We’re proud of our reputation as the “go-to” caterer for glitzy West End first night parties, and there was no glitzier opening than the first night of “Hamilton” – the ground breaking musical penned by Lin Manuel Mirander.
It’s fair to say the opening night was not without its challenges. Sir Cameron Mackintosh was keen to showcase his spectacular multi-million pound renovation of the Victoria Palace Theatre and therefore host the party in the Theatre’s beautifully restored foyer, bars and entertaining spaces.
This required the 1000 VVIP guests, including Sadiq Khan, Jodi Whittaker, Zoe Wannamaker, Helena Bonham Carter and Lord Lloyd Webber to temporarily leave the theatre for a quick glass of fizz whilst the formidable Zafferano Operations team leapt into action, setting up no less than 6 food stations and 3 cocktail bars – all in a roller coaster 45 minutes!
In addition to being a legendary impresario, Sir Cameron is a famously generous host and
as the party was only 2 days before Christmas, indulgence was the name of the day.
Taking the show’s subject matter – the American Revolution, as the starting point, we created a menu of North American classics. Canapes included Little Maine lobster rolls with dill pickles and lobster ketchup, Beetroot and whipped goats cheese “Oreos”. Circulated bowls included an unctuous Slow cooked short rib, creamed potato, crispy shallots, tarragon oil and Sir Cameron’s own recipe for a vibrant crab and shrimp cocktail (the secret is the coriander and chilli in the dressing, don’t you know!)
Food stalls included a sumptuous, and festive “Winter Ball Carvery” inspired by one of the scenes in the show and a classic “New York Deli” complete with hand carved salt beef and salmon “lox”.
The star of the night was Buttermilk fried chicken with grilled cornbread, smoky bourbon sauce, and slaw served in authentic American diner style red gingham baskets.
Desserts were indulgent, and inspired directly by the show. Double chocolate whoppie pies were emboldened by a golden “Hamilton” star, and the Schuyler Sister Bonbons were mini chocolate Christmas puddings, delicately tinted in the 3 sisters’ signature colours.
The party was the culmination of several months of planning, numerous site visits, logistical challenges and creative solutions to problems such as feeding 1000 guests a sumptuous and delicious menu in a working theatre, with limited back of house space. Team Zaff rose to the challenge and the first night party was a high octane celebration of the best show in London. As Sir Cameron’s party organiser Sue Uings said
Thank you for being simply magnificent!