Katy Wickings is a marketing executive at wealth management firm JM Finn, where she is involved in all aspects of the firm’s marketing activities. One that she holds in high regard is organising events for clients where she relishes the role of chief canapé tester and menu constructor; with over 3,000 clients entertained this year, keeping an interesting variety of menu choices is critical to the success of the events and underlines the bespoke nature ofJM Finn’s investment proposition.
In which country have you had your most exciting food experiences?
I’ve been fortunate enough to do a fair amount of travelling and have found my lasting memories all seem to centre around food. New York and Barcelona are high contenders where I have fond food memories, but I’d have to say Valencia steals the show. Using TripAdvisor to guide the way I researched places with the best reviews and stumbled across what was described as a ‘hidden gem’ – by far the most exciting meal of the trip was at Refugio. Unusual and delicious combinations with truly lovely staff which talk you through the story behind each dish. Think mango and cod starters, Iberian pork with plantain, satay and arbutus for main, and dessert was smoked cheese ice cream with garam masala cookies, dates and tamarind chutney. Two other great restaurants in the city were Rincon 33 and Flor de Valencia.
What do you look for when you choose a restaurant?
It of course depends on the occasion, but generally I weigh up a good balance between taste, service and price. A restaurant that fits perfectly for this is Mosob – an authentic Eritrean restaurant run by a family in Hammersmith who deliver in so many ways. They bring the dining experience to life with as much information on their backgrounds and the foods they cook as you like, adding a personal touch to the dining experience which is already outstanding from the quality and taste. With so many restaurants to choose from, especially in London, I guess finding something unique has become more prevalent when choosing where to eat out.
Looking at your Instagram page, sharing your food favourites seems to be a core aspect of your dining experiences – does this influence your menu choices?
It actually does in that it stops me from ordering the same things I know I’ll like and makes me more adventurous with my choices – you don’t want two truffle pizzas posted too closely to each other!
Who or what are your biggest food influencers?
Going back to Instagram, I follow a lot of food bloggers and a favourite is The Food Medic who gives me a lot of inspiration for creating foods with health benefits, whilst keeping them full of flavour. I think the use of social media has definitely got me and my circle of friends looking for ways to eat in this style, and it’s such an easily accessible platform that I’d say I discover new food influencers almost weekly now – I still have my old school cookbooks though!
If a date was to try and win you over where would be your preferred dinner date?
My favourite dinner date would definitely take place at Café des Amis in Canterbury – a vibrant, tasty Mexican restaurant with great cocktails.
“With so many restaurants to choose from, especially in London, I guess finding something unique has become more prevalent when choosing where to eat out.
The ambiance is lively with music and sounds of the sizzling foods and a resident artist’s work on the walls bringing the rooms to life. The food is fantastic – great flavours, quality and a lot of sharing options which is a must for me. The crispy calamari is like no other I’ve had, followed by the crispy duck confit sizzling fajitas in orange, soy, rosemary and honey glaze can’t be beaten.
It seems food is important at JM Finn – what’s the rationale behind this?
Something that seems to be a common interest amongst our staff and clients is the love of food. So we pride ourselves on working with fantastic caterers that fully understand the level of quality we work towards, which is something that runs true throughout the firm. Our in-house lunches provide a more personal way for our investment managers to catch up with clients, with our private dinners at venues such as the Royal Academy taking this a level further. This is to thank current clients and meet them in less formal surroundings whist showing potential clients the level of service we provide. Create from CH&Co are really creative when putting together menus for these events, from luxurious canapés with exciting combinations to wholesome three course dinners that are rich in flavour and quality. I feel very privileged to work at a ‘foodie’ firm!
Where’s next on the list?
Thinking about finding something unique, the London Shell Co. has made its way on to my list. A five course seafood menu served on a fairy light lit boat with a violinist playing a mixture of current and classic songs whilst you cruise along London’s Regent’s Canal. I’ve heard that the food and atmosphere are brilliant. Another more imminent opportunity to tick off the list is a truffle dinner at Palatino with Head Chef Rich Blackwell who has promised no faux-fancy stuff – just brilliant truffles and honest cooking of quality ingredients. That’s my kind of heaven.