Our Creative Director, Joanna Moody, in conversation

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At Zafferano we’re passionate about our people. In our new series of Q&As we direct the spotlight on those who make the magic happen both behind the scenes and front of house. We kick off this month with our creative director Jo Moody as she talks swanky dinners, elegant simplicity and the London theatre scene.



How has Zafferano developed creatively since its foundations?

Zafferano has always been a hot-bed of creativity and inspiration, we’ve never been a “one size fits all” type of caterer but have always tried to interpret the client’s brief as creatively as possible.

Our first premises was based in a photographer’s studio in über-funky Dalston so we really couldn’t help but be swept along with the whole creative energy of the place.

The main thing I’m pleased to say has changed since our early days is our clients’ visions, briefs and budgets. In the early days juicy briefs were few and far between. These days we’re pitching and winning some real hum-dingers on a weekly basis – we thrive on it.

In the development stages of Zafferano’s events, from where do you take inspiration?

A million different resources… our clients and their briefs obviously, but also the venues, current exhibitions, recent films, new restaurant openings, retail design, theatre design, fashion shows… my teenage daughter’s Instagram account… anywhere and everywhere. Its just about keeping your eyes open and your ears to the ground.

When you are working with a new venue, what is your creative starting point?

It sounds pretty obvious but the venue or the current exhibition. The secret isn’t to try to blend into the surroundings but rather to contrast, stylishly of course! I remember doing a very swanky dinner in the Court Room of the Foundling Museum and spotting a chartreuse yellow dress in one of the paintings – picking that out in the table design suddenly pulled the whole room together. Similarly duck egg blue looks stunning in the Great Gallery of the Wallace Collection… something to do with Titian’s skies.

In your mind, what sets you apart from the competition?

Our people, our passion and our creativity. Our food is pretty good too!

Do you embrace event industry trends or do you fly in the face of new fads?

Bit of both.

We need to be on top of current food and design trends but we don’t slavishly follow.

If it’s not the right fit or right direction for the client or the venue – we’ll leave well alone. Sometimes elegant simplicity wins the day.

What frustrates you most about the industry, are there any practices you would refine?

I’m not sure I can answer that honestly without having to watch my back! A minor gripe – production companies leaving their water bottles and rucksacks everywhere just before guests arrive– they’re worse than my kids!

What’s has been your proudest moment/highlight event in your time at Zafferano?

Picking up a couple of industry awards quite early on in our journey. Personally, I’m also incredibly proud of our strong association with London’s Theatre Scene. We catered the world première of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” back in 2013 and since then have created First Night parties for “Miss Saigon”, “Beautiful” and most recently “Kinky Boots”, as well as anniversary celebrations for 25 Years of Miss Saigon and 30 Years of Les Mis.

We’re also very honoured to work so frequently with Sir Cameron Mackintosh

who is a true foodie and really embraces the importance of a memorable first night party. The dream client!

What do you see as the creative ‘buzzword’ for 2016?

Theming! Yes you heard me right. For a long time clients were terrified of following a particular story for their events for fear of looking pedestrian or suburban. Now conceptual set dressing is the order of the day – we’ve done some really fun parties over the last year with very defined visual stories – The Circus; Funfair: Tunnel of Love; An Homage to Alexander McQueen and even “Breaking Bad”. They are huge fun for both the conceptual caterer, hosts and guests alike and visually very strong.