About Food Talks
Foodtalks has been in the food industry for more than 15 years. Starting out mainly with bento catering services as a core business, we eventually diversify our businesses to many other functions like event catering and high tea catering. Many years later, in order to meet corporate event catering expectations, we decided to implement and be certified to serve halal catering.
In February 2019, one of our kitchens acquired the (Food Safety System Certification) FSSC 22000. It is one of the highest Food Safety standards focusing on the specific process of the kitchen. It is somewhat close to the ISO 22000 however, only FSSC 22000 is recognized by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), a global scheme that maintains a benchmark for food safety.
After implementation, the FSSC 22000 system controls and monitor each process strictly. Suppliers who deliver the food raw materials will have their vehicles checked for cleanliness and hygiene, followed by the products they deliver. Temperature checks will be done for chilled and frozen goods, including specs conformity and expiry dates. They will then be transferred by our own trained kitchen staff into the designated storage areas in our kitchen as suppliers are not allowed to enter our kitchen premise at all.
Preparation for Catering
Each preparation room, for example, the meat preparation room, seafood preparation room and vegetable preparation room are temperatures controlled by individual air condition systems to ensure no physical and air contamination. After all, preparation is done the hot kitchen, which is situated in another own enclosed area, will cook and turn the raw food into delicious cooked food.
Once the cooked food is being produced, it will then be transferred to the food packaging room (controlled by appropriate temperature) to be sealed up, placed at holding area and wait for our transport team to load up directly at our kitchen door front.
This controlled process reduces cross-contamination within different types of food in the kitchen as well as the from external factors.
Not known to many, halal catering is challenging but we at Foodtalks see it as necessary to ensure everybody in a home gathering or corporate event gets to enjoy good food in a multi-religious society we lived in. A certified halal caterer has a lot of responsibility to ensure that the raw materials to the finish goods have gone thru thorough checks at critical control point. All suppliers providing raw materials to our kitchen needs to be screen and vet thru by our Halal Team members to ensure that what they are providing to us is Halal certified, product by product. This means that if a dry ingredient supplier provides 50 different products to us, we need all the halal certificates of each of the individual product type. Our halal catering team has a system to monitor that aspect, including the expiry date of the halal certificates.
The environment we prepare halal catering food is also very important. We need to make sure that no non-halal food and materials enter our kitchen as this will potentially cross-contaminate the halal catering food. We implement the strictest measure including outside food, even if it is halal certified, are not allowed to be consumed inside the kitchen. The delivery vehicles we used are also solely for the food in our kitchen in order to prevent cross-contamination of non-halal food. Renewal of halal certification is usually done on an annual basis. This will allow our halal catering standards to be up to date and relevant.
Food catering is a very generic term to use. In fact, when catering is being mentioned, most people will think of buffet chafing dish, chandelier, waiters in tuxedos holding a tray of champagne glasses… but wait, catering can be anywhere! Contrary to this perception, there can be in fact a lot more types of catering which we will explain in this article.
Bento catering is a very popular choice for customers who usually have events that require meals to be consumed at different timings and/or area within the premise. Unlike event catering, they can be very flexible as all the meals are packaged individually. Traditionally, such meals are packaged in foam boxes with staple food, vegetable, meat and a side dish (on average) all within the same box (add picture). Times have changed especially when environmental sustainability becomes a norm. Bento catering has evolved with more alternatives over foam boxes. Compartmentalized boxes are popular because it divides the food into their own sub-section (add picture). This separation of food upkeeps the quality of each individual dish, maintaining their original taste. They are also microwaved safe, making reheating possible.
Some food boxes are biodegradable and microwavable, which some of our bento catering customers request us in providing them for their meals. They are costlier but they do not mind bearing the extra cost in the name of environmental sustainability. They have the same benefits of the compartmentalized boxes but just with better materials to make it biodegradable. Currently, our kitchen maximum capacity can cater up to 2000 bento catering boxes per meal.
Event Catering ranges from a 30-person birthday party at your home to a function with few hundreds of people at any venue. Within event catering, there could be multiple meals involved, depending on the event’s requirement. Some event catering may also incorporate bento catering if necessary.
Commonly, event catering consists of elaborated setup, to suit the theme of the event. Over the years, we have served different types of customers and to put them in the general category; consumer and corporate.
The consumer customers we serve in event catering are mostly celebratory events like birthdays, baby showers, wedding and etc. Understanding each event is very important to leave a long-lasting impression on the guests of our customer. Do you know that baby shower “ang ku kueh”, a type of Chinese pastry has different shapes when it comes to the gender of the baby? A pointed shaped and rounded shaped ang ku kueh are served for baby boy and girl respectively. Such minor details are one of our many experiences over the years with event catering for consumers.
For corporate event catering, setup themes are usually more “serious” and professionally flavoured. Less striking colours are usually deployed to the table skirting and overlays. However, there are events we catered that require us to match the corporate colours of our clients, which sometimes happens to be very flamboyant!
As mentioned earlier on, event catering can also consist of multiple catering types and requirements, take, for example, a buffet for 200 pax. Many times, other than the common requirement for halal catering, they could be dietary restrictions like vegetarian meals. From our experience, there is usually only a small fraction of such requirement for most events hence, bento catering for vegetarian are being indented to fulfil.
High Tea Catering
There is also a high tea catering requirement within event catering, usually seminars. Foodtalks has two types of seminar packages to suit the client’s requirements, the half-day and full-day seminars. Half-day seminars include one high tea and one full meal buffet whereas Full day seminars have two high tea sessions and one full meal buffet. These packages are set up to ease the client’s headache on the food and beverage part so they can focus on other important matters in their event.
Foodtalks also provide purely high tea catering package menus to customers who do not require a heavy meal for their home celebration or gathering. Corporate customers would usually order them too for short training or meeting sessions as refreshments. They can be as light as finger food like spring roll to more sophisticated food like “Kueh Pie Tee”. Some customers even order our every delicious DIY Laksa station to add a little spice to their high tea session!
Other than Bento catering, Event catering, High Tea catering and Halal catering, Foodtalks can cater many more types of catering as well, including Barbeque catering (with or without a barbecue chef), healthier buffet menus and many more. We will also be launching our canapes menu very soon within 2020.