I often get asked, what's the main thing I focus on when creating my grazing tables (besides the need to have quality, fresh food, ALWAYS - this is a non-negotiable). The answer always comes back to - design - focus on the design and the props used because this will make ALL the difference between a grazing table looking like a masterpiece or just another table of food.
After every booking I receive, and before I think food, I think design. I'll think of the brief and what the client wants to achieve and I start to mentally map out what the table will look like. I'll then turn to my props cardboard and begin to play around with the various pieces I have to create something unique and bespoke. Sometimes I'll have an image in mind and I'll source the pieces I'm after (this is how I've built most of the prop collection) to bring my vision to life.
Elevation is always a must if you want to create intrigue and add depth to a grazing table. This is easily achieved with stands you can place platters on (stands come in all forms, shapes and sizes - I use candle stands for instance to place platters on top, or upside down fruit bowls - you can really get creative here!). Wooden crates are another popular choice and gives a really nice rustic vibe.
For most grazes you need a stand out centrepiece that creates the dramatic WOW factor to the set up. I tend to focus my designs on a centrepiece and work my way around and add height where needed - like the image below, the crates and floral arrangements add impact and become the statement piece of the table.
Mixing up textures is always a nice way to bring a bit of intrigue to the design and set up. In the above image I've mixed rustic pieces with matt black and gold bowls and gold and white platters to give a more elegant and sophisticated vibe. In other designs, I've used brass antique vases and fruit bowl holders to create more of a bohemian feel to the set up - don't be afraid to experiment and use different textures and materials to create subtle undertones.
Flowers and foliage is, at times, really underrated when it comes to grazing table design and sometimes takes a bit of convincing to have a client agree to spend some portion of the budget on adding flowers or foliage to the table. A minimum of $50 is enough to add an extra bit of POP and WOW to the display - just like the poke of Baby Breath in the below image - $6 a bunch and it lifted the entire look of the table while hiding any gaps to give a lush effect.
And most importantly the FOOD! While it's true people eat with their eyes, their taste buds will tell them when their eyes are deceiving them. This is, by far, the most important element of every grazing table - the food - and equally important, are the accompaniments you include which takes the grazing experience to another level! Think extremely fresh produce, top quality meats and cheeses, antipasto, dips, artisan breads and crackers and all the surprise and delight inclusions which just blow the grazing experience out of the water. One stand out I am constantly praised on is the inclusion of honeycomb. Honeycomb on Brie is a mega standout with guests along with glazed pears on goat cheese and don't forget quince paste! Don't skim of the little things - while these accompaniments may be a bit more on the expensive side - they'll make all the difference between a WOW grazing experience or just another ordinary food table ;)
In summary, the five most important things to keep in mind when attempting a knock out grazing table of your own:
1. Table Design!! Forward plan this and have one or two stand out pieces
2. Elevation is key to adding intrigue and depth to the design
3. A standout centrepiece that will bring the dramatic WOW factor
4. Flowers and Foliage to create a lush effect while filling any gaps
5. THE FOOD - quality foods with delightful accompaniments to transform an ordinary graze to a sensational grazing experience.
Keep your eyes pealed for our next blog post where we'll let you in on some of our GG grazing secrets!
See you soon grazing loves xoxo