Here at Blue Carrot Catering, teamwork is everything. Our talented, passionate team is the driving force behind our success. Without them, we couldn’t create the delicious, high-quality food that you know and love. And that’s why we have committed to pay all our staff the living wage.
First set up in 2012, the Living Wage is a nationwide voluntary movement aimed at addressing poverty and inequality. The living wage is calculated by the independent New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit and reflects the true cost of living. This includes the basic expenses our workers and their families have to cover, such as food, transportation, housing and childcare.

The living wage is set at $22.10 and is due to increase in September to $22.75 per hour, which is $2.75 more than the government’s current minimum wage.
‘We want Blue Carrot Catering to continue to be a great place to work,’ says our Managing Director James Stuart.
‘We made the decision to pay our staff the living wage as we feel this demonstrates our commitment to the team and strengthens our relationship with staff.’

Blue Carrot Catering currently has 20 full-time workers plus many casual front-of-house staff. All employees will benefit from the living wage increase, which sets the minimum hourly rate for workers.
‘We believe paying a living wage is an important way we can thank and acknowledge our team for their hard work,’ explains James.
Blue Carrot Catering is also encouraging industry suppliers and partners to introduce the living wage into their workplaces.
For us, the living wage is a no-brainer.
‘We know how hard our team works,’ says James. ‘And we are very proud of our reputation for outstanding customer service, which the team delivers every day.’
‘Our commitment to the living wage is a big thank you to the whole team,’ he concludes.

It’s no secret that the events industry is continually growing and evolving, and even though it’s early days we are already seeing that 2019 will be no different. In order to succeed and maintain an edge over the competition it’s now more important than ever for event planners and caterers to be on top of emerging hospitality and catering trends, and to provide clients with a memorable experience they’ll be excited to tell their friends about; earning you those all-important referrals.

So, what trends are we forecasting for 2019? Let’s take a look.

Health and Wellness

As customers become more health-conscious (2019 has been dubbed the ‘Year of the Vegan’), event planners must also adapt and ensure a focus on health and wellbeing when coordinating and catering a function. This means providing healthy food options for all dietary requirements, including vegan and vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, nut allergies and the like. You may also want to look at incorporating healthy ‘brain foods’ such as blueberries and dark chocolate into your menu as part of a focus on mindfulness, which ties in nicely with the concept of overall wellness.


Along with an increased shift towards healthy living, we are also seeing a huge focus on the environment and sustainability. Single-use plastic is most definitely in the media spotlight at the moment, so seeking sustainable alternatives is a sure-fire way to impress your clients. There is also a higher demand from customers for sustainable produce, which means sourcing local, seasonal ingredients requiring with little-to-no packaging, and moving away from highly processed foods.

Food and Design

These days a stock-standard menu served traditionally over three courses isn’t deemed to be particularly exciting, and customers are looking for new ways to wow their guests. To meet these changing needs, we are seeing event caterers bring food and design together with more imagination than ever before. This can mean anything from utilising specialist catering equipment to create show-stopping dessert buffets complete with lighting and multi-tiered levels; to setting up artistic ‘ice bars’ using ice sculpture as a means to display and serve chilled menu items such as freshly shucked oysters. The sky really is the limit when it comes to food and design in 2019.


A great way to get event attendees talking is to encourage interaction through food. This is a hospitality trend that has been on the rise since early 2018, and there’s no sign of a decline in 2019. Some interactive food ideas include having your head chef engage directly with guests, teaching them how to professionally plate and style their food before they sit down to eat, or even having guests prepare their own dish from a deconstructed selection of ingredients set out in a help-yourself display. A crepe or waffle station is a classic example of this, but we are also seeing new ideas pop up, such a DIY bruschetta bar.

Colour and Texture

Just as food trends tend to change annually, so does the Pantone colour of the year. For 2019 the colour is a bright coral tone referred to as 16-1546 Living Coral, and savvy event planners will find a way to incorporate this in both their menu and venue styling.

Signature Dishes and Cocktails

Having a signature dish or cocktail created especially for your event is certainly nothing new, but it is a trend that will continue to grow in popularity throughout 2019. Choose something that will complement your theme and get your guests talking. For weddings we are seeing a trend towards personalised cocktails served in decorative glassware using the bride and groom’s favourite liquors, casual catering ideas such as food trucks, and cheese ‘cakes’ in place of the traditional wedding cake.

So, there you have it, and by the looks of things 2019 is set to be a demanding year for event planners and caterers. As our customers increasingly request out-of-the-box ideas, we must work harder than ever to impress them using attention to detail and imagination if we want repeat business and referrals. Stay on top of these trends and strive to deliver a unique experience for each and every client, and we’re sure you’re in for a very successful year.

Author Biography

Name: Paul Ormerod

Role: Nisbets – General Manager

Bio: Paul Ormerod is the Managing Director of Nisbets Australia & NZ and is passionate about helping hospitality businesses succeed by providing a one stop shop that makes catering equipment simple.

What a summer – I don’t think I can remember a better one!

Our Blue Carrot team has had a fun and incredibly busy time over the last couple of months catering beautiful weddings, parties, and all sorts of other events as people made the most of the spectacular weather.

Action at the Local Wild Food Challenge – a fantastic community event we’ve been proud to sponsor for the last 10 years.

We’ve also been enjoying connecting with and supporting some of the amazing community groups in our area – something we’ve done since we started Blue Carrot nearly 20 years ago.

Food has always been a great way of bringing people together and showing support. You know what it’s like – when someone’s had a baby, or moved to house, or passed an important exam, the first thing we do is pop round with an edible offering.

From the get-go we wanted Blue Carrot to be a company that looked for ways our
food-focused business could support those making a difference in the lives of others. It’s been amazing for discover what’s going on out there, so I thought in this blog I’d tell you about just a few of the ways we connect with our community.

Lunch platters and local community heroes.
Each month we donate a percentage of the total sales of our lunch platters to a local charity. And we get you involved too! The recipients chosen by our Facebook followers who vote for one of three charities they have nominated. We’ve got to meet people doing some very good work – like the team at Outpawed  dedicated to the care and management of stray, abandoned and community cats.

Other recipients include Lifeflight Trust, Greenstone Doors, Rabbit Rescue, and Chrissy’s All for Free.

A life-saving cause

One of the local initiatives we were really proud to be part of was the drive to have a defibrillator installed beside the Petone Rowing Club. After a lot of fundraising it was a wonderful day when this incredibly important community asset was unveiled.

Sending in the soup!

And each year when the Salvation Army run their 14 Hours Homeless sleep-in fundraiser we provided warm soup to the hungry participants.

A waste-free zone

We don’t want anything to go to waste. So, when we had an order cancelled due the wild weather of cyclone Gita we thought the busy crew at Avalon Fire Station and the volunteers at Community Unity Project Aotearoa, would like a bit of lunch. We packed up the order and delivered it to some very happy folk!

Passing it on

One of our missions is to get kids excited about food, so our chefs have been visiting local schools to share their foodie knowledge. The kids (and our team) love it.

In December our chefs Erica and Adrian visited Our Lady Of the Rosary, Waiwhetu to do a food demonstration. Later that day I joined them to be one of the judges for the school’s Masterchef competition for which we provided the prizes. A very cool day!

Team Blue Carrot clean up!

As well as supporting others doing good works, our team is always up for doing their bit. Recently, armed with rubbish bags, they replaced morning tea with a trip to the Petone beach to clean up any litter they could find. Luckily it was slim pickings and this was all they got!

And they spent a great Sunday working with the team from Common Unity Project Aotearoa at our Petone prep kitchen turning the community garden’s bounty into bottled produce. The delicious results were shared out within the community.

To keep a business going you’ve got to keep that bottom-line healthy – we get that. But we’ve found you can do that and be part of making a difference in your community.

Enjoy those fresh autumn temperatures and I’ll see you next time,

Nicole xxx

Hi, welcome to the first Blue Carrot Catering blog.

We’ve been catering for every kind of event you can imagine for over 20 years and in that time we’ve learnt a lot. . . about what to consider when creating unique events, about the amazing produce we have right here on our doorstep, about running a sustainable business, about getting involved with our local community.  And a whole lot more . . .

Now we want to share that knowledge around and a blog seemed the perfect way to do that.

First, as an entrée here’s a bit about us and how we got here (sorry, just couldn’t resist the food pun). Gordon and I started Blue Carrot Catering in 2000. Back then it was just us and two staff. Before that we’d run Lemon Squeeze Café in Petone – remember our famous Savoury Pancake Stack with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese?

We were always being asked to cater events and corporate lunches so we knew there was a real need for a catering company based in Petone to provide fresh, creative and delicious food. And so Blue Carrot Catering was born.

Now we’ve got a fantastic team of more than 20 people who love food and creating memorable events as much as we do.

There are no ‘regular’ days at Blue Carrot– there’s always something different on the menu (I’ll stop with the puns now, promise). We’ve catered for the All Blacks, the Hurricanes, Prime Ministers, politicians, and the former Governor General’s son’s wedding at Vogel House.  Musicians, bands, and film stars have all tucked into our food – Peter Jackson even helped me with the washing up on one film shoot.

This is not Peter Jackson! It’s our Rob plating up delicious Manuka Hot Smoked Salmon with Aoili.

More and more we’re catering smaller events like dinner parties and cocktail parties. We take the weight off the host so they can actually talk to their guests instead of spending their evening topping up glasses and passing the canapés.  More about catering options for small groups in an upcoming blog.

We get plenty of variety when it comes to venues too  – Wellington Zoo, beautiful private homes, rustic barns, paddocks, boats, ships – you name it we’ve been there.

The one thing that hasn’t changed over nearly 20 years is our philosophy. And that is that you are only as good as your last function. We want every guest leaving saying Wow! Wow food, Wow service. And that’s stood us in good stead – our staffroom wall is covered with lovely letters from happy customers.

You’d think we would have learnt all there is to know about catering by now. But in fact we find that we are constantly learning, discovering new ideas from here and around the world.


So, with our blog we want to share what we’ve learnt with you. You’ll be finding out all about the latest catering trends and the choices available when planning your event – whatever that might be.

We’ll look at some of the super foods our head chef Adrian loves to use, share some of his recipes and some Blue Carrot handy food hints – check out this one about keeping bananas fresh.

And we’re going to talk about venues – what’s out there and some easy DIY tricks you can do to add your own touch.

Food is an amazing way of connecting people and over the years our team at Blue Carrot has become really involved with our local community. We’ll be keeping you posted on what we are up to with our local schools and community events and what you can do to get involved too.

We were so thrilled to be able to help Greenstone Doors, an organization that does so much for the community.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Blog #1. Looking forward to writing #2 – this is going to be fun and informative. I’d love to hear from you with any questions or comments.

I went along to the fantastic Wellington Wedding Show on May 7th so we thought post #2 would be a good opportunity to talk about ‘the big day’ and the first five questions to ask your wedding caterer.

See you then,