How did you start in the catering industry?
I began working for a group of very successful restaurants, then moved on to helping them launch their catering division. I ended up creating Sana Catering where I could more freely develop my ideas and grow.
What do you love most about the catering business?
Food!! Haha … I am a massive foodie! I love finding new ingredients and are so lucky to live in this age where everything is accessible. More importantly, I love learning new tricks and new methods using local Spanish ingredients. The health benefits are massive when you eat fruit and vegetables produced locally and in season. Oh and of course I love experimenting and tasting.
Why did you decide to specialise in wedding catering?
Being involved in a wedding is such a special experience – it’s a snapshot into one of the most intimate moments of a couple’s life, being surrounded by all the people they love the most and the happiness is infectious.
Also it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the whole range of what we can do. From our truly amazing canapés where every single ingredient is prepared from scratch and by hand, to our authentic-with-a-Sana-twist tapas and delicious paellas, beautifully presented three-course plated meals, innovative desserts and then late-night snacks.
We often get the pleasure of returning to prepare the pool party the next day, or the welcome meet and greet the day before, which is always lovely for us to be involved in.
How do you come up with your menu ideas?
From a practical side, we obviously choose dishes that work well when producing such high numbers, often out of a temporary kitchen which we have built for the day. We like to offer as much choice as we can knowing that tastes, (and budgets,) differ massively.
We are often led by our clients, we encourage bespoke menus and love to create something to personalize a menu. For example, we had a beautiful couple last season, the bride was from the British Virgin Islands and the groom from Galicia, so we created a wedding menu that was Galician starters, and British Virgin Isle main courses and a fabulous dessert buffet. It really brought the families together and numerous guests commented on how special it made them feel.
What kind of cuisine do you specialize in?
As we mentioned before we love to create something different and bespoke, so we have started to cater for Indian weddings. David Farber, executive Chef (and my husband, lucky me,) loves a challenge when it comes to creating something new. At a recent Indian wedding we catered for, all the lovely older Indian guests came in the kitchen to meet the `Indian Chef´, and took some convincing that it was David who had made their Indian wedding food.
Any tips for couples on how to develop a wedding menu?
I always say do not try and think of every single guest and what they might or might not like. You have to please yourselves and you may be surprised to find that when pushed out of their comfort zone even the pickiest guests will be happy with your choices.
For an engaged couple, when is the best time to book the caterer?
As soon as possible. We are taking bookings now for 2022. The best caterers will get booked up fast.
What should couples be looking for in their caterer?
Flexibility and creativity. So that they can personalize their food and drinks menu and make it stand out in ‘their way’. Most couples getting married are at `that age´ so maybe they have been to five other weddings that year already. It is important to make theirs different and introduce elements that guests won´t forget.
What are some of the most important questions to ask a potential caterer?
Is everything prepared from scratch? What time will they get there on the day? How do they deal with food allergies? Can they provide an extra option for vegetarian or vegan guests? Can you do gluten-free?
When do I have to have final menu to you? When do we have to have final numbers?
How often do brides and grooms have a very specific menu picked out before coming in?
We love to host a tasting for the couples, so they need have made some choices beforehand. This gives them a good idea of the standard and quality of food we produce. We can then advise them from there. For example, for the plated menus it´s good to have a meat and fish option.
What is the best approach to serving food for specialty diets?
Couples need to ask their guests if anyone has any specific intolerances or food requests. These need to be communicated to the caterer at least one month before and clearly marked on the table plan.
What kind of dishes would you recommend for a vegan wedding as veganism is a fast-growing trend?
We have a whole selection of vegan menus available on request, and have, on numerous occasions catered 100% vegan weddings. It´s a total challenge and we love it. The trick is for even the biggest meat eaters to not even notice that there is no meat fish or diary on the menu.
Which food trends will we see people moving away from this year?
We find that most of our couple’s who get married in Spain want to get away from tradition. No soup or prawn cocktails. Food stations are still in high demand.
What dishes would you advise couples to stay away from, due to the heat in Spain?
Sometimes we are asked to keep buffets out all night, especially dessert buffets and this is just not feasible. We can do ice cream carts, which are really popular, but even then we can`t keep out for a long length of time.