With Bubble’s MD, Michael Collins, celebrating his birthday this week, we thought it was time we asked him a few questions:
What’s your favourite aspect of your job?
I love to push the boundaries and do something that no-one else is doing. I really enjoy working with the team to develop ideas and create incredible experiences for our clients. Of course, attending the amazing events we work on can be such fun – to see guests being wowed by what we do.
What’s your most memorable event?
It’s difficult to choose because we’ve been very lucky to work on so many amazing events, but I guess I would have to say the multi-sensory celebration dinner for Chivas 21 Year Old Royal Salute held in the King’s State Apartment at Kensington Palace (pictured).
We worked with a food curator and other partners to create 21 exquisitely crafted moments of sight, sound, feel, taste and smell, honouring the 21 blends in the whisky and its Scottish heritage. Guests were greeted in their taxis with specially designed canapes, whilst listening to a soundscape recording.
Once they had enjoyed arrival drinks and hot towels fragranced with gunpowder and flint, guests were invited to forage in the heathland style foliage where they discovered edible pickled mushrooms. Following which, dinner commenced with Smoked oyster and chanterelle mushroom soup served in velvet lined bowls, accompanied by bread rolls which had been laser cut with the guests’ names.
The eight course dinner concluded with ‘perfect balance of power and grace’ petit fours made from candied spices like ginger, juniper berry, coriander seeds and chilli, covered in dark chocolate and golden chocolate ‘weights’ presented with Victorian scales which guests were invited to keep balanced.
It was such a detailed and carefully created event, and our first dinner held at Kensington Palace, where we had to adhere to very strict guidelines. It was an immense challenge, where precision and timing were crucial, and so it was hugely rewarding for the whole team that the event was such a success!
Why did you go into the events industry?
As a student, I worked in a small hotel part-time where I often deputised for the manager when he was away. I loved any opportunity to get involved with any events or parties held at the hotel and would spend ages working on every last detail from designing the menus with the chef to dressing the bar to create a wow factor for guests. The sense of achievement from seeing something I had created brought to life was huge and it was this, plus the interaction with guests that made the events industry an attractive prospect for me.
What has influenced your approach to managing the business?
Bubble started out at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which was such a creative and innovative environment to be a part of. We were regularly involved in degree show private views and other special events where we had the opportunity to push boundaries and build on the artistic activities surrounding us. This backdrop also encouraged my approach to risk-taking and following my instincts, something I’ve never been afraid of doing.
Having worked in family businesses previously, I had learnt the value of going the extra mile to make things perfect and of self-discipline, particularly in terms of time-management.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Earlier this year, Bubble moved into new, much larger, premises in order to provide a bigger tasting room and more extensive kitchen and warehouse, in addition to accommodating our expanded team which has increased significantly over the last couple of years.
I managed the whole project, from designing the layouts and interiors, sourcing all fixtures and fittings, managing the builders, coordinating the logistics in terms of moving kitchen facilities without affecting events and managing the budget. It was a very demanding experience for me but now that we have settled into our new premises, it feels as if we have been here forever!
What do you like to cook at home?
I must admit that I don’t tend to cook much at home. I always eat very well at work (of course!) and most of the time will eat out in the evenings and at weekends.
Where’s your favourite place to eat?
I love the Chiltern Firehouse – I went not long ago with our Executive Head Chef and our key Event Stylist where we were spoiled with a full tasting menu. It was absolutely spectacular food!
What are you looking forward to the most in the future for Bubble?
I’m very happy with the way that Bubble is growing – we have the most extraordinary portfolio of venues, which is growing all the time, and we work with so many fantastic clients. It’s very important to me that Bubble continues to provide a personal and tailored service – we’re often presented with creative briefs and are very conscious that we don’t want to become bland but retain our imaginative and niche approach. We have too much fun to let this go!