The recipe to success
Jo Pobjoy has made a significant contribution to Frome Show’s reputation for good taste - literally. Her company ‘A Bit Of A Do’ provides the catering for the show’s popular lunches, along with Thursday’s Global Cheese Awards dinner. Based in Norton St Philip and specialising in outdoor catering, Jo’s successful independent business can cater for any function
How long have you been in the catering business?
I’ve been in the catering business for 16 years, while I’ve been involved with Frome Show for 11 years.
Tell us a bit about yourself
A farmer’s daughter, I grew up in Shropshire. I knew from a very young age that one day I would run my own catering business. At the age of seven my grandparents had a party and hired outside caterers, I followed them around all day asking questions and telling my mother that one day this was what I wanted to do - and here I am. I attended Swindon College and gained my catering diplomas and then worked in various hotels, restaurants and in private service. I’m now married to a local farmer and have a son. My catering business runs successfully alongside the family farm.
How many do you cater for at Friday’s President’s Lunch and on show day itself?
Usually around 75 attend the president’s lunch, but there can be up to 500 committee members to cook for on show day. We also must not forget the Global Cheese Awards dinner which is on the Thursday evening before show day and there can be up to 150 people attending that. So, all in all, it’s quite a busy week.
How many people do you have in your catering team?
Over the Frome Show period I have up to 35 people working for me.
Is it a logistical nightmare arranging the preparation and cooking of the food, especially as there are no kitchen facilities at the show?
Over the years we have perfected the concept of ‘outside catering’. It’s a challenge, but it all comes together on the day. The key thing is organisation.
The show has changed a lot in recent years, especially in size and scope. Has this affected your work?
Yes it has. As the member’s aspect of Frome Show has grown in popularity we now offer two sittings for lunch so that we can accommodate the growing numbers.
Do you focus on keeping it local for functions such as weddings, parties and corporate events, or do you take bookings from further afield?
We cater for any event, but the majority are local. However, we are more than happy to travel further afield, having done events in Windsor, Kensington, Bournemouth, Sussex and all surrounding counties. Our motto is ‘anything is possible’.
You also produce the very tasty Chatley chocolate brownies. That’s a very different business, especially as people can buy them online. Is that something you’re planning to develop?
It is an ongoing project, but our main concentration is the Bath Christmas Market which has proved very successful over the years – and we will be there again this festive season.
While you’re at Frome Show do you get the chance to pop out and visit any of the attractions?
There’s not much opportunity for me to see very much of the show as it’s so busy in the catering area with lunches and teas. However, having judged some of the entries in the handicraft tent over the years I would quite like to visit the tent and see the exhibits. If I get the chance my son will drag me to the funfair, but there’s not much time for retail therapy.
Do you have any advice to people who’ve never been to the show?
It’s a very good family day out as there is something for everyone. Committee members who do come to the show should definitely book their tickets early for lunch - they won’t be disappointed. And if you haven’t been to Frome Show before why not try this year.
For more information on A Bit Of A Do and its products and services, click on the link to its website http://www.abitofadocatering.net/