The professional team at the hotel Barceló Sants, a benchmark hotel for the meetings segment in Barcelona and also at international level, is always thinking of ways to provide an innovative and original service to businesses and events organisers.
And so, a little while ago with this in mind, Ramón Ribas, Chef at the hotel, began to develop an idea: to apply the principles of chromotherapy (colour therapy) to the catering service offered.
If you would like to know more about this original idea and how to turn a simple coffee break into something that transcends the senses, carry on reading this article.
Chromotherapy is an alternative therapy technique based on the emotional influence that colours have on people, and this was the principle that made Ramón Ribas think about a new concept that he could use in the catering services and that could also be applied to other elements of events and meetings.
- The colour orange stimulates creativity
- The colour red increases energy and promotes vitality
- The colour green transmits calmness
- The colour yellow helps concentration and transmits joy
- The colour blue transmits tranquillity and peace
It is ideal to have these colours present at specific moments during meetings or events, depending upon the effect or the stimulus that is required for the attendees.
To find out more about chromotherapy applied to catering, we were present during the production process at one of the latest events where it was used. We were able to see things first hand and to take advantage of the opportunity to ask the Chef questions to find out in more detail about the creative and productive process.
Ramón Ribas has been Head Chef at the hotel Barceló Sants for the last 14 years, but has been working in renowned hotel kitchens for over 24 years and has catered for events with up to 1.100 guests. In this brief interview, he tells us a few of the secrets of chromotherapy applied to catering.
– What was the briefing from the client?
Ramón: The client was organising a convention for 250 people at the hotel and they had heard about our proposals based on chromotherapy. The client liked the idea, as they were looking for something different, unlike the typical business coffee breaks or lunches usually provided.
Ramón: The colours had to correspond with the moods and sensations that the client wanted to transmit and so we needed to think carefully about which foodstuffs, flavours and decoration would fit in with that idea …. We had several internal meetings to do some “brainstorming” where different departments and people responsible for the catering services participated. Once we had evaluated all the ideas, we were able to define the final proposal.
– Which proposal was presented in the end?
Ramón: Firstly, we presented the palette of colours that coincided with the ones the client wanted to transmit: yellow, red, orange, blue, green and grey. Once approved, we presented different menu options for the Coffee breaks and we explained the reasons for having chosen certain foods, textures and recipes.
Ramón: The first challenge was to think about the ingredients and source them in order to present the proposal. You have to take into account that some foodstuffs, especially fruits, can vary according to season, even the dragon fruit can have different colours, both the skin and the flesh inside, and we have to make sure we can source the right one before presenting it to the client.
– How was the preparation and production process?
Ramón: At this last Coffee break that we prepared for 250 people, the client wanted all the colours to be presented at the same time, which made the process somewhat more laborious than usual. We had to divide the staff into several smaller teams and each team was in charge of a colour. We worked in a chain in order to produce the dishes in each of the colours.
– What needs to be taken into account in order to do this type of coffee break?
Ramón: The most important thing is to work with sufficient time beforehand in order to create the proposal and source the ingredients. The second most important point is time management and kitchen team management. Planning under these circumstances is even more important than usual as the work and the organisation required is more complex.
Ramón: Well, as sometimes inevitably happens, Murphy’s Law came into play, just in the middle of this service which required extra effort, Jordi, responsible for the cold storage room, had to leave suddenly as his wife gave birth. Fortunately, we had been warned that this could happen at any time and so we had a Plan B ready.
– How was the feedback from the client about the event?
Ramón: The client was very pleased and the guests responded very well during the Coffee break moments and lunch. The photographer who had been employed by the client for the convention was even instructed to photograph all the food stations that had been set out.
The aim was to surprise the guests, a group of 250 people who are accustomed to attending many conventions and corporate meetings. Thanks to the hard work from all the departments involved, we were able to provide an excellent service that surprised the organisers of the group as much as the guests, and so the objective was met and exceeded expectations.