The countdown for the culinary event of the year has started. From 10-27 September 2015, Pret A Diner is again making a guest appearance in Frankfurt. Taking as its theme “Around the World in 80 Bites”, a stylish street food market will be created on the 25th floor of the Nextower. Founder KP Kofler revealed to us the secrets of how to stage this urban food trend and explained the essentials of creating an unforgettable experience for guests.
Culinary journeys of discovery
It’s a trend you seem to come across everywhere these days. From New York to Amsterdam it draws city-dwelling lovers of food and drink to producers’ markets, festivals and pop-up events at which street food is at the centre of things. And we’re not talking about a hotdog or kebab from a fast-food stall, but quality products that are fresh, regional, handmade and sustainable. “People have a desire to escape from ‘industrialised food’,” says KP Kofler. “Going outside to eat is the simplest and most affordable way of taking a ‘break from the daily routine’. This year we are presenting a mix of street food market and restaurant. We want to combine the best of both worlds. This sort of combination is going to give rise to plenty of trends in the coming years. The world is large and offers lots of potential for discovery.”
On a high
This ‘discovery potential’ and the diversity of street food creations across the globe underscores the theme of ‘Around the World in 80 Bites’. And the fact that the temporary high-level event is being held on the 25th floor of the Frankfurt Nextower, shows not only that this food trend raises simple everyday foods to a higher level of quality, but also that it offers great career opportunities for newcomers. It comes as no surprise that street food entrepreneurs have been asked to apply to take part in the most elevated market place in Germany. The winners will present their creations and gastro concepts at their own food stands: “For us Pret A Diner is a sort of ‘laboratory’ in which we can try out new things that we later put into practice in catering. For us Frankfurt is a world premiere with this new concept. We are also planning to integrate food entrepreneurs in future in our catering events.”
The event as work of art
The Pret A Diner ‘collections’ have enjoyed worldwide success for over ten years. Even style icon Madonna was a guest at a premiere in the Old Vic Tunnels in London. The term ‘collection’ probably best defines what the creators are trying to achieve with their pop-up dining events, i.e. the entire staging of a theme – from the food and the entertainment programme down to the smallest decorative detail. Whether they’re preparing a dinner in the Chancellor’s Office in Berlin or the catering for the Football World Cup – Kofler and his team know how to present a steak or cocktail so that the plate or glass are just as exciting as the flavour and textures. ‘Satisfying all senses’ is what they are about.
So when they wanted to do street food in Frankfurt am Main, they decided to raise the street high up into one of the metropolis’s many skyscrapers. There’s everything you’d expect to find here, including Euro-pallets, graffiti art, vintage rugs, charming flower, fruit and vegetable arrangements, high tables made from old barrels, seats with colourful blow-up mattresses – and of course street musicians, live DJs, magicians and other artistic performers from the street. And as the aim is to create simple street food characterised by quality and refinement, they have opted for the simplicity of to-go packaging from the street kiosk combined with modern healthy food and drink creations presented innovatively and imaginatively. The crunchy quinoa salad from Peru comes in little bamboo bowls, the freshly baked waffles with black lentils and bean shoots on a simple board of natural wood, tapas, relishes, dips, spices and sauces radiate colour from ceramic or porcelain bowls in modern purist or playful designs. Every drink, too, comes in its own special container – the ornamented glass for homemade lemonade, the heavy whisky tumbler for the sparkly refreshing drink garnished with cucumber, or a transparent version of the plastic drinks pouch that we’re familiar with from our school days in which a gin cocktail is served – including a floating rubber duck to take away as a souvenir. So, the more you drink, the more ducks you’ll be able to have swimming at home in the bath!
Instead of going for traditional table settings, Kofler has selected a seemingly confused mix of plates, bowls, boards and cutlery etc. that effectively demonstrates the diverse ways in which food and drink can be presented. And to return to the subject of souvenirs, colourful accessories such as crucifixes and Madonna statues superhero comic figures and other toys, trendy spice jars and spirits from all over the world, empty wine glasses, kitschy Chinese lanterns, antique suitcases and all sorts of other bric-a-brac complete the look that is possibly best defined as ‘Modern street food meets retro and vintage trend’. A culinary-decorative symbiosis. Does this all seem a bit chaotic and wild? Certainly! The street lifestyle with its colourful confusion of passers-by, shops and signs is reflected with artistic style, and the accessories from all over the world underline the multicultural character of the presentation.
The world as trend barometer
“Food and drink are the two most important things that make for a successful evening. This is the ‘compulsory element’. The ‘freestyle element’ consists of the design, ambience, small details and, of course, the right guests”, states event expert KP Kofler as he explains that he and his creative team constantly have their eyes open for new ideas and exciting designs at trade fairs and events across the world. When they are travelling, they are also on the lookout for cross-genre and cross-cultural inspirations from magazines, newspapers and books: “Collections are always future-oriented, they give indications of upcoming trends, they serve as a guide for customers – it’s the same in the food sector as it is in fashion. As a pioneer in the catering sector, we initially developed Pret A Diner as a food collection and then went on to make it into what it is now: a trendy event showplace that is now seen as a hotspot, an exclusive event that you have to attend in order to be part of it.” Last but not least, the location for the event plays an important role and this time it couldn’t be more appropriate to the theme of ‘Around the World in 80 Bites’”, says catering expert Kofler. “Frankfurt is without doubt the most international German city and therefore ideally suitable for such a project, particularly if it takes place in a spectacular location such as the Nextower with its outstanding views of the city. There is only one place in Germany with such a skyline.”
Have we whetted your appetite for a tour of the world’s street food way up above the rooftops in Frankfurt? If so, you can obtain your ‘passport’ for Pret A Diner by clicking the following link: