Everyone is all over the food station at the moment. It gives theatre to an event. And thanks to Heston (no surname required ) all guests and clients are looking for theatre with every mouthful and they are quick to move on to the next thing . They are even bored of dry ice God damn it. I do wonder where it will all end up. My husband is a chef -a bloody good one at that- and he’s paring his components right back so maybe we are actually going full circle.
All the intricate flowers placed on the plate with with long tweezers with millimetre precision are being stripped right back. Just look at Vijante my favourite restaurant oh no it closed down. Hmmm . Look at how many new restaurants popped up in the last couple of years up with only one or two things on the menu (even bigger stateside) like Burger & Lobster, Ooze (risotto only) Bubbledogs, Meatballs. etc. Not to mention the upmarket burger explosion. Simple is back ..for a while anyway.
But for us the event caterers we have to give choice – and that we do. Food from every nation. I’ve had to research diets and religions. Like the Jains diet. I’d never heard of it until I started working in event catering. So yes everyone is quite used to Canapes with their champagne now. Or, if the guests are special enough – a sit down dinner. But now it’s the rise of the FOOD STATION & BOWL FOOD event. This is where it would appear I come in. Event managers call me in when their client says “we’d like interaction” “a food station” “mini bowls” so their guests can talk to each other while slurping over a delicious noodle dish from an authentic 8oz chinese pail. Or tempura veg served in cones made from Chinese newspaper that I’ve run to China town to pick up 50 copies of. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a new concept I’ve been designing food stations for 8 years plus but it’s really ramped up in the last year or two!
So my job is a bit more like set design in this respect. You need to create a mini China on a 6 foot trestle table or India, Italy, Mexico or a picnic or seaside scene. I discuss with the Event managers, get the brief work with the Chefs on what food they will be serving and start sourcing and researching. Here’s a few from the last twelve months :