Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming of Awesome Food

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Something about the word “catering” just doesn’t bring to mind interesting food, let alone good food. At Pinch Food Design, co-founders Bob Spiegel and TJ Girard are changing that, but they are also altering the way that the goods are displayed and utilizing what they dubbed, “food furniture” to do it.

“A party is a live moment, and it’s only going to be that way in that moment just that one time,” said Girard, the designer of the pair. “something that is really pure and exciting about combining memorable and entertaining presentations with delicious cuisine.”

Last night I got a double taste of what they have been doing since 2011 at this sleek studio in Chelsea, and each aspect was more delightful than the last. In one section, a handsome waiter put out clipboards that had a sheet covered in thin slices of cheese, bread, and charcuterie. The bottom of the board had a circular groove cut in it, perfect for resting the makeshift plate on a glass of pinot gris.

As the night went on, more sharply dressed waiters came by with plates of “green eggs and ham,” which had neat little compartments built in them to stash the used spoons and toothpicks. Another round showcased a long sandwich holder that, instead of inserting trays of food into a conversation, created a line in the center so people on all sides could pluck a truffle-laced bite.

The back section featured a “rolling table,” which was covered in white marbles so dishes could easily slide over to the guests without teetering. Here they dished up novel plates of sashimi before switching over to a multi-layered dessert operation that involved coconut-mango sauce inside what looked to be a silicone udder.

“I think that event planners and caterers tend to not make the riskiest choices in food and design because they’re usually preparing an event for a large group of people,” said Spiegel, the executive chef, in a written statement. “If we can do something that pushes the envelope, does not seem too risky, yet is out on the edge with its presentation and robust flavors, then we’ve made an impact that will resonate with clients and their guests, and hopefully impact the catering industry as a whole.”

All the tools Pinch Food Design displayed were of their own making, and are ones they utilize on a daily basis. Also, while the plates, trays, tables, and displays shined, Spiegel’s food also took a bow. The menu, said Spiegel, is a retake on classic flavors, and incorporates multicultural cuisines with new American fare. So far, the list includes over 300 choices, and one day, I hope, I will get to try them all.