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Partners in Your Kitchen

This section of the site contains information about the catering service, Partners in Your Kitchen, which Patricia and I ran successfully (but not successfully enough to earn an adequate living) for a couple of years after I stopped working as an educational web consultant for BT CampusWorld and until I went back into full-time employment as Web Development Manager with the Southern Derbyshire NHS community (in its various incarnations).

The original idea was to provide just one service: we would plan dinner parties for clients, do the shopping and then prepare all the food in the clientsí own kitchens - hence íPartners in Your Kitchení. In practice, we found demand for a far wider range of services. We had a pretty well-equipped domestic kitchen (and now have another one, if a little smaller), but it didnít compare with a professional restaurant kitchen. However, we contacted Derby City Councilís Environmental Health Department and had a visit from one of their Inspectors. We bounced various ideas off her and found that we would be allowed to do a lot of pre-preparation work at home - obviously something that would make the job a lot easier. We both had to do a basic Food Hygiene course, which was fascinating (and terrifying), and then we got going.

We did a few dinner-parties on the model we originally planned (though with plenty of pre-preparation in our own kitchen). We also did both finger and fork buffets, with everything prepared at home and then presented at clientsí homes. We provided individual dishes for clients to fit into their own party plans (and probably for them to pass off as their own!). And we prepared large quantities of food to stock clientsí freezers. We even spent two days at the home - and in the two (meat in one, dairy in the other) kitchens - of a wealthy Jewish family, preparing a wide range of dishes for their freezer strictly in accordance with the very demanding Jewish Food Laws.

Sadly, when I was driven back into full-time employment, we had to put the catering business on hold. We hoped to revive it, but when the time came we decided we (and particularly our legs) were getting a bit age-worn for this very demanding business. You may find cooking for friends and family pleasurable - and even relaxing - as we do, but take it from me that the pressure and the sheer hard graft of professional catering is something else altogether.

Once this decision was made, we referred all enquiries to our friend and colleague Ken Davis, a former chef and proprietor of the wonderful and greatly-missed St Jamesís Delicatessen in Derby, which was driven out of business by soaring shop rents - to be replaced by yet another estate agent. I donít know if Kenís still doing catering, but you might want to try him on 01509 230564 or 07811 870038. If you speak to him, please mention this site. And if he?s stopped catering, please let me know via the Contact me button.

We were quite proud of our brochure and our booklet The Fine Art of Feasting, so Iíve decided to leave them on this site to tell you even more of what we think and feel about food and eating.

Personal site for Paul Marsden: frustrated writer; experimental cook and all-round foodie; amateur wine-importer; former copywriter and press-officer; former teacher, teacher-trainer, educational software developer and documenter; still a professional web-developer but mostly retired.

This site was transferred in June 2005 to the Sites4Doctors Site Management System, and has been developed and maintained there ever since.