Chelsea Chef, Designer Shatter The Need For Finger Food Plates
When it comes to food presentation, every chef is an artist, but a top chef out of Chelsea also strives for theatrics with his finger food. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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Food on plates and hors d'oeuvre passed on doilies seem as done as the dinosaur. But at large-scale cocktail parties like city hot spots like the American Museum of Natural History, chef Bob Speigel of Pinch Food Design builds "food interactions."
One of these "interactions" lets summer rolls hang on wires dangling from a bar, so that eaters can carry on conversations without plates.
Speigel at a serving station
"They're hanging right here on a suspension and it's just a different vantage point for someone to look at," says Speigel. "Once again, it's see-though, so people can talk to each other on both sides of the interaction."
At the chef's tables, even the food prep is appetizing, with stacked morsels such as BLT with pork belly.
"Everybody's watching the Food Network these days, they want to see someone build something. They want to see our chefs right up there in front of everybody prepare their foods," says Speigel.
After 30 years in the catering business, Speigel could not stomach another party with traditional foot items and presentations. So he and partner TJ Girard founded Pinch about a year ago, and some of their ideas have made diners pinch themselves with disbelief.
"We can display food hanging, swinging, shooting out of a wall," says Speigel.
Girard's design background shines through Pinch's specialty trays and utensils. A set of spoons spears shrimp on one end and bears sauce at the other end. Then the spoon slides into a tray underneath the serving platter.
A serving tray designed by Girard
There are also dishes that partygoers can place on top of a drink so they do not have to stand by a table.
"We're trying to create memorable experiences through the event world through food and through design, creating pieces of 'food furniture' so you're not just eating off an eight-foot table with a linen table cloth on it," says Girard.
One of the big concepts at Pinch is having "small bites," so a diner can have an entire meal right at his or her fingertips.
"This is a roast rib eye with a cream spinach and a cauliflower gratin," says Speigel.
When Speigel is around, there's always a "little ham" on the menu, too.