Contemporary Canapé trays

Looking for stylish canape trays?

Why is it so hard to find stylish canapé trays. I know it is because I have the same problem.  I’ve been looking for canapé trays for various clients and my previous employers for over a decade. This is why I started designing my own.

Where it started for me.

Working for Alison Price caterers I was able to jump straight in and start designing what really worked. As a Chef before event designer this helps get what people really want without knowing it themselves. These were some of my most successful first designs in around 2006

 

perspex canape traycanape tray

canape tray

 

What came next

I set up on my own and carried on what I did in my last job – Event design & canapé tray design. A blend that still worked. These were a few sale items from my last website.

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 canape trays

canape tray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

canape trays

canape tray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The modular tray below is one tray with multi uses. By having template you can remove to allow for different pots on top.

canape tray Canape trays Canape tray Canape trays

 

 

The below were one of my favourite designs for large events. A hidden drawer or two which allows movement to the other side of the room revealing more canapés to hungry guests.

Canape tray Canape tray

Bespoke designs

Clients are always looking for something else though. Like the trays based on St Paul’s window below or something to hold mini pint glasses.

Canape trays

 

 

 

 

 

Branding

Then comes branding. This can be done by cutting out the acrylic so you can see through or having vinyl printed on.

 

canape tray
Canape trays

 

canape tray

 

 

 

 

 

Canape trays

What next

What came next was hiring out some of my top designs. Found here. This helps makes the products more affordable and rather than a design going to the back of a store cupboard, hiring it means you can try something different next time, keeping clients & guests interested & keeping waste down.

 

The next stage

As you can see my go to medium for making canapé trays is acrylic as that’s what I started out using. One of my fabricators do build pieces from other materials like wood, metal & Corian however they are more expensive than acrylic and that unfortunately is expensive enough.  However my next line needs to be made from sustainable products right!?!?

 

Watch this space…

 

 

Case study -Sheraton Grand relaunch

We were given a brief a couple of months ago as part of the re launch of the iconic Sheraton Park Lane, now beautifully upgraded to Sheraton Grand. This project was especially close to my heart as it was the first London venue I worked in as a chef fifteen years ago!

The hotel is just WOW now. The Palm Court and Ballroom especially. The 1920s theme chosen for the launch recalled the original hey day of the hotel.

The brief was to match the service with the party theme. Canapé trays needed to:

1) Highlight the new Sheraton Grand branding;

Suspension tray gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Be memorable and spectacular;

gold canape tray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Compliment the colour scheme of the new event spaces;

Suspension Tray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Pair the canapés with specific drinks on the same tray, giving the guests a bite & drink the minute that they arrive.

Gold canape tray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a visit to the hotel and discussions with the Executive Chef we set to work on the tray designs, building in each of the key style requirements. An extra consideration was that the trays needed to work with an on-theme vintage Champagne coupe. We asked them to send us a glass so that the coupes fitted perfectly before coming up with initial drawings.

Canape tray design

As part of a high profile rebranding the hotel’s logo had to be just right.

Canapé tray design

“Tina provided the Sheraton Grand with some specifically design canapé trays that held Coupe champagne glasses with pairing canapés on the same tray and all branded with the Sheraton Grand logo. This was planned and designed by Tina herself and these products made a huge impact with the guests and certainly raised the bar in terms of our presentations going forward.

Tina also designed canapé trays in conjunction with some perspex drinks trays light boxes doughnut holders and Mini Milk Bottle holders.

I can highly recommend Tina for her patience and her ability to match the theme and design of the Hotel spaces and at realistic prices. We also held the Grand opening of the Hotel after renovation and she themed one of the venues in tandem with an Italian market concept which was amazing.”

Executive chef Andrew Bennett MBE

 

What do I look out for when buying canapé trays ?

We are very often called by people in the hospitality industry with questions before buying their trays.

 

So to help you along a bit here’s a few words of advice.

There are many companies out there that mass produce trays made from acrylic and they sell them nice and cheaply.

The downside is they will be made from an inferior acrylic that could be prone to a crackle effect when subjected to heat or just over time.

They are usually made from a very thin acrylic and they don’t have the surface area to stick together which is ok for home use but no good for how many multiple outings they get on your events.

Hotels, event caterers & restaurants are like the crash test for acrylic trays and they are put through the mill. The washing process, sending out on events and getting packed (thrown) into boxes at the end of a long night quickly takes it’s toll.

So ask questions and stick to these rules to avoid buying the same trays a second time a few months later :-

 

1) Don’t get your trays made from an acrylic of less than 5 mm thickness if they have parts that will need gluing.

2) Insist they are bonded together and not just stuck together with a solvent.

3) Inspect for air bubbles.

 

Have a look at the below this is made from 5mm clear. Perspex is the best acrylic but there are other brands that are fine.

Canape trays
It’s so pleasing to see a lovely clear join like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what you want to try avoid
This is what you want to try avoid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what you are looking for. No air bubbles, perfect joins & even all edges have been diamond polished to give that smooth look !!
This is what you are looking for. No air bubbles, perfect joins & even all edges have been diamond polished to give that smooth look !!

Usherette tray fabrication – from concept through to event

So this is the story of a set of Usherette trays from the design to production.

Macaroon trays

Ohlala-macarons contacted us looking for a unique way to serve their macarons (French style macaroons) . The team gave us some requirements like holes for syringes and shallow trays for fresh fruit . They also requested scalloped trays to protect the shells and we suggested business card slots and hidden compartments underneath for extra shells – to avoid trips back to the kitchen for re stocking.

We then had a CAD drawing made up – or seven !!!

usherette tray

Once it looked perfect on paper we begged for a barbie size one to take to the client. This is 1/3 scale model, complete with strap holes. Too cute!

bespoke usherette tray model

Signed off, fabricated…AND now they are going out on events complete with the poodle branding.

Meredith bespoke

Macaroon trays

Usherette trays are a growing trend and oh la la have got in there early with their fab idea !