Home-grown, opulent and fresh. Oh yes, and present it vertically
You get food trends and you get Vicky Crease food trends.
While other caterers are presenting a buffet spread across tables, Crease this year lifted an international Catie Award for presenting her buffet vertically.
“We called it a culinary cabinet,” she says from the beach in Cape Town where she is on holiday with her family.
“The drawers are open and fruit cascades from them, heads of cheese and deserts are placed inside. We also do food walls. Individual dishes are framed like artworks. They draw attention in a crowded room. We also do sushi walls, desert walls and cocktail walls.”
A unique experience and visual display is her top trend for 2013.
“Decorate a table that is unique to your experience. Use newspaper if you don’t like doilies. There’s no right or wrong. Be confident,”
says the woman who two years ago beat the people who cater for the Oscars to the title of Catersource Best International Caterer.
“The other thing we’re loving is colour blocking.”
Crease creates tables with long patterned lines of colours that form a spectrum, from dark to light.
“So, moving from black porcini mushrooms and olives into purple beetroot and grapes and red cabbage into berries and plum tomatoes into oranges and clementines and gold-dusted peaches … Flowers and candles are added to compliment and build out the colours. The eye needs a concept.”
So what are the trends going to be at A-list functions next year?
“Healthy is still the global trend, responsible eating. Seafood is big. Fresh is big. Raw is huge – raw fish, raw confectionery, raw veggies. With raw veggies we access exotic varieties like rainbow carrots and miniatures, like tiny baby radishes with their stalks.
“We offer a variety of unique dips like grape and asparagus, or cranberry and crème fraiche, or mushroom and gorgonzola.”
Crease says floating menus will still be the norm – little individual dishes. And gourmet shisa nyama is set to be the star of the show.
“We do shisa nyama bars with different condiments and spruce them up – like balsamic chakalaka and with it we’ll do a polenta and pap bar.”
Local ingredients are properfor 2013 – but not necessarily used in traditional recipes, rather used for cosmopolitan fare.
“We’ll be using a lot of waterblommetjies, ostrich, game and South African wines.”
Micro-brewed local beers are also becoming a mainstay.
“We’re seeing the emergence of more natural, clean food stations and water bars decorated with pebbles,” says Crease – especially at what she calls “black diamond” parties.
She says her wealthy black clients “want oysters and sushi bars, and we throw in gorgeous boys walking around shucking the oysters for them. They love the raw bars. Later in the evening we set up Mozambican prawn stations and prego stations.
“Deserts are huge, with trifles being the most popular. It’s all about the opulence and lusciousness.”
Crease, who has made birthday cakes for Nelson Mandela, is known for her desserts. So what will be satisfying expensively capped sweet teeth in 2013?
“Macaroons are still big, but we’re making them unique, dusting them with colours and flavours. Red velvet cakes are a favourite, but now we’re doing pink velvet cakes and liquorice velvet cakes.”
But her personal favourite trend for 2013 is drawn from the social media experience.
“I love Instagram and I’ve developed an idea that’s like Instagramming with food. The way you take a photo and enhance it, you take a base food and you add to it.
“You add detail and colour, and hue. Take a macaroon, dust it in gold, display it in a food wall. Develop a better colour and taste offering.”
She likens her customised buffets to the social media experience.
“We let people build their own statements. We put bowls of different ingredients and dressings out, and let them create their own salad, for example.”
For Crease it’s all about offering something unique.