Today we speak with the wonderful duo behind one of our favourite New Zealand caterers, Sarah and Jesse of No Biggie Food. Serving up all things delicious, locally grown and seasonal, they work closely with local farmers and small food artisans to bring their clients the very best produce for their special events…
We know first hand that these two create some of the most beautiful and mouth watering food in the industry. They have also very kindly been sharing a number of their special recipes over on their Instagram throughout Level 4 lockdown (hello salted caramel chocolate brownie) – something you need to go and check out if you haven’t already.
Continue reading below to hear how Sarah and Jesse started No Biggie, some of their food inspirations, their most memorable moments as wedding caterers and for a whole lot of deliciousness.
How long have you been in the event and wedding catering business and what made you take up this career?
Jesse and I started No Biggie Food just over 3 years ago. We had just got back to NZ from working and travelling around France and Italy with big dreams of opening a small restaurant/wine bar – like the ones we’d been frequenting in Paris. We couldn’t find a space to save ourselves. That Summer a few of our mates were getting married and asked us to cater their weddings. We gave it a shot and loved it from the get go. From that first season we were booked solid.
What are some of your most popular styles of wedding food service as well as dishes that you serve at weddings?
The most popular way to eat at the weddings we cater starts with canapes during cocktail hour followed by a sit down family style main meal. The most popular dishes are our melt in yo’ mouth lamb (recipe posted on nobiggie.food IGTV), charcoal grilled chicken – we serve this a bunch of different sauces depending on what’s in season and roast beetroot with labneh, buckwheat and herbs. During Spring we’re always pushing for clients to make the most of the asparagus season – I’m president of it’s fan club. We got married in Spring and I can confirm we ate asparagus for lunch on the day.
What are some of the most memorable times you have had catering at weddings?
I love seeing what the creatives in the industry think up when it comes to designing and styling a space – it’s always so clever and is so varied. A majority of the weddings we cater are located on private properties where everything needs to be packed in. We have a mobile catering kitchen that allows us to cater at far flung locations. This year we set up in the middle of a paddock just outside Hamilton. The team from Topkata set us up a mini catering tipi which was the absolute business. It had been fitted out with sinks that had been plumbed in by the brides dad. We felt extremely looked after by this family and was definitely a highlight of the season.
We have all been affected by COVID-19, now that the dust has settled somewhat, what are you most looking forward to in the future?
Personally, hanging out with our family and friends. The simplest pleasures have become the most missed during the last couple of months.
With No Biggie we’re really looking forward to the next Assemble event taking place in Mt Maunganui in early July. Last year we held the first series of Assemble in Auckland and Tauranga, alongside On My Hand, Tble. Linen, LL Hire and Royal Lab. Assemble is an appointment based pop-up event, where we collectively meet with our potential and booked clients in a styled space. They’ll see the season’s new pieces, view our complete range of hire items and talk practicalities regarding floor plans, what’s in season and how to amplify their wedding. Booked groups will be able to discuss anything and everything with our vendors, play out various ideas using linen, tableware and floral while finalising their choices. If anyone out there is interested in booking send us an email [email protected]
Another exciting event coming we have coming is our annual group tasting. This is where we invite next season’s clients to come along and taste all our food and meet the team. It’s such a great day that we look forward too immensely. We’re planning on holding this at the end of August.
Any advice or messages you can give to couples and vendors who may have had to postpone their weddings and are navigating this current landscape?
Of course it’s been absolutely devastating for our couples who’ve had to postpone their wedding – but they’ve all taken it in their stride and have been so courteous of us and what position we’re in at this time. I’ve said this to our clients already – but when they do get to have their wedding it’s going to be the greatest celebration of family and friendships there ever was.
What are the factors or elements that inspire or influence the food that you create? What inspires you personally?
Our biggest inspiration has always come from produce grown and made locally here in the Bay of Plenty and the characters behind these great little businesses. We’ve built some amazing relationships with small farmers and makers, who have such a unique offering. Passing these goodies onto our clients is our greatest pleasure.
Another big inspiration for us is travelling to eat. Last year we had an incredible trip to Japan – the food was out of this world. We didn’t have one bad meal. And their hospitality is something we’ll never forget. Such a generous culture. We also love popping over to Australia when we can – this is where I grew up. Adelaide is a delicious place to travel to as well as Sydney. My fingers and toes are crossed for the trans Tasman bubble to get off the ground so we can get back there at some stage this year.
Any business dreams or aspirations you would like to share:
Jesse and I are really proud of the business we’ve created, it’s true to our values about what good food should represent. At this time we’re happy sitting in this space and enjoying the life we’ve created. I think sometimes people are always looking for their next big thing to keep them busy – they forget to enjoy the moment and enjoy life. So we’re bucking the trend and getting out into the garden more.