Next to the ceremony, photographer and dress what do we hear about the most at a wedding? The food of course! And when you want delicious seasonal food prepared with enthusiasm for its quality, taste and presentation, then look no further than Trufflepig Catering & Events. Shelley and her team create inspiring food that is sourced locally as much as possible, free range and organic, and always with an eye to stunning flavour combinations – a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. And with their signature vintage caravan in tow, what more can we say but, “Yum – more please”!
How long has Trufflepig been in existence?
Trufflepig was established in the Northern Territory in 2011 as a bit of side project, holding pop-up restaurants and catering for the occasional wedding while trialing different food ideas and concepts ready for the eventual move back to Victoria. In 2013, we made the move back down south, and Trufflepig really came into its own…and has been going from strength to strength ever since!
Beet and Coconut Soup
Great business name – what made you decide on it?
Thanks! Choosing a business name was a long, tricky process! After mulling over many names, Trufflepig popped up and just felt right. Truffles are such a luxury ingredient, yet at the same time, they grow seasonally on farms in rustic settings, and we thought that represented us as caterers perfectly – we create delicious rustic yet elegant food with a focus on seasonal produce.
Where are you based and what area of the State do you cover?
We recently moved from inner city Melbourne to 20 acres in north central Victoria (Kilmore area) with the intention to grow our own produce for the business. We tend to service the Macedon and Daylesford regions, as well as Melbourne however our vintage-van-turned-commercial-kitchen allows us to travel to most areas in Victoria.
How important are sustainable food practices and supporting ethical businesses to your business ethos?
Before returning to hospitality, I worked as an environment scientist for 10 years managing business and government’s environmental footprints, so trying to reducing our own is a natural progression. This extends to sourcing seasonal, sustainable and ethically produced produce. We source as much of our produce locally as we can. Our pork is sourced from McIvor Estate, Tooborac (just down the road) and our other proteins sourced from Hagens Organic Butchers. We use local eggs, and grow our own herbs, with the future intention to expand to our own fruit and veg.
Free range, organic and local produce features in your menus. Does this also mean that you prefer to offer seasonal menus rather than offer ingredients/dishes that are out of season?
Yes, that’s right. Our menu is updated 2-3 times a year to reflect what’s available during that season. This means the flavours are bigger, bolder and more delicious!
Please describe some interesting venues you have catered at?
We’ve catered at all sorts of venues both big and small…client’s houses and backyards, cute little country halls, inner city bowls clubs and suburban theatres. Earlier this year, we took the Trufflepig van and catered a picnic wedding on the Queenscliff foreshore which was such a gorgeous event! In 2016 we’ve got all sorts of weddings at different venues booked in, but in particular can’t wait to cater at the gorgeous Laurens Hall in North Melbourne and a private paddock in Moggs Creek!
We’re lucky with the Trufflepig van (our mobile commercial kitchen)…as long as there’s room to turn around (the van’s a big, old heavy vintage thing!), we can just about cater at any venue, anywhere!
Deconstructed Banoffee Pie
Your Summer menu looks delicious. Can you give us a ‘taste’ of some of your favourite dishes on offer?
Thank you! We love it too, but we are probably a little bias!
I’ve a few of favourite dishes… our bruschetta with fresh fig, grilled gorgonzola & thyme which is drizzled with honey is absolutely delicious. It’s only available for a short window when the figs are fruiting. When we can, we source green figs from our neighbour which to me, are the most perfect fruit – they just sing!
I love our beef carpaccio. We source our beef from Hagens Organic Butcher who uses beef from nearby Creightons Creek – local and organic. The beef is seared on the outside, sliced finely, topped with rocket and shavings of parmigiano reggiano cheese and then drizzled with rosemary oil and sea salt. So tasty, and a winner every time.
Last but not least, I love our roast beetroot soup shooter for a couple of reasons…firstly the flavours of beetroot, lemongrass, lime and coconut blend so well together, especially topped with lime juice, chives and natural yoghurt. But secondly the look on guests faces both when they see the vibrant pink colour of the shooter, and then the look of delight when they drink the soup!
Are bridal couples able to request any style of reception – from sit down dinner to shared platters, cocktail function etc?
Our focus at Trufflepig is on cocktail functions and sit down dinners with shared platters. We offer roving canapes and small bowls, or can set up a grazing table of delicious cheeses, smallgoods, breads, homemade terrines, etc. For entrees and mains, we offer shared platters. For dessert we provide roving small bowl desserts, or platters of small bites. We also offer palate cleansers and tea and coffee stations.
Lamb & Pomy Pizza
What is most popular this season?
Grazing tables and shared platters are definitely the most popular this season, which we love! These options provide a more relaxed feel to the wedding and encourage guests to interact with each other.
On the wedding day, do you provide a chef, and wait and bar staff?
Yes, we provide all staff as required by the client.
Do you require a minimum or have a maximum number of guests you can cater for?
This really depends on the style of the event and the location, so we take it on an event-by-event basis.
What do you require in the way of facilities in order to cater the wedding?
This also depends on the style of the event and the location. If it’s in a paddock, then we’ll bring along our Trufflepig van, but we may need to hire extra kitchen equipment based on guest numbers (i.e. oven, bbq, cool room). We’ll need access to power (i.e. generator) and space to move the van around. The menu also greatly influences what we’ll need in terms of extra kitchen equipment and space.
You have a cute 1950s vintage dentist-turned-kitchen-van. How do you normally use this at weddings?
Our van can be used in all sorts of ways. Sometimes we use it as just the onsite kitchen either on show or not (it does add a talking point to an event!). Other times we use it to serve parts or all of the meal from. Generally our clients have a vision on how they’d like to incorporate the van, and we work with them to make it happen. At a recent wedding, we served roving canapes and then guests were invited to the van to order their ‘meal’ from the menu. A table was set up next to the van with breads, butter, cutlery and serviettes. We then followed mains with roving desserts.
Are bridal couples able to plan with you, their own ideas e.g. serving housemade icecream or donuts from your van for dessert or a midnight snack?
Yes! We love that! Although our menus are on our website, we like to work with our clients to make sure the menu is 100% perfect for them. We recently had a bride and groom from Oregon, USA, who requested some southern inspired dishes. After some menu testing, we added southern fried eggplant with a chili mayo (canapé) and a buttermilk fried chicken with apple slaw (small bowl) to their menu. They loved it and we had a ball creating it!
Chorizo and Calamari Skewers
What do you most love about your chosen career?
There are so many things to love! Catering provides me with a creative outlet while at the same time still requires me to work my brain from a logistics perspective (I’m a nerd…love spreadsheets!). I can apply sustainability principles to my work and I’m constantly meeting new people (clients, suppliers, etc.). 14 hour plus days are likely in the lead up to an event which is exhausting mentally and physically, but feeding 100 guests food you’ve made in a short window of time is absolutely exhilarating! And what an honour contributing to such a special day!
In your downtime, do you search out new food ideas, or do you have other interests you pursue?
If we’re not renovating our cute little 1850s farmhouse, I spend my downtime either in the gym training in Muay Thai kickboxing, playing with our pup or pottering in the garden.
Thank you Shelley for sharing your story. A gorgeous vintage caravan, delicious and imaginative food prepared with love and enthusiasm – all the ingredients for a super feast! To find out more about Trufflepig Catering & Events visit the website.
Headshot by Vanessa Norris Photographer. All other images by Trufflepig Catering & Events.