By Daniela Degrassi
This week I am beyond excited to share a special interview with Anthea Amore, Founder (with her husband Caspar) of vegan Organic Passion Catering. I’ve started following Anthea’s business page on Instagram since The Kind Bride’s first days. Organic Passion’s feed was just too mouth watering not to reach out to her! I am so honored she was happy to answer my questions around vegan wedding catering. And since Anthea was so generous on sharing so many details, let’s dive right into it!
I’ve been vegan about 27 years now and absolutely love it. I fell into catering about 15 years ago when someone asked if I’d cater for her week long dance retreat. I was already managing a mostly vegan cafe at the time, cooking, but this was something else. It really grew from there! I discovered I loved creating food for people who were on a retreat and were trying in someway to delve into a spiritual practice, or a yoga or dance practice. I loved sharing my food in such an intimate way. Over a week you really get to connect with people and show them how amazing vegan food is, on their body and on their overall well-being. Catering for functions, parties and weddings really evolved from there.
I think many brides and grooms are concerned about fussy family or friends not enjoying the food. But I’ve come to realize through catering for weddings over the years that people from all walks of life absolutely love the food we create. They arrive with a pre-conceived (and often limited) view of what vegan food is, having never really tried good vegan food. So when they do they are so pleasantly surprised to find they really enjoyed it. I now feel very confident and am able to reassure our brides and grooms that this is the case and we’ll win them over no worries!
I am sure brides are curious to know, how does a vegan wedding catering consultation work?
When a couple first enquire about our catering services, the first thing I do is ask them what style of food they would like to serve: for example, canapes + buffet, cocktail style roving canapes, shared plates + buffet, picnic style luncheon, sit-down full table service, canapes + banquet or whatever takes their fancy.
It’s pretty simple really. Then once we have a menu we can go into all the logistics. We help our couples out with everything that is required and food related. From staffing, to hiring tableware, styling, bar staff and kit, menu boards or menu cards for the tables and so on.
You must have lots of stories of non-vegan wedding guests being surprised of how good vegan food can taste. Can you share some of your favorite episodes?
Other than the couple actually loving the food, the non-vegan guests are our next priority! We have had so many verbal testimonials over the years!A cousin of one of our couples hassled them for 6 months in the lead up to the wedding about vegan food, to the point of very annoying! On the night after the main food had been served, he came up to us saying he was a big meat eater and that he was totally surprised that the food was that good he’d had six helpings! He said in a state of shock and wonder, ‘I’ve never had six helping of anything before!’ He continued to rave to us for about 20 minutes about the food and what he loved about it.
A father of one of our brides was very distant during the wedding celebrations until the food came out, he came up to us at the end and said ‘The was the best food I’d ever eaten!’, almost with a tear in his eye. He went on to explain how he was dreading the food of his daughters wedding. And that he was ‘bowled over by how incredibly tasting and imaginative it was’. He never thought he would ever enjoy vegan food and now he felt he was more open to vegan food and would be more adventurous when eating out!
Another great story to tell was when I’d just finished the food service at a wedding and my staff were in the final clean up, I went out side to take a breather and ended up sitting with some guests and one of the girls turned to say to me (thinking I was a guest and not the cook) ‘Crazy how the bride and groom teased us that the food was going to be all vegan, and then it didn’t even end up being vegan!’. All her friends around us laughed and said ‘We’ve been trying to tell her all night that it was vegan but she won’t believe us! Some of them knew I was the cook and said ‘This is the cook who cooked the food!’ They turned to me and said ‘Tell her was all vegan she won’t believe us!’. So I said it was and she said ‘But those crispy spring rolls tasted like meat and what about the meat balls, surely they were made from meat?’ She went through all the canapés and then all the mains, she just couldn’t believe it was all vegan and all so delicious!
Another father of the Bride who’d paid for the wedding and was very dubious about the food in every aspect, was there going to be enough? was it going to be tasty enough? ‘We need lots of different options in case someone doesn’t like something’ he stated, a classic Aussie meat and three veggie type. He came up to us after the canapés and said ‘Wow! that was all bloody beautiful!’ ‘That was amazing, I can’t believe it how tasty it was!’. And went on and on about each canapé and the self-service taco station. ‘ Best taco I’ve ever had’ he exclaimed! Then after the mains he came up to the kitchen again. ‘I’ve had three helpings and I’m so full but I just want to eat more! The food is incredible, I’m so impressed!’. He emailed me a few days later and requested one of the recipes of his favorite dish as he loved to cook and was a foodie himself!
Anthea, finally, what area do you serve, so those local vegan brides can get in touch with you?
We do travel all over the place (interstate in Australia) as there aren’t that many vegan, organic caterers around who do what we do. We want to support vegan couples to have the wedding they want and the food they love and who are passionate about vegan food like we are. We want to support them to embrace the challenge to show their friends and families just how incredible vegan food can be!
Having been cooking vegan food professionally for over twenty years now, we have gained a lot of experienced in vegan cooking, we offer a professional, yet friendly service, have a great team and are totally passionate vegans ourselves, who have a very personal life-purpose agenda to show people the amazing variety and deliciousness that is vegan food!
How awesome is Anthea? Aren’t Australia vegan brides the luckiest? It may as well be worth planning an Australian Destination Wedding to taste Organic Passion’s food! Oh, and fear not, Anthea’s team won’t leave you without a stunning and yummy vegan wedding cake to cut on your special day!
And if Australia is a bit too far for you, you can still enjoy Anthea’s gourmet recipes as she is also the author of two successful vegan cook books. Her first cookbook PASSION organic vegan recipes to live for is an Australian best seller and her second cookbook HUNGRY for more crazy good food is fast on it’s way to being a best seller too! You can purchase a copy via her website.
A feminist and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California where she lived for 15 years before moving back to her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.