Reinventing the (Cheese) Wheel: Pinch are the Boldest Caterers on the Block

Meet Pinch Food Design, the company setting out to make event catering a design experience.

TJ Girard and Bob Spiegel their creative culinary engineering / by Will Anderson

TJ Girard and Bob Spiegel their creative culinary engineering / by Will Anderson

ELISABETH JOHS: Tell us a little bit about how Pinch food design uses fun to reimagine catering?

CARLY KATZ-HACKMAN OF PINCH: We want to provide guests with an experience they never knew they could have at an event. Whether that means floating food in on a tray suspended by balloons or asking guests to actually participate in the creation of their plates via one of our courses, our goal is to have surprise and delight around every culinary corner.


EJ: What is the most crucial part a client should consider when choosing a menu for an event? 

CKH: Short answer: balance. Long answer: we offer guidance to clients once they’ve flagged their favorite menu items, steering them toward a selection that’s well rounded in terms of category (graze, swim, fly, grow), texture (crispy, creamy, crumbly), flavor (spicy, savory, sweet), and even the feeling they evoke (comfort, decadence, lightness). We also advise that there be something for every dietary restriction so that no one feels left out!


EJ: How do you accommodate food restrictions of your guests and peoples requirements? 

CKH: As I mentioned previously, we always recommend that the menu for all guests includes something for each restriction, but we’ll of course always provide alternatives should they be required!


EJ: What is Pinch working on for Fall?

CKH: Our studio is always abuzz with the “what’s next” of food and design, and of course how they can work together. Pinch’s co-founders and owners, Chef Bob Spiegel and Creative Director TJ Girard, want to keep pushing the envelope with every season and Fall, 2019 has been no different! 

We’ve been experimenting with and inspired by the subtle vibrancy of monochrome and how it can make food appear almost too pretty to eat. Using vegetable reductions as the “paint,” plates are popping with vivid and edible colors playing backdrop to mouth watering ingredients in the same color family.

On the sweeter side of things, mirror glazes are basically perfect in the age of selfies – you can literally see yourself in your dessert!


EJ: What do you believe will be the next big food trend?

CKH: I definitely think that things are trending toward sustainable in really fun and interesting ways. It’s only a matter of time before plates become edible and dissolvable packaging technology makes its way over to flatware! We can’t wait to be a part of this revolution.


EJ: You offer designed serving products as well made in house - why did you decide to diversify like that and will you be expanding that side of your business given the experiential dining market is shifting/growing?

TJ GIRARD, CREATIVE DIRECTOR + COFOUNDER OF PINCH: By designing our own service wear, we are able to truly control the food design experience for our clients and their guests. What we create is not available over the counter, or off the shelf. We do sometimes purchase vessels and platters from other designers we love and respect – almost like a hiphop sampling! – but after adding our touches, or using them in an unforeseen way (perhaps we literally turn things upside down?!), we always manage to create an original work.

We’ve been asked several times to design a product line, and though tempting, I think our talent and interest lies in how our design dances with our  food. But like you said, as the market for experiential dining grows, maybe so will our business model!

Elisabeth JohsComment