Summer in the Hamptons has become synonymous with New York’s best beaches, an exquisite dining scene, and upscale shopping destinations. But the season also brings a jam-packed social calendar featuring some of the most coveted and high-profile events. Tents are erected in open fields and waterfront venues become Instagram must-haves.
Behind every great party is a hard-working event planner who spends endless hours striving for perfection. Among them, Simon Sheridan has become a staple for some of the East End’s most exciting happenings.
Here, we chat with the man behind Simon Sheridan Catering about his unique style, inspirations, and event planning tips.
What's the best culinary trend you've noticed lately? Simon Sheridan: Restaurateurs, locals, and vacationers in the Hamptons have finally recognized that food is simply food. Once you know that there are no fundamental differences between making a soffrito, a mire poix based veloute, or a chimichurri, then one’s appreciation of food is forever transformed. Everything becomes homogenized and familiar, less disparate, like a permanent friend.
The slow food movement isn’t anything new. It reintroduces the traditional cooking techniques that were swallowed up when industrial production and convenience foods gained in popularity. Happy people who live well are usually conscientious and responsible, and that includes eating properly.
How do you stand out in a saturated events market? What are some of your personal touches that make your events stand out? SS: Our food stands out because we are painstakingly consistent. Food is a lot like painting and design. When form and color are correctly combined, then a dish is always vibrant and exciting; and in the case of a meal, it will always be delicious ‘sans pareil.’ If we make a mistake, it is addressed instantly. We never, ever cut corners.
How does the local East End community inspire & influence your work? SS: Natural beauty and commitment. The other day I saw a young fawn lying down amidst a brood of wild turkey chicks, it was literally nuzzling them and with no fear on either side. Currently I am obsessed with ospreys. People who live here are mostly committed to preserving the habitat we share. I wish that the same sense of harmony were harnessed and applied globally. Remember what happened when the Sag Harbor cinema was burned down? I think there are enough people here with wherewithal and influence who have a genuine desire to help. They want to get involved personally and I want to be part of that. I love catering galas and benefits and I always donate to worthy charities. That is my contribution.
What is the one thing you tell every bride as she starts planning her wedding? SS: Actually, there are two things I ask a bride. I want to know that she is serious, so I ask “Are you absolutely sure you want to get married or are you just excited to have a wedding?” Once I know her heart is in it for the long haul, I ask if the mother is involved. The caterer should meet the in-laws! An event planner is a huge part of a wedding celebration and the relationship is personal. It is very important to be on the same page. My main job is to relieve the immediate family members of stress.
What's the best party you've ever been to? What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? SS: The best party I ever attended? I’m not sure we can print the details here. Let’s just say it was a joint birthday party for Elton John and Rod Stewart back in the bad, very bad, old days! The best meal? An early morning breakfast with a young lion inside my tent while I was camped in a Nairobi game park. Setting is everything.
Plan your next dinner party, reception or wedding with Simon Sheridan Catering by calling 631.827.6000 or visit simonsheridancatering.com for more information.