Christine Cooper set up Court House Catering over thirty years ago. Her daughter, Emma, has worked alongside her mum for eighteen years and is full of admiration for her mother’s achievements both as a caterer and a mother. A new mother herself, Emma reflects on why she loves working so closely with her family.
What makes you and your mum such a great team?
We work well together because we both enjoy different elements of the business. Mum has a brilliant head for figures, she’s excellent in the kitchen (especially when the pressure is on at big events!) and she’s a whizz at forward planning and has an amazing memory. I prefer to be front of house at big events, I enjoy baking and I like being involved with our social media. So, we both get to focus on the areas we most enjoy.
What do most admire about your mum?
My mum is always looking at what to do next to ensure the business stays relevant and current and we are providing the service customers are looking for. One of mum’s big strengths is her attention to detail. I am in awe of all that she has achieved, Mum has built the business from scratch and now provides employment for over 20 people across the three businesses.
Even whilst juggling a huge work load, mum was always there to help with homework, throw birthday parties, read books at bedtime. I’m sure she probably worked into the night once she'd finished doing long division and bath times but we always came first. The parenting, working, housework were always evenly split between my parents - mum showed us that running a business and running a home is all one big team effort which I think is a hugely important lesson and one I will certainly be passing on to my daughter.
You recently became a mum - how has this affected your relationship with your mum?
Becoming a mum has made me realise why my mum makes SO many lists! Being a working parent is a real juggling act to make sure everyone is happy and all of the areas of life are getting your best attention.
I appreciate my mum more than ever because I now understand that mums just naturally worry about everything! I now see why she’s always had 12 month plan, 5 year plan and 10 year plan - your focus changes when you have children and you start doing everything with giving them the best possible future in mind. That can be small stuff like committing to be home for bath time to big stuff such as planning how the business will allow me and my husband to take Holly on holidays both from a financial point of view and a time management perspective.
Both you and your mum are committed to using local ingredients in your cooking, why does this matter to you both?
We love using local produce and ingredients. We are a small family run business and without the support of our customers we wouldn't be here so it’s only right that we do the same whenever possible. There are so many great products and ingredients on our doorstep - why not make the most of them. We particularly love Claytons Eggs, The Real Jam & Chutney Company and Chalk stream Trout to name but a few.
And how will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?
Mum and I will be taking Holly to Swanage for the weekend for some girlie time together. Mum and Dad have a holiday lodge there. We love cooking together and enjoying the view over the bay.
From weddings to children’s parties, Court House Catering has the experience and enthusiasm to make your event a delicious success. Their bereavement refreshment packages include a popular Luxury Afternoon Tea. Court House Catering also offers a Hampshire Afternoon menu packed with local ingredients.