INTERVIEW // BLAKES FEAST
Which three words best describe Blakes Feast?
Caterers go beyond serving Food & Beverage these days. How do you approach a client brief?
You have to listen to your customer.
We quote based on the individual and never send out a generic proposal. Every menu item, cocktail and staff member is tailored to suit the client’s wishes, style and budget.
What is your creative process when designing menus and Food & Beverage service and how do you keep it fresh?
We focus on produce from only the best suppliers, utilising the finest the season has to offer. We all either come from a restaurant or food background so eating out is a fundamental part of keeping what we do fresh.
Do you have a philosophy that you instil into your team and business culture?
We are a team and a family. We are totally transparent with our staff as to where the business is at. They treat Blakes Feast as if it’s their own and they care as much as we do. Any form of complacency is the kiss of death. We are constantly looking to improve in all aspects of the business.
Who are you inspired by? (Producers, culinary enthusiasts, designers, artists…)
Local suppliers like Western Plains Pork, Sevens Creek Wagyu, Milla’s Farm and the greats like Thomas Keller & Francis Mallman.
List some of your top resources across any media that you turn to for creative inspiration?
Magazines – Gourmet Traveller, Condé Nast Traveller, Wallpaper.
Instagram – The art of Plating, Ottolenghi, Noma, David Chang.
What is your work space like?
New & shiny! We never dreamed of having facilities like we do now. For years we were bursting at the seams across two shop fronts and three leases in Malvern Road but the expense in moving into a custom facility was always too great. We fell onto our feet when we met our landlords who are property developers and custom built this facility for us, with a huge office and large kitchens underneath with another overflow kitchen and warehousing. It makes peak season much more enjoyable and we are very lucky.
What are your favourite trends of the moment? (Food / events / travel / brands / stores / inanimate objects / design / fashion…)
We don’t follow trends per se, we prefer classic and timeless- it can never be beaten whether in food, travel or fashion. In 2001 Andrew opened Blakes Cafeteria which introduced the concept of ‘shared plates’. To this date it is still our preferred way of eating and clearly very on trend now!
What season is most inspiring for produce and menu creation?
Autumn. We love the heavier, soul warming food plus the colours and textures that come into play at that time of year.
What foods / flavours are you enjoying working with at the moment?
We have always had a strong Asian influence in our menus. Sichuan and Japanese are dominating at the moment.
What would be your dream food brief?
Something that requires some international travel!! India maybe….
Can you share some local (Melbourne / Victoria) foodie secrets?
We love Katies Crab Shack at Ding Dong bar for amazing blueswimmer crab boilers, the Vietnamese coconut pancakes at Thanh Nga 9 on Victoria Street, Pho from I love Pho and sticky fishy eggplant, cumin lamb and hotpots from Dainty Sichuan.
If you hosted a party, what would be on your menu?
Our incredible head chef Jake does Italian very well so a big long Amalfi coast inspired lunch down on the deck at the beach serving ricotta with anchovies, dried chilli and lemon on crostini, spaghetti vongole, whole BBQ snapper with salmorglio dressing, grilled calamari , caprese salad, tiramisu and Italian cheeses and of course it needs to be served with Sgroppinos , Aperol spritz and some delicious Greco di tufo.
Which Dann Event Hire piece is your favourite?
Havana Bar Cart – not only because we have one in our office fully loaded for a cocktail anytime, but also using them on events is always great
If you were a piece of furniture which would you be? Why?
A Pierre Jeanneret chair – classic design, timeless & reliable.
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