Expert Interview - Ed Thomson
A couple of months ago we were lucky enough to be featured on Polka Dot Bride’s “What Would They Know” blog. Polka Dot Bride have been a great supporter of EDFD over the years, we are so appreciative! Full article can be found here, or please read below.
“We live and love food.”
Melbourne’s renowned catering company, Ed Dixon Food Design is more than a culinary experience. With a team of passionate, personable and fun event enthusiasts, each event is elevated to be a creative and vibrant experience for their clients. Their commitment is to the design of all event elements; including venue sourcing, furniture, floral and decor styling as well as using locally grown, seasonal and ethically sourced produce to create delectable menus.
Ed Dixon Food Design is proudly supported by many of Melbourne, and Victoria’s top restaurant and event venues. Their business is built on strong relationships, working with great people, energetic staff, committed suppliers and giving their clients an event experience unlike any other. The team at Ed Dixon Food Design are passionate, energetic professionals who work closely with clients to create memorable events, big and small.
With fourteen years’ experience Ed Dixon Food Design caters daily for weddings, as well as corporate events and gala dinners. In every way Ed Dixon Food Design encourages food as a celebration. Their passion for food is celebrated with use of the best, ethically sourced ingredients, seasonal menus and a simple fresh food philosophy.
How long has Ed Dixon Food Design been in existence?
Ed Dixon Food Design was founded by Ed Thomson in 2001.
Did Ed Dixon Food Design start as a catering business to which you added styling and event management, or have you always offered the ‘whole package’?
Event management is integral to the successful running of any event & has always been on offer by the team at Ed Dixon Food Design.
Ed was previously an Interior Designer, when the business was founded; so design and styling were paramount to the package. A strong design concept is paramount through all event aspects: styling, menu design, furniture hire, floral, beverage selection, cocktail design, AV & lighting.
How many venues are you the preferred caterer for?
EDFD has a portfolio of approximately 40 venues that they work with, along with clients approaching them with their own homes and spaces. The EDFD venue portfolio is constantly evolving as new spaces come available. A perfect example of this is Lauren’s Hall in North Melbourne. This venue was discovered by a friend of Ed’s when looking for a table. Ed loved it and convinced the furniture makers to allow weddings and events to take place in their amazing space. Now it is a full time venue available for hire…..
Please describe some of the diverse venues you are linked to?
The range of their venues reflects the diversity of their clients. EDFD offers the complete package for weddings yet they are not a reception centre. Every wedding is unique and brides come to them for this reason. Their venues range from country properties, city art galleries, theatre spaces to photography studios.
Often couples choose the venue before the food aspect of the wedding. However, if choosing your services first, are you then able to guide couples to venues that most suit their style?
Most brides do select the venue first, yet for many brides food is the integral component of the wedding. Many clients approach EDFD first and have a lengthy discussion about menu concept and timing. They will then ask for this menu to be quoted in three venues so they can make a decision.
Please detail the other services you offer to the bridal couple? Are you able to organize the whole wedding for a couple?
EDFD can offer a complete service for all brides, this can include:
- venue sourcing
- wedding concept & design
- marquee hire
- furniture hire
- Audio visual & lighting
- styling & decor
- photography, celebrants,
- and of course: specialty food & beverage supply & service.
After nearly 15 years in the business, EDFD have many trusted suppliers. Brides have the choice for EDFD to offer full event management or we are happy to let brides co-ordinate some aspects themselves.
Do you feel you are known for a floral and decor ‘style’ when styling the event? How would you describe your style and what elements do you use to achieve this?
EDFD are known for beautiful decor and floral at their events. This is due to their incredible suppliers who assist them to ensure their client’s vision is realised. The aim of each wedding concept is to have a design which is reflective of the personality of the bride and groom. The style of each wedding is unique due to this factor.
Pinterest is a fantastic tool for brides and grooms. The team at EDFD encourage their clients to build a wedding page with images that they love.
Are you able to advise on marquee hire?
EDFD have worked with many country, peninsula and city marquee hire companies. They are able to arrange the best pricing and know all the essentials that are also required. This can include specialty lighting, flooring, kitchen marquee as well as cool room and generator hire.
Do you offer couples new concepts and ideas on what suits their chosen venue, or are there no ‘rules’?
The design team at EDFD are always on the hunt for new concepts and food service trends. They are mainly influenced through their own travels, social media and eating out every opportunity they can. They are always enthusiastic to replicate these experiences into events.
One of the company policies with weddings is that there are no ‘rules’. These days speeches do not need to be in a particular order, bridal dances can be at the beginning of the reception, cakes can be cut on arrival and most of all the venue selection and menu can be anything the bride and groom desire. It is the job of the EDFD event managers to turn a vision to reality. They endeavour to make the wedding ceremony and reception an amazing experience. If this means lugging tubs if champagne to an isolated beach or setting up tipis in the bush, the team are up for the challenge.
What are some great (food and styling) ideas you’ve implemented over the years?
Over the years some of our favourite food and styling ideas are:
- The theatre space, fortyfivedownstairs launched the concept of ‘hanging’ floral. Most of the weddings at this venue incorporate a hanging floral which is so very dramatic.
- Many weddings have a relaxed theme which is suited to their ‘rotisserie menu’ a whole roasted lamb or pork adds a sense of occasion and fun. The meat is incredibly delicious slowed roasted over hot coals and served with beautiful salads, crispy lemon & garlic smashed potatoes and delicious dressings.
- Cocktail style weddings should not mean going to ‘that place’ for a burger on the way home. For every cocktail wedding EDFD is known for their grazing tables. The concept is that guests can help themselves to food at any time during the event as well as being served a variety of canapés and little bowls and mini dishes. A well fed guest is the goal here! The table is set up in either a rustic or modern style and is available from the minute guests arrive at a reception. Their signature food for grazing tables are whole sticky glazed hams with mustards, relishes, artisan breads along with gooey 3 kilo French bries, amazing blue cheeses drizzled with honey, grilled seasonal vegies, shucked oysters, prawns loads of lemon wedges…the list is endless.
- With many modern restaurants offering a shared table experience this translates in events into the shared menu. Brides & Grooms love to see all their families and friends passing platters, sharing and enjoying lots of delicious treats.
- The hiring companies have really lifted their game and there are now incredible options of furniture to hire. Brides and grooms style up their wedding to echo their home decor or dream home!
- We love natural timbers and the whole ‘Scandi Chic’ trend. The use of timber works so well with many of our venues due to the brick or warehouse interiors. Neutral fabrics such as natural linens and a more subtle palette ensure that the floral has a massive impact.
What sorts of menus do you offer?
There are many menus which are appropriate for weddings.
- Chef’s menu: A chance to show off! This menu offers a delicious and creative dining experience with an emphasis on style, flavour (of course) and a nod to current food trends. The chef’s menu will bring a sophisticated edge to your event.
- Bistro menu: For more relaxed occasions, where the emphasis is on good wine and conversation as much as good food, the bistro menu provides simple and delicious menu options. Presentation and flavour are still paramount!
- Shared table: An informal, relaxed & interactive way to eat – this menu consists of beautifully presented platters of food designed specifically for guests to share.
- Cocktail style menu: a range of canapés, grazing table, mini dishes, supper bowls as well as little dessert canapés.
Do you have philosophies about the food you serve?
In every way the EDFD team encourages food as a celebration. Their passion for food is celebrated with use of the best, ethically sourced ingredients, seasonal menus and a simple fresh food philosophy.
What are some great food discoveries you’ve made in the last 12 months?
EDFD embraces new food and styles of service, yet the classic always stays stylish and chic.
- Classic barbecued prawns served with a classic tartare sauce and lemon cheeks as well as vitello tonnato.
- Korean ingredients add incredible flavour, the chefs are serving sliders with a kimchi slaw, a Korean version of southern fried chicken translates into: ‘crispy rice cracker chicken with siracha mayo’.
- Ancient grains are a plenty with delicious salads, Ottolenghi inspired.
- Tofu has become a star ingredient on the EDFD menus of late, not just a vegetarian option: Peanut tofu momofuku bun, coconut sambal & cucumber salad.
- Charcoal is an ingredient they could have never had imagined being on trend: confit heirloom tomato, smoked goat’s cheese, black olive salt & charcoal wafer.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer to brides and grooms?
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, a great venue, awesome food, cold bubbles, great music, what else do you need?
- Long dress by day, party dress by night!
- Trust the professionals; they are there to help and guide.
- Get seating plans, table layouts, speeches etc written and confirmed a few weeks prior. You don’t need to be doing these stressful things the day before your big day.
- The week prior to a wedding is for relaxing and celebrating.
How do you and the team celebrate milestones?
The EDFD team celebrate milestones doing what they love best! Eating, drinking and dancing. They celebrate their staff Christmas party every January in their down time. The team are always on the hunt for Melbourne’s hottest new culinary experiences and venue spaces, opting for after work get togethers regularly!
Thank you Ed for sharing your culinary and styling thoughts with us. What gorgeous ideas and venues to consider!