Raffles Cafe operates a sister business called Alexander Cuisine for business catering across Hawke’s Bay. Sapphire says that for those still with weddings coming up, Raffles can cater for the before and after events. “These are get togethers such as when the makeup artist arrives, and the bridesmaids getting ready while they’re doing the bride up” says Sapphire. “They usually ask for things that are high in carbohydrates. Mini frittata’s, bagels, and we do a croissant in bagel with egg in it for the protein. I always do one little sweet thing, like a pikelet with blueberry cream cheese on it – the perfect accompaniment to a glass of champagne.” says Sapphire.
For those of you wondering who picks up the food, Raffles delivers the food personally to make sure it gets there at the exact time you request and in top condition ready for your special day. I ask Sapphire about what it’s like catering for very large groups.
“On the days we do big functions, it’s about getting up early and doing all of your organisation well in advance. You have to work with people that really know what they’re doing. It’s not something that you can fly on the seat of your pants.” says Sapphire. “No matter how much organisation, there are always going to be unexpected things happen on the day. Responding to these in the right way takes experience and an experienced team.” Sapphire has worked with Jenny Parton after her time at Sileni and has worked on some big catering jobs. “That’s where I learnt a lot of my catering and I loved working in amongst the hype of the occasion. It can be a big job in the preparation, but the reward afterwards is immense. It’s social too.” says Sapphire.
I ask Sapphire how she manages to juggle Raffles Cafe and big catering functions. “We’re open during the week in the cafe, so the weekends we have a full kitchen at our disposal ready to put to work for big events.” says Sapphire. “I’ve got a wedding for 80 coming up where we are catering for the day after the wedding. The get together BBQ. We do the BBQ’ing if they want us to, or some people choose to have it prepared and dropped off. For the wedding we did on New Years eve, we did the whole thing. The serving staff are supplied for the day or you can have them dropped off.” says Sapphire.
The price for catering an event does depend on what’s included and that’s entirely up to what you would like. “We do make recommendations based on what works, for example, where alcohol is also provided, we recommend a more solid meal or for weddings high carb dishes that keeps everyone going through the big day.” says Sapphire. “The larger the event, the more cost effective it becomes. We have our favourite combinations of dishes that we know work for different types of events to guarantee that your event is memorable. At the end of the day, it’s your function.” Personalised catering costs between $19 and $39 per head depending on your needs.
Just before leaving, I ask Sapphire how much notice her team needs. “We can do small catering jobs on the same day when it’s urgent, but for the larger events give us a call well in advance and we can put your mind at ease for catering so you can focus on all the other things to do with event planning.”