Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

"Although Catering is my main business, I love to do Cookery Demonstrations and Tastings, as well as food writing for local publications, as this enables me to share my passion for good food with a wider audience."

'Dining In' is the new 'Dining Out'

Monday, 30th March 2009

For those with a busy lifestyle and neither the time nor inclination to cook for themselves, eating out at restaurants or buying takeaways is a constant expense. In the current economic climate, many people are reviewing their entertaining expenditure, and there is a noticeable trend towards Dining in instead of dining out. Of course, entertaining friends at home can be cosier, avoid babysitting problems, and save on alcohol costs, but for the reluctant cook, a vast amount of time and energy is required to plan, organise, shop, prepare and cook for even a large family meal, let alone a special occasion.

Corresponding with an old friend in France, I described my own catering business to her, and she replied that I was definitely a traiteur. Before taking offence, or admitting my ignorance, I went away to look up the term, and decided to take it instead as a compliment! By definition, a traiteur is a public cook/caterer, and historically, the French traiteur represented the origin of todays restaurant. In early eighteenth century Paris, gentlemen wishing to dine out visited local guild members kitchens to have a meal prepared for them from a table dhote menu, that is, a set menu at a set price. Regular patrons dined daily, at set times, in the home of their traiteur. Subsequently, traiteurs took up high street locations, making freshly cooked foods available to the vast population of urban workers and artisans who had no kitchen facilities or cooking equipment. In addition to the routine one oclock table dhote, the traiteurs took on less regular work, furnishing wedding dinners and other celebratory banquets, becoming firmly integrated into the local community.

In modern France, the traiteur is specifically a catering business dedicated to providing fresh, take-out food, and has an established place on every high street. Each traiteur prides himself on a beautiful window display, boasting arrays of salads, cold meat and seafood dishes, plus of course, being France, stunning desserts and patisserie. Customers are tempted to take away reasonably priced, no-hassle starters, main courses and desserts, to reheat and serve at home.

So, as many of us struggle to make time for home-cooking in our hectic schedules, and are concerned about overspending, it seems there is a call for an easy and affordable alternative to dining out. This alternative might be good quality, but sensibly priced take-away family meals and dinner party options, which are hand-made and freshly produced to order. Such food would offer better value, more nutritious and more interesting meal solutions than the much over-used, over-rated and over-priced high street takeaway and supermarket ready-meal options.

I have noticed a definite trend among my growing customer base, in that I am asked to cater not only for special occasions and family celebrations, but increasingly for everyday family meals and informal get-togethers. To this end, I have expanded my menu of tasty, wholesome dishes, making family-style take-away meals, which simply need reheating, available to busy or reluctant cooks very much in the style of the French traiteur!

Please call Gill on 07590 621015 to discuss your requirements or email


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