother, who I was named after. I never got a chance to meet him but everyone in the family has said he was an amazing man. He’d also get on well with Alex Ferguson as he was Glaswegian too.
Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, guilty, I’m as shallow as a puddle!

Thank you for taking the time out for us Rob.

A Fab-ulous night at the Event Awards

Posted on: December 11th, 2017 by chandco

Having taken the crown for best event caterer last year, it was up to Team Tonic to provide the dinner for the 2017 Event Awards at the Eventim Apollo. This was Tonic’s biggest event to date, so we have decided to make it our highlight of the year.

On Wednesday 22nd November, over 700 event professionals came together in Hammersmith for the sold-out event.

The innovative five course meal was concocted by various members of the Tonic team; each dish with a wow factor of its own. It was a tight squeeze behind the scenes but the guests were all clearly content as the positive social media was streamed live onto the huge screen on the stage.

The most talked about dishes were the Fab lolly pudding with its three flavours, hand-made hundreds and thousands and chocolate mousse, and the petite fours served with dry ice. Both were serious show stoppers and sent social media wild!

Tonic now passes the baton on to this year’s worthy winners Create food.

Matisse in the Studio, Tonic in the kitchen

Posted on: November 17th, 2017 by chandco

Tonic was proud to support JM Finn’s client dinner at the Royal Academy of Arts on Thursday 9th November.  Delicious canapes were served as a first course while guests were introduced to the Matisse in the Studio exhibition. They were then treated to perfectly cooked BBQ rump of lamb in the stunning surroundings of the Reynolds room, largest of the Fine Rooms overlooking the courtyard.  As the guests returned from the private view, Team Tonic rounded off the evening by serving herbal infusions, filter coffee and an array of sweet delights, fortifying mind, body and soul for the journey home.

Thank you to our friends at JM Finn and the Royal Academy for another opportunity to show off our skills as one of London’s best special event caterers. Thanks too to the on-point lighting and floristry from the ever fabulous team at Event Concept.

We’re looking forward to continuing our run in 2018!

The Events Mill at Westminster Abbey

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by chandco

The amazingly creative Christopher Mills of The Events Mill came to us with a stunning creative deck for an inspirational 25th anniversary event in the College Gardens at Westminster Abbey. With only 3 weeks from the initial quote to the event delivery the Tonic team worked tirelessly to make The Events Mill’s catering designs and requirements for the evening a reality. The gardens were transformed into a pop-up town for one night only, and sectioned into different areas to represent a number of the client’s investment success stories over the years. There was a village store replete with beautiful British cured meats, hand crafted cheeses and bountiful seasonal produce; a pop up Asian-inspired restaurant serving the very best sushi and teppanyaki fresh from the grill; a modern interpretation of a sweet shop filled with our favourite sugary treats; a tourist information booth with London Underground themed jelly and a village square complete with an impressive bespoke-made tree hung with classic picnic goodies, next door to a sparkling water fountain. It’s fair to say that this was cutting edge event catering and we look forward to many more exciting events with The Events Mill in the future.

Image credit: John Nassari © @TheEventsMill

Royal Academy of Arts- Summer Exhibition, JM Finn & Co Party

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by chandco

We’re still bubbling from our latest summer event at the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts. The JM Finn & Co summer party took place in the galleries of the annual highlight of the arts calendar- the RA Summer Exhibition, which has been running since 1769. The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open entry exhibition where the quality and variety never ceases to amaze, so we had to ensure our food shone just as brightly as the colourful art work.

850 guests were treated to an abundance of delicious food, including canapés, bowl food, and live food stalls around the gallery. Our summer inspired menu featured bites such as seared tuna, furikake spice, with a dashi pipette, and Manchego gougere, Iberico ham, with a touch of saffron. Bowls full of flavour such as Korean fried chicken, toasted peanuts, and kim chi slaw, were circulated by the Tonic team dressed in bright aprons to reflect the summer vibe felt throughout the venue. Our statement charcuterie, sushi and poke food stalls offered an interactive experience for guests, with dishes created in front of their eyes by our charming chefs. Generous helpings of cured meats and cheeses graced our charcuterie stall, with sides of warm spicy nduja sausage rolls and mushroom and summer truffle tarts, creating the perfect picnic platter! Across the gallery our sushi and poke stall offered premium maki and nagiri, and raw fish delights such as salmon with tiger milk, black rice, and an avocado and sesame dressing. Guests were truly spoilt by the choice of food, and the variety of flavours and combinations Tonic concocted in the kitchens.

We cannot forget pudding, as our chefs spent ten hours creating colourful layered verrine masterpieces. Little pots of indulgence adorned the stall, and our favourites have to be our coconut pannacotta, lime jelly, topped with a mango mousse, and a raspberry jelly, with Matcha tea custard, and pistachio topping. We sold out! Guests were enjoying the stall so much, they started to eat our decorative jelly babies! So, the night had to end there, once more all those at Tonic excelled themselves.

Dramatic dining at RADA

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by chandco

“Life is a Cabaret” they say and that certainly was the case at RADA’s Dramatic Dining Cabaret last week.

Nearly 100 of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’s alumni and supporters enjoyed a sumptuous supper from Tonic, with intervals of theatrical delights from the students themselves, wowing with musical moments such as “If they could see me now” and “I’m not getting married today” taking place on and off the stage in the centre of a packed house in the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre.

The black tie event opened with a reception supported by RADA’s Champagne partner, Taittinger before dinner was served in the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre.  Guests were then treated to performances throughout their meal from current students and graduates of RADA. It was a very glamorous affair indeed with the guests dining on English asparagus, followed by succulent slow-cooked lamb and a grand finale of Earl Grey panna cotta with truffle sugar lumps and shortbread crumbs.

The event was held to raise funds in support of RADA’s Training Excellence Fund which sustains and enhances the quality of teaching at the academy and supports the talented students regardless of their ability to pay fees or London living costs. For the 5th year in a row, Tonic offered a silent auction prize of Dramatic Dining at Home, with a four course meal for eight. This alone raised £3,300.

When it came time for the curtain-call the event had raised nearly £25,000 toward RADA’s Training Excellence Fund.

Tonic cater a star studded ‘End the Silence’ Hope and Homes charity event at Abbey Road Studios

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by chandco

Stars and royalty made a noise at Abbey Road Studios at the end of May to give a voice to children confined to orphanages and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ album.

Attendees at the End the Silence charity fundraiser in aid of Hope and Homes for Children included HRH Princess Eugenie, Sarah Duchess of York, Geri Horner, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd, Natalie Pinkham, Sarah-Jane Mee, Gethin Jones and Giles Martin.

More than £600,000 was generously donated on the night thanks to a menu which was curated by Michelin star chef Tom Sellers and executed by Tonic’s great team of Chefs. Menus simply noted Tomato, Carrot or Lamb, and Lemon, which created great intrigue amongst guests at their tables. The mysterious menu featured:


Heirloom tomato and vanilla consomme salad with lobster


Lamb, wild garlic, sour milk puree & puffed grains, truffle potato puree

Served with green beans and carrot + parsley gratin with a rosemary and parmesan crumb

Veggie & Vegan Main

Carrot cannelloni with sorrel and liquorice


Gin, lime and tonic tart. Served with chocolate soil, milk crisp and micro lemon balm

The evening also included live performances by Ronan Keating and Ellie Goulding, as well as DJ sets from Trevor Nelson and Huey Morgan, plus a spectacular money can’t buy auction. Lots included seven nights at Necker Island hosted by Richard Branson, a luxury weekend in Spain with Sting, and an opportunity to play alongside Olympic Gold medallist golfer Justin Rose at the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth.

“The Beatles recorded ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ at Abbey Road Studios for the ‘Sgt Pepper’ album, so it’s a fitting venue for stars to unite to help end the silence about the harmful conditions faced by children in orphanages” said Natalie, who is a patron of the charity Hope and Homes for Children.

An estimated 8 million children live in orphanages worldwide. The harm caused by orphanages is needless, as 80 per cent of children locked away inside them are not actually orphans- most have living parents who can care for them, given the right support. End the Silence aims to condemn orphanages to the history books, by supporting children into loving families, preventing family breakdown and building normal, noisy childhoods for the world’s most vulnerable kids. Tonic were honoured to be part of such a great event for a brilliant cause.

Check out #endthesilence and #tonicfood


Pippa and James are married- forget the dress, what about the food!

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by chandco

The wedding of the year has caught the public’s hearts, with love shared across the country for Pippa’s amazing designer dress, and the cheeky stars of the show – Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Speculation of the extravagance of the reception abounds, but the number one question we have is – what was on the menu?

Following the beautiful wedding ceremony, guests were invited to indulge in a champagne reception with Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Guests were also encouraged to eat as much or as little as they liked, with canapés such as Parmesan cheese wheels, fresh lobster, and Serrano ham. A mind boggling 20,000 canapés were prepared by a team of 40 chefs!

Later in the day, for the dinner reception at the Middleton’s Bucklebury home, the menu featured a nod to the groom’s Scottish connections with a trout starter, a lamb main course, and a Scottish pudding. The addition of a luxury whisky bar was not forgotten either!

The reception had an ‘interactive’ element, with chefs on hand to carve meat for the guests as required. Here at Tonic we love getting our chefs out of the kitchen and into the party. Our chefs can freshly prepare dishes in front of your guests, and share their knowledge of the food that we love to create and serve.

Tonic is the reigning (pun intended!) caterer, having won last year’s Event Caterer of the Year, so get in touch to see how we can make your event unforgettable.

Email us- info@tonicfood.co.uk 

We launch our new brand at Wonderlab

Posted on: January 20th, 2017 by chandco

Last night we welcomed 300 event professionals to an evening of spectacle and discovery to launch the Science Museum’s new spaces: Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery and Mathematics: The Winton Gallery.

We were delighted to see so many friendly faces and hopefully wowed you with our food stall, canapé and bowl food creations. Guests attending the exclusive event were able to experience three of the museum’s stunning spaces– the Media Gallery, Mathematics gallery and Wonderlab, whilst enjoying the launch of our new brand and the experiential catering and service concepts that come with it!

The event journey began for guests in the Media Gallery where they were able to discover the very latest event production technologies courtesy of Matrix UK Solutions. This included a small but very impressive selection of the leading edge technology they own. This ranged from their Meru Interactive servers, intense LED displays, networking and lighting capabilities, as well as a number of new and adaptable PA and video displays in the event space.

Next up for guests to explore was Mathematics: The Winton Galley. Opened in December 2016, the gallery has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and is the first of their projects to open in the UK since Dame Zaha Hadid’s sudden death in March 2016. An acappella group – the Lips – kept guests entertained in the gallery, alongside Psio, a practitioner of the ancient science of Chaldean Numerology who can reveal the truth of an individual’s personality and future via the numbers hidden in their personal details (both acts were provided courtesy of Sternberg Clarke). Guests were also treated to our bespoke cocktails and canapés all themed with mathematics in mind.

Finally, it was on to Wonderlab – the museum’s most interactive, immersive and experiential gallery, where the main party commenced. Here, guests were able to discover over 50 exhibits in seven zones covering incredible science phenomena that occur around us every day.

Once in Wonderlab, guests were presented with ‘The Theory of Food’ – our thought-provoking and highly innovative menu. Our interactive live food stalls and science-based food concepts provided non-stop drama and surprise throughout the night. Toying with the physics of food whilst introducing new concepts and flavours, we took catering to another level to showcase our new brand.

Some classic flavour combinations, enhanced with innovative cooking techniques, provided out-of-this-world dishes that fitted perfectly with the spectacular venue. One particular favourite was a ‘levitating’ petri dish of delicate pasta pillows filled with flavoured butters, gin bubbles with a tonic cloud and samphire, topped off with tomato water bubbles. Guests also played hide and seek using infrared thermal cameras to ‘forage’ for cheddar doughnuts with cep sugar, BBQ duck doughnuts with HP gravy and puffed salmon skin with frozen salmon milk. Sweet and savoury lollipops were frozen before guests’ eyes and included flavours such as green apple and tuna katsuobushi and Seville orange and salted duck skin.

Here’s what our Director, Alastair Moir, has to say about the evening: “We are incredibly proud to have been given the opportunity to showcase our new brand at the launch of the Science Museum’s three exciting new event spaces. We wanted to create a menu that could fit with the spectacle of using part of this superb British institution as an events space. A Tonic event focuses on the three Cs – creative, conceptual and committed, and we feel we really delivered this on the night with our highly innovative science-inspired menu full of surprises that kept guests talking and asking questions. Above all, it was an evening to remember.”







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Work with us

We are always looking for talented people from chief cooks to expert bottle washers to work with us.

If that’s you, email your CV to: jobs@harbourandjones.co.uk