Grazing. No, it’s not just a term restricted to livestock and grassy fields. Nor does it refer exclusively to the green stuff we line our salad bowls with. Grazing has been increasingly used in the domain of gastronomy to refer to eating small portions of food from a platter or table-full of different foods. Think of it as being able to cherry-pick (excuse the farming pun) what you want from a smorgasbord of selections. This culinary trend has been gaining traction in Australia but has yet to set its roots down in our little red dot.
Lush Platters is looking to change that with their luxury platters, styled boxes and lavish grazing tables. Founded just this year, they throw that average, dull cheeseboard out the window and replace it with premium fresh produce and delightful accompaniments. Abundance is the key word here. There is quality and lots of it. Their platter or table options are a great centrepiece for any event, from weddings and birthdays to corporate functions. Be it purposefully installed or just casually placed on any table or counter-top, their pieces are as much an edible art installation as a food station. We envision many Instagram posts depicting Lush Platters’ creations in the near future.
Wynona Leach is the founder of Lush Platters. A professional cake artist and stylist by trade, she has her fair share of entrepreneurial experience as well. Her work has been featured in various magazines, books and websites around the world. Prior to this, Wynona spent nearly a decade working in the fast paced world of Advertising and Media. She started her career in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, where she created Ivy Designs, a handmade children’s fashion label. Upon moving to Singapore in 2011 with her family, she founded Red Carousel, an online party supplies store, which also offered fondant cakes, dessert tables and cake decorating classes. She subsequently founded Lush Platters in January 2018. “My passion is ultimately to bring joy into people’s lives and there is no better way than sharing and mingling over a table full of delicious morsels presented beautifully,” she says. We find out more about her starting Lush Platters:
What inspired you to start Lush Platters?
Leach: Lush Platters is my third business. With each business, I follow my creative aspirations, my heart and often my stomach! I’ve always loved savoury foods and in particular could never resist a cheese platter. I am a professional cake decorator and dessert table stylist so this is just a natural progression of my passion and interests. I entertain often, so I get to try out new ideas on my unsuspecting guests. Grazing spreads so happened to be one of those ideas that people loved and it encouraged me to turn it into a business. I feel the Singapore market is ready for something different and exciting.
Tell us more about the team. How do you guys at Lush Platters make this concept work?
Leach: Similar to my last business Red Carousel, the day to day running of the business involved mostly just me. When it comes to bigger events, however, I pull together my team of professionals (stylists, photographers etc) and part time staff. I am in constant consultation with professionals in the industry for advice and assistance on various aspects of the business. This is working for Lush Platters at the moment and as we grow, the resource requirements will change accordingly.
A lot of effort must go into making these gorgeous platters and grazing tables. What are the important things you watch out for when assembling these creations?
Leach: Firstly we source the freshest produce we can get. This means we take advance bookings and plan our orders from suppliers accordingly, to ensure freshness and little wastage. Secondly, food handling, hygiene and storage is a big consideration. We have processes in place to make sure all ingredients are clean and stored properly, including when it’s being transported and set up at the venue. We also have concise lists of must-haves in each platter for consistency and variety. Then there is the styling, everything needs to be elegant and inviting.
Where does Lush Platters source its ingredients from?
Leach: We work with local boutique businesses to source premium produce, mainly from Europe and Australia. Our fresh food vendors for cheese, meat and pantry items deal direct with farms to ensure quality and freshness. We are hoping to bring in more Australian cheese and produce in the near future, a buying trip beckons. We love to use local suppliers too, for our example our edible flowers and herbs are grown right here in Singapore.
There is already a “grazing” sensation in Australia. Why do you think Singaporeans will take to this idea?
Leach: Food, health and entertaining trends coming out of Australia and Europe have gained much popularity in Singapore, thanks to the likes of social media (excuse the pun). Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have allowed Singaporeans to keep abreast with emerging trends from around the world, without having to leave the country. There is definitely an interest in healthier food options, especially when it comes to entertaining. We all know that people in Singapore love their food; they love variety, they like to share food, and they enjoy entertaining. Lush Platters offers a fuss-free way to bring all this together and to try something new, not offered in Singapore before.
You guys offer quite a bit of board, boxes and even grazing table options on Lush Platters; how should one go about deciding which offering to go for?
Leach: It depends on the occasion, venue and number of guests. For example, the eco friendly boxes and palm leaf platters are great for picnics, casual poolside parties and gifts. The signature wooden boards are suitable for smaller events and great to complement more substantial food at larger parties. The boards are delivered ready made, so there’s no set up constraints. The grazing tables are intended for parties with a minimum of 20 guests and we can cater for up to 70+ guests. Great for all kinds of celebrations and corporate events. Ideally a grazing table requires a shady or indoor venue.
What is your favourite from the Lush Platters line-up?
Leach: Well that’s like asking a mum to choose her favourite child *laughs*! But I guess I love the grazing tables the most as this is where we get to showcase all we have on offer in terms of food and styling. It creates a really fun buzz and atmosphere for events. Guests are always blown away by what they see and can’t wait to dig in!
You’ve built up quite a portfolio over these years. What’s that secret behind your drive and creativity?
Leach: I’ve always been self motivated, I just love getting things done! I’m driven by a strong work ethic passed down to me by my parents, both of whom are very independent and had their own businesses. Now, my kids and husband inspire me to work hard. I want to be a good role model for them and to support my family. I’m very passionate about creativity in many forms but particularly anything that is hands on. There’s no better feeling than making something from scratch, including a business!