Custom Food Presentation : What We Bring to the Table : Simple Clear Bar

  • If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past many years of catering parties, it’s that a great party is never just about the food. It’s about the spectacle of the presentation, too. Designing trays and building one-of-a-kind displays is an important way I honor the spirit of the party as well as highlight the skills my team brings to the table. Together with my team of young craftsmen, every day I’m working on some sensational new design that is elevated from sketch into reality.

    Peter Callahan Sketching Food Designer International Caterer

    Peter Callahan | it all starts with a sketch

    For instance, this week we’re hard at work designing a cool custom all-clear acrylic bar for a modern party in a special state-of-the-art building. Every single element to this bar has to be thought out perfectly, no matter how tedious the detail. It all matters. It all takes time. Clear shelves, buckets, pedestals and trays all combine with a large sturdy glass table top for a magnificent light-as-air bar presentation that works beautifully in any party. But, it works best and was designed specifically for high rise, all glass buildings and urban bright lofts. This week we’re back inside another fabulous building designed by world renown architect, Frank Gehry for the opening party launching the penthouses at 8 Spruce Street in Manhattan.  The view from the penthouse is extraordinary.

    forest city ratner 8 spruce street manhattan frank gehry peter callahan catering

    Room with a View | tonight’s party is in a penthouse at 8 Spruce Street, designed by Frank Gehry | it’s all about the incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, including the new Freedom Tower

    Designing the style of the bar so that it matches the basic bar service needs with a cool presentation is the goal. Our biggest issue is making the chill tubs for the bar top itself, as well as the stand for the chill tubs. Chill tubs house bottles of wine and champagne in crushed ice, keeping them nice and “chilled” for the party. All with water retention that keeps the host’s space water-free and safe from damage. With the clear bar that we’re building specifically for this party, we go from sketches of the idea, to design drawings with exact measurements for our beverage presentation, to venue spatial parameters. Everything behind the bar has to be transparent, clean and precise.

    chill tub bar setups custom designed acrylic party tables peter callahan

    Mock-ups | from sketch to wooden mock-up then to acrylic fabrication

    So, once we have the clear bar design on paper, we move to creating a wooden mock-up of each piece of the design. The client didn’t ask us to make this, nor did the planner or the designer. It’s just what we do and how we work. In fact, by the time this bar is fully built and installed at the event there will have been at least 10 different artists who have worked on its design and fabrication. It’s this attention to presentation that continually inspires not only me, as a food designer, but also my entire team.

    clear bar gehry penthouse opening peter callahan catering

    Clear Bar | shelves, buckets, chill tubs all acrylic to blend into the glass windows

    A busy week for us is anywhere between three to six events, but that’s because we know that what we do takes focus and precision. {and a whole lot of advance planning!} But we know, as do our clients, that attention to detail makes it all worthwhile.

    forest city manhattan apartment building opening party peter callahan catering

    Back Bar Design | simple acrylic bases that hide water drainage, yet hold bottled beverages and ice

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    August 1st, 2012

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