Safari in the City
Moving Venue partnered with River Cottage to create a three-course vegan menu for the Zoological Society of London.
Moving Venue were proud to collaborate with River Cottage for yet another great cause: the annual “Safari in the City” Gala at London Zoo. The gala raises money for ZSL’s conservation projects worldwide, focusing particularly on raising funds to support projects combatting the illegal wildlife trade.
On 15th May, we served our first ever entirely vegan three-course menu to over 400 hungry guests. On arrival, guests were served bespoke cocktails made from only the most seasonal produce during the drinks reception in Reptile House, such as the Blackcurrant Leaf Collins and our Fresh Rhubarb Martini.
One of our menu highlights from the event was the edible centrepiece created for guests to dig into before embarking on their three-course vegan feast. This was followed by Portland Farm “same day cut” Norfolk asparagus, served with chargrilled spring onions, bashed peas and pumpkin seeds, olive oil and spring herbs. Our Head Chef, David Ridgway worked with our suppliers to ensure that our asparagus was cut at first light on the day of the gala, ensuring only the freshest asparagus was served to the guests.
Our main course of Heritage beetroot, fennel, rhubarb and onion (slow roasted and quick pickled), smoked English quinoa and seaweed and cauliflower puree left a lasting impression, as far from a classic beef main as our guests could get.
Finally, the evening ended on a chocolatey high, with an impressive amount raised for ZSL’s conservation projects worldwide and a delicious “Shipped by Sail” olive oil chocolate torte, served up before guests danced the evening away.
Whilst the first hurdle was creating the fully vegan menu for guests that had never experienced this before, the next hurdle came in the planning and logistics of the event. The “Safari in the City” gala takes place across the whole zoo with guests beginning their journey in the Reptile House, going through the Gorilla Kingdom, then onto Barclay Court before entering the main dining space in the Tee Pee on the other side of the zoo. Moving Venue came up with a plan that ensured guests were fed and watered across this whole journey, meaning we set up 4 bars, 3 field kitchens and 3 clearing areas which all required separate teams to manage and operate them given the short turnaround times of a working zoo. Moving Venue executed the event without a hitch and received glowing feedback from the internal events team (above)!