FEDERICA SALZA AND THE ART OF BANQUETING
MEET FEDERICA SALZA
Salza Cartering Owner
Federica, together with her father Federico and her sister Virginia, is the owner of Salza Catering, an Italian excellence leader in the luxury catering sector.
A CONVERSATION WITH FEDERICA SAlZA
From chocolate to refined catering at the turn of 3 centuries! Tell us a bit about the history of Salza Catering.
It all started in 1898 when my grandfather founded the company in Turin, an esteemed pastry shop and chocolaterie. In the 20s the company moved to Tuscany, where my family brought the “bon ton” all the way from Piemonte. It was in Pisa that my family’s dedication and skill aroused interest and our meticulous attention to detail fast became one of our most distinctive qualities.
Thanks to my father Federico, the business took off and we became leaders in the luxury catering sector all over Italy. For years now, my sister Virginia and I have been dedicating ourselves to our business with the same love and passion that has always run in our family.
What prompted you to join the family business?
I have always regarded the company as my second home. The place where I spent a good deal of time with my grandfather who eagerly passed on his passion of customer service and his enthusiasm when taking care of his clients, indulging even those with the most ludicrous requests.
My father then was the one who made me discover the magic, the fun and the excitement that lie behind the process of creating something extraordinary.
But by then I had made my own plans and I concentrated on my studies. Nonetheless, when it was time to choose, the pride of being my grandfather’s granddaughter and my father’s daughter, both highly regarded as “artists” in their field, was hard to ignore. I knew in joining the business I was making the right choice.
5-star (plus) clientele
What is your target?
Our target has risen a lot over the years! We are specialized exclusively in luxury events, those held by great entrepreneurs and even royal families, important global brands, and overall a very international clientele.
My father, my sister Virginia and I personally take care of the relationship with our clients. We endeavor to select only the events which allow us to have the maximum control over all aspects in order to guarantee the highest level of quality in our service.
In the last 10 years a lot of international service companies and wedding planners have taken hold and have grown. We constantly work with them on spectacular projects in terms of scenography and entertainment.
the menu is important but this alone is not enough
Are seasonality and location reflected in your menus?
Seasonality is very important to us. We always try to introduce seasonal produce in our menus as well as the local products of the territory. We strive to respect a logical thread. Everything is designed so that the menu is consistent with the place where we are based. The Italian cuisine does helps us a lot in this, being incredibly vast and genuine and allows us to create excellent dishes in total simplicity.
Large events do not require overly complex dishes, so quality and product research are key.
How important is a good menu and a good set-up for the success of an event?
In an event, every tiny element is important and has the ability to be a game changer.
First and foremost, the menu must be of quality and the presentation of the dishes beautiful and elegant. Even the plate itself needs to be the right one, in line with the context of the event and the food being served. Same for the linens.
The main centerpiece is a focal point and great care must be given to render it as such and of course coordinate it with everything else. Then there are other elements such as light, music, a comfortable seat…the list goes on. The service must also be impeccable. We take great care to select dedicated maîtres and waiters from all over Italy. Our clients are used to a 5 star luxury service and this is what we strive to give them.
IT’S a KIND OF MAGIC
What would you say is the most memorable project you have ever worked on?
Many! Way too many! I remember at least a couple of incredible events we organized in Venice. One was for a very famous couple, he’s an important business man and she’s an actress! It was quite surreal to see so many Hollywood stars on the guest list! The event was wonderful because it took place in the Customs Museum and the Fenice Theater, such a magical place!
Another event I vividly remember, also set in Venice, was for a very famous and beloved actor and his gorgeous bride. So beautifully elegant but simple at the same time. To be honest, the groom was obviously one of the reasons why this event is truly memorable and a firm favourite of mine!
But there have also been many others, even of less famous people. The beauty in creating such events is that they all tend to be different and unique.
take note! advices are coming
Any tips on how to host the perfect dinner party?
First of all put guest’s coats and jackets away when they arrive and have a suitable place to store them! This is one detail that is often neglected but which I find crucial when receiving guests. I find that this very simple welcoming gesture puts your guests at ease straightaway.
Before proceeding to the table, make sure to have a small aperitif in the living room. Something simple but delicious before making your way to the main table, possibly in a different area altogether.
I always prefer menus that are not too heavy but at the same time complete.
I really like to propose an entre’ served in the consume cup. There are some very nice soups out there depending on the season’s availability and I find that they always add a touch of sophistication to every menu.
Follow that by one or two main courses, also depending on the type of cuisine being offered. Finally finish up with a good dessert!
When hosting, I make a point not to spend too much time in the kitchen in order to dedicate my time to my guests. I find it crucial to choose a menu where most of the dishes are almost ready and can be served in no time at all!
Of course, if you’re having an informal dinner between friends nothing is more fun that involving them in the preparation!
Suggestions for a flawless table setting?
The right cutlery placed in the right position is crucial for a good table setting. It should all be precise and well aligned. Possibly with crystal glasses and linen napkins.. Remember always linen napkins, no compromise!