Proms food team’s recipe for success

Caroline Upton of Twelve Restaurant, Thornton, getting ready for catering at Lytham Proms.
Caroline Upton of Twelve Restaurant, Thornton, getting ready for catering at Lytham Proms.
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It’s arguably the second biggest event on the Fylde coast summer calendar.

In just under two weeks’ time thousands will enjoy a three-day musical spectacular on Lytham Green for the annual Lytham Proms event.

Among the big names on the bill will be Tony Hadley, Marc Almond, Jason Donovan, Russell Watson and Rita Ora.

VIP tickets for the big event, starting on August 2, include a VIP drinks reception with a selection of canapes served, a three-course meal served to tables – of up to 12 – followed by coffee and chocolates, private outdoor viewing gallery and reserved car parking.

Such a huge show involves a great deal of planning, of course, in every aspect – not least the catering side of things.

Caroline Upton, of Twelve Restaurant in Thornton, and her team are busy preparing for their role at the Proms, which will be to provide high quality food and memorable dining experience to the 500 VIP guests each night.

That means a lot of planning, a lot of organisation, a lot of crockery and frankly, a lot of washing-up.

The first plans will have begun around five months to make sure everything is in place for guests to enjoy a delicious meal and fast, seamless service on the night itself.

Caroline said: “We will be catering for 1,500 people over the three nights, so that’s around 5,000 pieces of crockery, 6,000 items of cutlery, thousands of glasses and so on.

“It’s actually like a military operation!

“Obviously Lytham Green is a beautiful spot and great venue for the Proms, but there are no facilities.

“So we have to literally construct a kitchen on the site, we will have a marquee, an oven, a huge fridge-freezer, gas supply, a large dishwasher to clean the plates and cutlery... Everything really.

“We will have 35 front of house staff and 10 back-of-house, including chefs. My husband will be overseeing the chefs and I will be looking after front of house.

“We will do training with the staff on the Thursday night – working out the logistics of the whole thing really. What system we are going to use to serve the food, risk assessment, health and safety, how we’re going to operate on the night.

“We will be having meetings over the next week about scheduling, what will happen when, working backwards from when the guests will be arriving.

“What we are looking to create is the same Twelve dining experience someone would have in the restaurant. Like a Twelve pop-up in Lytham if you will.

“So we must have the same high-quality service, the same high-quality food.

“Of course, it takes a lot of planning, organisation and hard work, but the Lytham Proms is such a fantastic event to be involved in.

“It’s such a major event and popular event. It’s really grown and grown.

“There’s always that bit of apprehension right before the event, but the atmosphere is brilliant, we get to hear the music and there are some great artists performing.

“I’m an 80s girl myself, so I’m looking forward to that night, in particular.”

There are only a few tickets left at the Proms, including for the hospitality tent, hit