Informal cocktail party celebrations are my favourite style of eating and sharing food, and is the style of catering that Sassy Bites specialises in.

ABOUT ME, SAL

Cooking is my north star, my stress-reliever and my favourite way to recharge. And for me, cooking for other people is the greatest privilege. Being able to carefully control the ingredients, cooking method and the way the food is presented and served whilst acknowledging other people’s trust to eat what I have prepared, is such an honour.

I grew up in a typical Aussie family whose get-togethers and reunions always revolved around a big colourful table full of delicious food. I was an active kid and always had a really healthy appetite. After completing a Tourism Management degree, my first three years of full-time work was at a catering company, planning and supervising events at two of Sydney’s favourite restaurants. It was here that I developed a deep appreciation for the importance of food at events, and the joy that preparing good and hearty food at celebrations brings. Soon after, I started Sassy Bites, to put what I had learnt into practise as a fun side-line to my full-time job.

After 40 years of city living, and a big lifestyle reassessment which only a pandemic can bring, my chief taste tester, Ty and our dog, Saffy bought a little piece of country life on the edge of Daylesford in the Victorian central highlands. In addition to the cool, crisp fresh air, sweeping green landscapes and winding country roads, the abundance of fresh, local produce grown in and on the rich volcanic soil is a huge drawcard for us food-loving folk.

I genuinely love the whole catering experience; from designing a menu to fit within the style of your event, your guests and their budget, to taking my time to source the best quality ingredients, to calmly prepping and cooking without stress, and most of all serving at your event. I believe you can taste the mood of the cook in their food, so there’s nothing in my menus that I don’t love cooking.

MY STYLE

Everyone’s taste is deliciously different, and I agree with the poet, William Cowper, who first said that ‘variety is the very spice of life’. So much so that I often struggle to select just one or two items from the menu while I’m out for a meal. Ideally, I’d like a bite of every dish on the menu please. (A million thank-yous to the genius person who invented the degustation menu!)

While there’s something very special and formal about sharing a sit-down meal at a celebration, to champion my passion for variety, informal cocktail party celebrations are my favourite style of eating and sharing food, and is the style of catering that Sassy Bites specialises in.

It is still fashionable for great cooks to spend hours creating the perfect bite-sized manicured morsels that look too good to eat. While I have a great appreciation for this style of impressive canapé catering, I prefer to take a more practical, rustic, hearty approach.

While my style is creative, my menu does not pretend to make any culinary breakthroughs – rather it offers a rich variety of no-fuss, real-food suggestions based on what people love. If there’s something you love that’s not on the menu, let me know and I’ll create a special version for your event.

MY INGREDIENTS

My ingredient choices are in line with my personal preferences when cooking for myself and my friends and family. I choose to cook with fresh, quality, real ingredients sourced from local, ethical suppliers whenever possible. The majority of my fruit, vegetables and herbs are sourced from my garden, local farmers’ markets or organic home-delivery services, depending on availability.

I choose grass-fed meat and butter, and endeavour to source all seafood from sustainably-responsible fish-mongers. Poultry and eggs are from happy, free-range chickens, and I usually prefer to cook with full-fat dairy.

Pantry products are selected based on quality, as minimally processed as possible with minimal refined sugar.

MY APPROACH

I believe food is enjoyed at least three times; firstly the anticipation, secondly the presentation and thirdly, when it hits your taste buds.

Anticipation of food enjoyment is driven mainly by expectations and hunger, and can be quickly heightened by smell. The relevance of our smell is less obvious, but we need it to fully enjoy food, which becomes apparent when we have a cold and cannot taste what we’re eating. Heating or preparing aromatic food at the site of your event will increase the anticipation for your guests.

The importance of presentation, I think is much easier to control. If food is aesthetically pleasing, this helps the other senses start to anticipate an enjoyable experience. My platters and garnishes are tastefully underplayed to emphasise the main event – the food!

I know the great chefs will tell you the secret to why restaurant food taste so good is salt, salt and more salt. However, with our health in mind, I prefer to season my food a little more mindfully – by using cooking methods to enhance the natural flavour of the ingredients, such a slow cooking and reductions, and using other seasoning such as fresh citrus, a variety of good quality vinegars, miso, soy, aminos, seaweed and other natural sources of flavour.

MY RECIPES

I think the joy of food should be shared and that there should be no secret recipes when it comes to food. If you or any of my guests would love to recreate anything from the menu served at your event, just ask! I’d be happy to share my recipes.

I am in the process of adding all my favourite recipes to the MY RECIPES page and when another cook has inspired one of my recipes, credits have been provided. All the photos on this site are of my food, and all the recipes are tried and tested.

I encourage you to share any of my recipes that you like, and if you use my recipe as inspiration for your own, I respectfully request that you also provide credit where credit’s due. Please subscribe below to receive my new recipes via email.

If you try any of my recipes, I’d love for you to post some feedback – good or constructive – it’s all appreciated! If you’ve tasted something of mine that you like and you can’t find the recipe for it on my site, please feel free to contact me to request the recipe – I’m always flattered to be asked and happy to share.