Food styling is a trend in its own right. With the sudden surge in social media, the popular use of hashtags including #FoodPorn, our eyes have been widened by a sheer amount of inspiration from fashion to architecture and from entertainment to travel – we are all keen to introduce new levels of style in our work. But what creates a style legacy? Is it fashionable to be stylish? We feel it is all about creating an identity, which shapes who you are, what you’re about and where you’re placed within the market. As Yves Saint Laurent is famous for saying ‘Fashions fades, style is eternal’. It is important to consider trends, popular nuances and fashionable influences, but in order to be a brand of today it is crucial to create an identity that is known for its work, output and unique style.
We are fortunate to work with one of the industry’s leading, luxury food and event design companies, Urban Caprice. Known for their unique style, catering party solutions for the glitterati and corporate client alike, we spoke to them about their identity and style, which makes them such a popular choice for many clients.
Tell us a little about Urban Caprice?
Urban Caprice is the event catering arm of Caprice Holdings, and we have a contemporary and innovative approach to briefs, and push boundaries with food design and execution, which ultimately challenges client’s perceptions of what is possible with food in an event scenario.
We love food and insist on using only the freshest ingredients from sources we know and trust. We offer a wide range of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes and each menu is put together with careful thought as to who will be eating it. Seasonality, the duration and nature of the event, guest numbers and guest profile are taken into account.
Urban Caprice cater every type of event from cocktail parties, to press days, awards dinners and corporate hospitality. We are also accredited to work in a number of unique venues throughout London, such as the Saatchi Gallery, One Mayfair, One Marylebone and the Design Museum. We are also able to work in many more including the V&A and Kensington Palace on a request basis.
As part of a larger group, we have a great culinary heritage with restaurant brands such as The Ivy, Scotts and Le Caprice to re-create our famous restaurants in an event capacity. Collaborating with the restaurant chefs, offering signature dishes and a seamless service along with beautiful event styling, really does create a unique atmosphere for guests. Above anything else we understand events – consistently delivering exceptional food through innovative menu creations and beautiful event design, ensuring the guest experience is second to none.
What trends are you seeing in the world of food design?
Food trends come and go and tend to move in cycles much as fashion does. Seasonality is still important, as well as locally sourced, but adhering to this can be quite restrictive. For us quality of ingredients is paramount as this will come through in the flavour of the dish. We favour championing these ingredients and focus on delivering exceptional flavour rather than gimmicky presentation. Variety seems to be something that our clients want to offer their guests so there is a demand for food stations that offer wide variety of dishes to suit all tastes. Presentation all round has become much more detailed with dishes looking like works of art. @GastroArt is a fantastic site on Instagram, which showcases the most beautiful food from all over the world. Our clients also love a bit of theatre, so live food stations with chefs finishing off food in guest view is popular and people still love a liquid nitrogen ice cream bar!
What styles of food is Urban Caprice known for?
Urban Caprice’s style is a cross between modern European and Scandinavian. We have two chefs from San Sebastian in the Basque country so incredible food is in their DNA! Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is thought through from both a taste and design perspective, ensuring our menus truly are miniature works of art, but that can also be delivered on the event itself. One of our clients recently described our food as real. There’s a lot of style over substance in our industry where it seems more thought is given to the non-food element of the presentation and not enough given to what’s actually going on the plate.
Our chefs keep abreast of new restaurant openings in London and are encouraged to try new dishes and experiences in order to stretch their repertoire further. Of course we are also known for signature dishes from our restaurants with The Ivy shepherd’s pie and the J Sheekey rock shrimp burger being the most requested.
When you style service ware for food, where do you get your inspiration?
Budget constraints somewhat limit what is possible for most events. It’s great when we have the scope to have something specially made for an event, but more often than not we have to look at what is available to hire. The type of food we are serving or the event itself often dictates the service ware. We hold team brainstorming sessions to bounce ideas off each other and Pinterest can also be a good source of inspiration and especially helpful when working with brides to understand what they are looking to achieve on their special day.
Is seasonal, sustainable food important to your work?
Yes very much so. In this day and age, clients want to know where the produce has come from and how it’s sourced. Our suppliers source their produce thorough sustainable sources and all of our vegetables come through suppliers that source throughout the UK as much as possible.
Our menus are created on a seasonal basis ensuring that produce suggested throughout is easily sourced and that our carbon footprint is minimised.
What does innovation in food mean to you?
Innovation in food means pushing the boundaries, whether that is through the design and delivery, or what is possible in an event environment. Clients always want to delight and wow their guests, and this is often achieved through an immersive experience around the menu and drinks.
Can you recommend some exciting new restaurants in London?
Sexy Fish, also part of Caprice Holdings, has recently opened, and we thoroughly enjoyed a recent visit there. The décor is fantastic with Frank Gehry’s fish installations hanging above the bar, the cocktails are to die for – we loved the “Shipwrecked” cocktail presented in a bottle in a treasure chest with edible sand, and the menu is an pan-Asian feast! Our firm favourite was the Chilean sea bass which melted in the mouth.
What’s Urban Caprice’s signature dish?
We have a number of dishes that rarely get taken off the menu, but that evolves each season instead. Beetroot and thyme with goat’s cheese, wild nasturtium, pine nut dressing is a firm favourite and for a while, we had a giant ‘Maltcheeser’ pudding that we have created many different flavoured versions of. There are some new dishes for this autumn/winter, which we think will be staying with us for a while too.
One event that you’d love to cater for?
A multiple day wedding or a birthday party, somewhere beautiful, in the south of France perhaps, unlimited budget, and an open-minded client!
To find out more about our relationship with Urban Caprice, or to learn how we can help design an innovative menu for your next event email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credits: Urban Caprice