Top Food Trends For A Tasty 2019

Chilli Bees' Founder and Director Ellie Short shares her top event food trends for a tasty 2019

Feeding the likes of Cara Delevingne, David Attenborough, Kylie Minogue and Adele is all in a day’s work for top catering company Chilli Bees. Toast.Life chats to Founder and Director Ellie Short to hear how she creates her signature, flavorsome food, and to get her top tips on what’s on the menu in 2019.

There are some of us (myself included), who live from one meal to the next. When I wake up, I think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast. Once I’ve finished breakfast, I start fantasising about lunch, and most of the week is spent contemplating what I might cook up over the weekend. So similarly, with a New Year comes a whole host of delectable eating opportunities, but just what does 2019 hold in store in terms of taste?

“Event food has gone in two different directions” explains Ellie Short, Founder and Director of top catering company Chilli Bees.

“From very high-end molecular style food going for the wow factor, and then back to family roots style catering, which is more relaxed. This focuses on the food and celebrating great seasonal ingredients, and is more personal - and this has always been part of our ethos as a brand”

Chilli Bees Canapes

Chillibees Menu

Chillibees Platter

There is a serious buzz about Chilli Bees - Ellie’s young, talented and driven catering company, which is fast becoming one of London’s most in-demand caterers. Chilli Bees Catering in fact started life in Ellie’s mother’s Wandsworth kitchen over 10 years ago; Ellie’s mother Bumble was a caterer too and so taught her daughter the many tasty tricks of the trade. Ellie quickly discovered her passion for food and dedication to delivering long-lasting memories for her guests and soon, thanks to the power of word of mouth, she was working non-stop; cooking, delivering events, quoting, invoicing, and getting about 3 hours sleep, until 2008, when she decided to put together a team and launch Chilli Bees.

“I am a natural host, who loves a good party – whether it be a dinner or casual get together, and the delight I could see I gave people when presenting them with my food has always given me instant gratification, hence why Chilli Bees and my catering career was born!” she explains.

“We aim to create unpretentious food, that is just simply delicious. I am quite a fussy eater, and so I don’t like ‘surprises’ on my plate – an evening with Heston would terrify me!”

Using only the freshest seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, Chilli Bees is unique in all aspects of their approach; working with each individual client to create an entirely bespoke, tailor-made menu, Ellie and her six-strong team bring passion, energy and excitement to their work and tasty creations. They can cater for anything from big weddings and corporate events to intimate dinners, birthday parties, and more.

“We inject the team’s passion, energy and excitement into all of our work and we’re passionate about reinventing our menus regularly so that we keep things fresh and innovative. More often than not, we'll have repeat guests pop up at different parties, so we want to excite them with the variety of our offering and creative skills” Ellie explains.

“The team are always on the hunt for inspiration by exposing themselves to a variety of different things; whether that be a new art exhibition, food fair, restaurant opening or concert. However, our focus on fresh quality ingredients always remains the same and has meant we've secured a loyal database of clients.”


Chilli Bees Bowl Food

Speaking of clients, Chilli Bees count Coutts, Swarovski, Coca Cola, Barclays, Nike, Jo Malone and Aston Martin among their impressive repertoire. Ellie and her team have fed a variety of influential names in the fashion and entertainment industry including Cara Delevigne, David Attenborough, Kylie Minogue, Lenny Kravitz and Adele, and Ellie has also catered for Nigella Lawson, David Cameron and even the late Baroness Thatcher.

“One of my most memorable experiences to date was back in the early 2000s, when Nigella asked me for all of my dessert recipes!” Ellie beams.

Canepes Chilli Bees

Chilli Bees Canape Tray

Chilli Bees Catering Steak Canapes

And with puddings such as Chocolate Almond Torte with Berries and Crème Fraiche, Elderflower, Champagne and Berry Jelly and Apple and Raspberry Crumble with Hazelnuts and Caramel Custard on the Chilli Bees menu, it’s easy to see why. But when catering for such big names, it must be hard not to feel the pressure…

“I definitely do feel the pressure, but I am a very calm person, so you often won’t see it – only my husband can tell when I’m feeling a little tense under the surface!” Ellie laughs. 

“The best way to cope with it is to remain clam – if you are calm, your staff are calm then the host will also be calm.”

Chilli Bees Dessert

Desserts By Chilli Bees Catering

Chilli Bees Desserts

When it comes to food – it’s obvious why Chilli Bees are in such high demand. Ellie tells me that their most popular dish of last year was a mouth-watering Indian Spiced Lamb dish which they created for a wedding, and in terms of canapés - Mini Kedgeree Cakes and Cauliflower Cheese Spoons were also popular. Wonderfully classic dishes made miniature with an abundance of flavour – genius. Other tempting morsels include ‘Noodle Nests’ of Quails’ Eggs, served with Dipping Salts with Gold Leaf, and Sesame Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Mayo and Pickled Ginger.

“For inspiration I look to Ottolenghi every time. I have all his books and the flavours are what we look to create in all of our dishes – food that really makes an impact on your taste buds when you eat it” Ellie explains.

“When I am entertaining at home, I do a five spiced duck with ginger sweet potato and then delicious sharing salads - the flavours are big, but the ingredients cheap. Duck is also not something that many people serve at home, and so often it’s nice to provide something surprising for my guests. I also love doing a couple of curries with all of the chutneys and breads that people can dive into!”

Chilli Bees Cocktails

With catering experience of up to 20 years within the team, all projects are treated with the same Chilli Bees-style dedication and attention, and that includes presentation. Food presentation is a huge part of the process, and Ellie and her team approach this with the same care, creativity and attention to detail that they do when creating their signature full-flavoured dishes.

“If the food is looking pretty on your plate then it is already singing to your senses – when the food is even more delicious to taste then you have a happy guest” Ellie enthuses.

“This doesn’t mean that you need to have Michelin-starred tiny bits of art in front of you, we like to think more about the style of plate that the food is on and the colours of it – creating a simple but effective result.”

Chilli Bees’ food may be top notch, their presentation second to none, and they may have over 20 years’ worth of experience to boot, but in this competitive day and age these three things alone are not enough to run a successful catering business and maintain such a fantastic reputation.

“You have to be passionate – this industry works around the clock so when most people are going home, you still have another 4-6 hours work ahead of you. The commitment is what will make you a success” Ellie explains. 

“You need to be patient but quick, calm but energetic and without a doubt you need to be very organised and good at juggling! With several events produced on a weekly basis, you need to ensure that each one of your clients is calm, happy and relaxed about their upcoming party – nothing is ever too much trouble.” 

When they’re not busy cooking and keeping clients happy, Ellie and her team are constantly recognising and forecasting future food and drinks trends in order to create new recipes and ensuring that their food is served in a contemporary and delicious way. If you’re looking for tasty inspiration for 2019, then read on for Ellie’s top tips and advice and what she thinks is going to be BIG on the events menu this year.

Ellie's Top Tips For 2019 Event Food Trends 

  • Think big flavours, with simple ingredients – try spicing your chicken breast with ras el hanout (a North African spice mix available in most supermarkets) and serving with toasted fregola and chopped olives – serve simply with a bowl of green beans and toasted almond salad.

  • Comfort food is back in, and will continue to make a big impact in 2019 – think cauliflower cheese with crispy onions and thyme and indulgent pulled lamb shepherds’ pies.

  • Keeping wastage down and being mindful of where your food comes from – using those old vegetable ends to make fresh stocks for delicious heart-warming soups.

  • The farm-to-table concept will continue to grow (a movement which involves serving local food).

  • AI Menus - We recently did an event were Amazon’s Alexa designed the whole evening from the theme to the menu – so artificial intelligence created 3 canapés recipes for us, which on the surface sounded bizarre but in practice were delicious! I think we will see more AI this coming year in creating food recipes, especially for those who are looking for changing their health and diets.

If you’d like to work with Chilli Bees Catering to create something delicious for your next event, you can find more information and contact details on their page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book.  


Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 06 February 2019

  catering, food trends 2019, menu design

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