Beckenham based fine catering company, Connexions Cuisine, is celebrating 25 successful years in business with a year-long campaign to raise £12,000 for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

Founded by Michele Jones and originally trading from her home in Beckenham, Connexions Cuisine now operates from purpose built kitchens in Beckenham/SE London. They provide fine cuisine and professional waiting staff to private customers, have a wide range of regular commercial contracts including HMS President and Bromley Council and are also recommended at a number of local venues.

Now employing nearly 50 people, Michele puts the enduring success of the business down to two key elements; first, the company’s ability to respond quickly to people’s growing interest in food and cooking and, second, the diversified nature of the business – the company provides a range of services via a number of brands. These twin factors have enabled Connections Cuisine to ride out two recessions and to continue to support the local community through employment, the use of local suppliers and now this fundraising initiative.

Michele said: “I recognised early on that by providing quality wedding and event catering I could fill my weekend and evening diary quite easily, but weekdays were comparatively quiet. So I launched a service specifically to cater for funerals under a different brand (Carey’s Funeral Catering) and set about forming relationships with local funeral directors and clergy. This helped to balance the workload more evenly over the week and enabled Connexions to survive during tougher periods when people were looking to cut back on the cost of celebrations.”

Michele has been similarly quick to identify a foodie trend and incorporate it into the Connexions offering - for example the introduction of the Warehouse Dining Supper Club held in their warehouse (where else?) in Beckenham and the launch of the company’s Vintage Afternoon Tea service in 2014.

When it came to deciding how to mark a successful 25 years in business Michele was in no doubt. She adds: “A few years ago one of my team lost his life as a result of having an undiagnosed heart condition. He was young and fit and it was a massive shock to all who knew him.

“That’s why this year Connexions Cuisine is getting behind CRY - a charity that has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death and offering bereavement support to families affected by it.”

To date, the Connexions Cuisine team has raised £5634 by hosting a Birthday Ball, taking part in CRY’s Heart of London Bridges Walk and organising a Music Quiz. There's also an Auction of Promises planned for October.

Based on information supplied by Emma Pyott.