Grazing Tables: something old is something new once again

By Jim Hagy

When it comes to style and fashion, the one thing you can be sure of is that not a thing under the sun is new. What’s new and hot this season is likely a re-engineered relic from days gone by. Every decade or so, fashion that you never thought you would see again raises its head. Sometimes that head is ugly.  Take macramé, for example. It was a flash in the pan in the 70s and thankfully was only a flash in the pan last year. More positively, mid-century furniture has been as hot as a pop-up toaster for the last couple of years. Even the very style of color seems to come in phases, as after a decade of every shade of white, we’re seeing the unashamed bold colors of Memphis style come back into vogue this year.

Food trends seem to come-and-go in the same vein as their vogue counterparts. When I started catering events 20 years ago, tables filled with mountains of fresh fruit, cheeses, crackers and more were chic and expected. They were beautiful and orderly arranged, massive and impressive. We thought we were cutting edge, but the truth is that the trend likely originated in the Roman halls of Caesar and has resurfaced every decade or so since. I know this is true as I saw Liz Taylor and Richard Burton enjoying a lavish table of food in the movie Cleopatra in the 60s.

The lavish displays of food are back once again, but this time re-imagined with all the ways we like to eat now. We’ve introduced Chef’s Market’s Grazing Tables to the runway with new and exciting flavors and textures. This time around, we are focused on how we all love to snack and enjoy variety; we eat more globally; and who does not like charcuterie or antipasti? It’s all here: artisan cheese, locally sourced cured meats, fruits, vegetables, pickles, olives, fresh bread, gourmet crackers, nuts, dried fruit, but taking it further we’ve added seasonal dips, our famous house-made chips, chocolates and truffles.

This is not just food piled high as we did in the 90s; it is a culinary adventure.  The table itself becomes a showpiece. When it comes to styling a grazing table, food is to us what paint is to an artist. We look at shapes, textures, colors and contemplate heights, patterns, and of course, the personal style of our client. Our goal is to create a visual and flavor-packed masterpiece for you and your guests. The best part is watching your guests as they circle the table excited, delighted and interacting with each other.  As a host, we know this is what really makes you happy, as it’s what makes us love what we do too.

Grazing table in action at our daughter Mary’s wedding last year

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