There is nothing like a wedding with amazing food and a caterer that actually makes food dreams a reality. So today we’re excited to be joined by Ian-Michael Farkas of Laissez-faire Catering! Not only do they focus on fresh, seasonal produce but they also have 20 venues they know and work with throughout Sydney. Their packages, recommendations and knowledge is wide and varied and just the thing for a Sydney wedding that requires amazing food, amazing wine and plenty of full and happy bellies.
Tell me a little about yourself? How did your interest in food begin?
My dad had a restaurant while I was growing up, I use to come back from school and skip homework to sit on the chef’s bench to watch him cook and prep. Since I was a kid my family would get together weekly at my grandparents place, we would be at least 15 people or more and they would sit around for hours all around food and drinks. Since I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about food and everything to do with fresh produce, cooking and the art of entertaining with food and drinks.
What/who inspired you to make food your career?
I don’t believe I ever made the actual choice, rather it chose me….
However I have a strong concept about hospitality, as the strategy to produce wonderful and memorable experiences. The fact is that when you know what you are doing in the kitchen and you can deliver on time, people will really appreciate your work and come back for more!
What was the catalyst for setting up Laissez-Faire Catering?
A mission to do things better, access to a stunning venue (the Australian Technology Park) and a strong team. So when our director met with the general manager and executive chef with a common vision Laissez-faire was re-born.
You offer a full service to couples from food to flowers, to marquees, function staff and even a wedding coordinator. Can couples tailor a package to suit their budget?
Absolutely, that’s what makes us unique. By working in partnership with an extensive list of venues and suppliers and by extending our expertise we tailor every proposal considering the venue, time frame and budget limitations to guarantee that whatever we promise, we can deliver and do it really well.
You have access to lots of different venues all over Sydney. Can you describe a couple of them to us?
In the city – State Library of NSW is a stunning location with grand elegance and impressive heritage rooms. Other city locations include the Australian National Maritime Museum and Harbour 220, with exceptional views and facilities and for more formal events. For a more outdoor and casual feel the Botanical Gardens and the Chinese Gardens of Friendships are beautiful spaces within the CBD area that can easily be themed and tailored to each couple.
A little further away from the CBD, we have the Gap Bluff Centre in Watson’s Bay, which is an idyllic location for Sydney Harbour lovers with iconic water views and city skyline.
Prince Henry Centre with its chapel next door and the entire Pacific Ocean as a backdrop is definitely a unique and impressive venue to consider, located in Little Bay only a short drive from the Eastern Suburbs.
Image by Rasha Photography
Do you have any tips for brides to consider when booking a caterer?
My tips are:
1. Define the type of event you want to host; set a realistic budget for catering and other expenses.
2. Select a date, avoiding obvious conflicts.
3. Source venue availability first and then request a tailored package
4. Schedule a tasting. Have us visit your premises.
5. Make arrangements for dietary requirements such as vegetarian or kosher meals.
6. Address special family requests.
7. Ask for photographs of previous events the caterer has managed.
8. Iron out details such as linens, flowers and tableware.
9. Discuss service and staffing options.
10. Discuss how alcoholic drinks will be handled.
11. Thoroughly review the caterer’s estimate, identify any missing expenses, get a contract and know your cancellation clauses.
What are the advantages in having your wedding catered?
It’s your wedding; the last thing you should be doing on this special day is to worry about the details and logistics of executing your plan. On the day it’s about friends and family, let someone worry. You and your family should be able to enjoy and be part of the celebrations while we (the caterer) take care of the things that matter, food, drinks and service!
Do you offer flexibility in your menus to each couples’ requirements? Can you provide a tasting to help couples make their decision?
Yes, we have recommendations and menu collections for every season, but each wedding is different and our chef is happy to work towards a more tailored menu, in fact we encourage couple’s to share their favorites so we can suggest and bring ideas that suit each occasion.
Are you able to accommodate vegan, vegetarian and food sensitivity requirements?
Yes, with enough notice we can source and produce most dietary requirements.
When designing a menu, what should the bride and groom consider?
The structure and style will determine the framework.
Structure i.e.: cocktail or sit down, plated or buffet, lunch or dinner etc.
Style i.e.: From our menu collection, Australian modern, Middle East, Greek, etc…
The structure will determine the types of dishes you can select, if it’s main dishes or canapés or both and the style and length of the event will determine the amount of options required.
The structure will also impact on the number of staff and equipment required i.e.: a 3-course dinner needs more staff in comparison to cocktail style events. This will impact on your budget.
Your beverage package is very important to discuss with your caterer. Discuss how alcoholic drinks will be handled.
Do you offer a food and wine matching service to brides and grooms?
Yes, we work with some of the finest wine suppliers in the country, and we have access to sommeliers which have designed and consulted in our current menu collection. For special requests we can create a tailored menu with matching wines.
What are your favourite wedding food ideas?
I don’t have a particular favorite, but I do believe in bringing memories into the menu. By that I mean I encourage you to discuss your traditions or background and memories with us. Like this we can design a menu that brings your own personal style and your loved ones to the menu and depth to the story of your wedding day.
We are interested to see that you prefer to use locally (Sydney and NSW) sourced food and have a ‘Foodified’ policy in place. What does this mean (in practical terms) for your organization?
It means we are committed to source fresh, local and seasonal produce. Practically it means we have a pre-requisite when we are approached or when we seek new suppliers in terms of the quality and reliability in the supply chain.
We are a gold license caterer and these means strict guidelines in everything we do in terms of quality assurance and sustainability policies.
Our foodified stamp is our food philosophy, a commitment to the planet and a promise to our customers. Is a seal of excellence that represents 20 years of experience catering that goes above expectations.
Images courtesy of Laissez-faire Catering and Rasha Photography