The reception: What is bowl food?

Bowls of foodImage copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Bowl food is somewhere between a canapé and a main meal.

The 600 guests joining Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their wedding reception will be enjoying a selection of savoury and sweet canapés, champagne (of course) and “bowl food”.

Trendy and attractive bowls of food – often healthy and colourful – have been around for a while, often photographed on Instagram.

But now “bowl food” is becoming a popular choice for large catered events.

What is it?

The reception: What is bowl food?
The reception: What is bowl food?

Bowl food is larger than a canapé and around a quarter of the size of a main course.

It is served in miniature or hand-sized bowls and comes ready to eat with a small fork.

The idea behind a bowl food menu is so guests can stay standing up and mingle while they eat. It has been described by caterers as an option which allows guests to “keep on talking”.

Although for elderly guests – including 96-year-old Prince Philip who had a hip replacement last month – presumably a seat may be offered.

According to BBC Good Food, bowl food dishes which might work well could be Thai curry with rice, sausages and mash, or risotto.

For the royal lunchtime reception, the bowl food part of the menu included:

  • Fricassee of free range chicken with morel mushrooms and young leeks
  • pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and parmesan crisps
  • 10-hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compote and crackling

All the ingredients have been sourced from companies holding a royal warrant.

What has the reaction been like?

“Bowl food is awful. It’s like something out of Oliver,” said English interior designer Nicky Haslam earlier this week, when he found out the royal wedding plans – although it is not known if he was attending. “It’s the most awful thing in the whole world.”

Fortunately, his strong reaction seems to be the exception.

Many people responded with confusion, asking what exactly bowl food is.

Skip Twitter post by @LisburneRoad

Will someone tell me what ‘bowl food’ is?! I am guessing it’s er….food, in a bowl? If so, I have just given my cat ‘bowl food’.

— ((Helin Blake)) (@LisburneRoad) May 19, 2018

End of Twitter post by @LisburneRoad

Skip Twitter post by @calgnor

What on earth is bowl food? Like, soup?

— Callum Northcote (@calgnor) May 19, 2018

End of Twitter post by @calgnor

Skip Twitter post by @fifimellersh

What the hell is BOWL FOOD. #RoyalWedding

— Fiona-Natasha Mellersh (@fifimellersh) May 19, 2018

End of Twitter post by @fifimellersh

On Twitter, one man asked “what is this bowl food nonsense?”, joking that “everyone will end the day at a Pizza Express”.

But it sounds unlikely that they will go hungry: royal chef Mark Flanagan is leading a team of 25 chefs who have prepared around 7,500 items

As well as the three bowl food dishes, the guests will also enjoy canapés including Scottish langoustines wrapped in smoked salmon with citrus creme fraiche, croquette of confit Windsor Lamb, roasted vegetables and shallot jam, and champagne and pistachio macaroons.

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