While Australia’s events industry is coming into its own and beginning to gain international recognition, the event companies and caterers of America are pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity. This issue, Edwina Storie brings you the work of one of the most reputable caterers in New York, Pinch Food Design. To create interaction between guests, the chef-and-interior-designer duo recreates classic dishes into canapés and serves them on innovative ‘food furniture’ made from unusual objects.

“Dining experiences at restaurants have grown in very exciting ways over the past decade, and catering has not mirrored that growth. We believe our clients are ready for, and deserve, a taste of something new and unpredictable, an experience that leverages the best food with an entirely new presentation. So we created Pinch Food Design. Our intention is to impress, entertain and inspire with food as delicious as it is daring, and design as inviting as is it innovative. We work to incite surprise, anticipation and delight with every bite while wowing our clients – and their guests – with imaginative presentation combinations that redefine the art of celebration.”

Chef Bob Spiegel and designer TJ Girard, Pinch Food Design

Fashionable Food

Fresh Catering exclusively fed the glamourzons of the most stylish event in Australia – the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sydney. And there’s a lot that goes into such a reputable event. Edwina Storie spoke exclusively to Fresh Catering’s director Peter McCloskey on the logistics of feeding the fashion pack.


The event:

While Redfern is the usual stomping ground of many Sydney designers, this was the first year after what feels like a lifetime that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and Sydney was not at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, but instead, at Redfern’s urban-chic warehouse, Carriageworks. And with Fresh Catering being the newly official caterers for the venue, it exclusively created the menus for the single largest industry-only event in the Asia Pacific this year.
A leader and trend setter on Sydney’s event food scene, Fresh Catering was delighted to be involved, serving a fine selection of innovative dishes throughout the week at the event’s pop-up restaurant, Fresh at the Hub and the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge as well as exclusive fashion events, runway shows and high-profile parties.

The requirements:

A total of 25,000 pairs of next season’s shoes walked through the doors during the fashion-frenzied week and Fresh Catering was required to cater to each of them – from the international models and VIPs such as Jennifer Hawkins, to the stagehands and makeup artists backstage.
“We also operated our own corporate hospitality program during the week at Carriageworks, which was available for event partners, designers and media to host cocktail functions and private dining experiences for their special guests,” Fresh Catering’s director Peter McCloskey says.
Event organiser IMG requested the food and beverages be fashionable and on trend. “They had numerous points of contacts which made planning an intricate process,” McCloskey says.

The concept:

Several food outlets were set up but Fresh at the Hub was the official pop-up restaurant where magazine editors would interview designers, celebrities would gather for drinks in between shows, and fashion bloggers would sit by their laptop for a bite to eat while profiling the latest runway show. The airy, warehouse-style space was punctuated with dramatic black-and-white-striped accents, plush black banquettes and flourishing greenery.
Fresh Catering’s full-time stylist Andrew Birley worked with McCloskey according to a specified palette and concept developed with IMG to create an atmosphere and style that complemented the event and cuisine with a vibrant and chic feel.

The logistics:

Fresh Catering met extensively with IMG for preplanning and familiarisation with the event and venue to discuss the requirements and their delivery.
“Everyone involved needs to be on board and must know what they are expected to deliver,” McCloskey says.
“Pre planning, organisation and communication are key skills one must have if they want to pull off such a large scale, complex event.

The menu:

McCloskey explains that with the range of different food and beverage operations, the menus and food styles were multifaceted. Visitors were treated to a rotating menu of daily specials to ensure freshness in produce and feel, with vibrancy an element that drove all menus.

VIPs could relax at the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge with gremolata chicken, pea and goat’s cheese risotto, or a lamb, mint and chickpea salad with labne and harissa, while special corporate invitees were treated to exclusively hosted dinners serving the likes of Angus beef fillet with smeared pumpkin, zucchini flowers and cocoa sauce. Attendees at the Fresh at the Hub pop-up restaurant could order a salad of barbecued salmon, quinoa, broad beans and parsley, or tomato bocconcini and basil leaf pide. Backstage, the crew received penne pasta with roasted tomato sauce on one day, and roast beef paninis on another. m


Fresh Catering was a sponsor so needed to design a menu that was illustrative of its high standards while allowing the team to operate carefully with costs


  • VIPs – 1000 per day
  • Fresh at the Hub – 1200 per day approx.
  • Private Functions – From 20 to 500 daily
  • Backstage – 300 per day
  • Crew – 100 per meal period
  • Coffees – 800 per day

Most popular dish

The salads at Fresh at the Hub were most popular with the barbecued salmon and quinoa salad, and the chicken and green olive tagine both in very high demand.