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Vicky Crease: Founder and CEO, Vicky Crease Catering & Events (South Africa, USA)

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Vicky Crease lives a life imbued with creativity and passion for global fashion, architecture, art, business, and contemporary design. Her expertise and flair for events that has culminated in several International Catering Excellence awards – more than any other caterer on the African continent

Vicky, your expertise, and flair for events has culminated in several International Catering Excellence awards – more than any other caterer on the African continent. Take us back to the beginning, how did it all start?
“I had just gotten started in the industry when I attended the International Caterers Association conference in the United States for the first time, and as I looked through the entries, I thought to myself, ‘We should enter our company since our work is fantastic.’ The work we produce is of the highest calibre, and we were doing things that were incredibly innovative. I believe that this was possible because in South Africa, we had fewer options for the kinds of ingredients we needed to make our food or the kinds of décor we needed to create an out-of-this-world event. When I wanted to do something special for our clients, I would go out and source it.

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“As a result, we were recognised for our work among the best caterers and event planners in South Africa and received two awards in the United States of America within a single year. It was exotic and quite thrilling when I first appeared on the scene, and ever since we have started entering the awards, the response has been tremendous.”

As market leaders, you have had the privilege of designing and producing events for some of the most prominent global personalities. What is your approach to setting the perfect table for a high-profile celebrity guest?
“When it comes to events, emotion matters. It revolves around an encounter. We don’t provide food, flowers, or décor for sale. We sell experiences. That has been immensely satisfying for me because, at the end of the day, no matter how hard I try to convey a concept, it must ultimately be about the client–the person being celebrated–and the brand. The most crucial factor is that.

“I devote a lot of time to the client I am working for and the brand I represent. I thoroughly investigate brands and find out what my customers are interested in–whether they like to travel to romantic locales, are sports enthusiasts, or are city or country folk, for example. I assume that position and make every effort to comprehend their requirements.

“It has been an enormous honour for me to work with our company to cover events for a variety of high-profile people, including former South African president Nelson Mandela, British royalty, and sports personalities. The overwhelming impression that one has of them is one of genuine humility, which is wonderful given their status and how amazing they are with all they have accomplished.

“I have met several international celebrities during my career as a caterer and event planner, including Richard Branson, Gordon Ramsay, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, and Jamie Oliver. These are the moments that I find most memorable.”

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You live a life imbued with creativity and passion for global fashion, architecture, art, business, and contemporary design. What is the essence of your inspiration that shines forth in your work?
“I always want my guests to feel special and properly taken care of. I place a lot of emphasis on the details, and I never stop including little surprises in my work. Clients and guests frequently notice imaginative and unexpected items on the tables.

“I always start with a lovely tablecloth, frequently including objects from my own customers’ homes or office boardrooms, and then I develop from there. I have a particular fondness for luxurious linen, especially when it has patterns, and I usually strive to use neutral colours. This enables me to layer the decor using the appropriate glassware, silverware, and crockery for accent and depth, followed by warm-toned flowers, candles, and favours.

“As someone who enjoys music, this has been essential in setting the perfect mood and enabling me to theme my events appropriately.”

Tell us a little bit about your background.
“I was born in South Africa. My father was of Greek Cypriot origin and my mother was Greek. Sadly, my father passed away when my sister and I were still very young. My mother raised us as a single mother in South Africa, however, she struggled to speak English. Things were difficult for her because she lacked the incredible network of family and friends that we have now.

“She was resilient and hardworking, and she imparted these traits to my sister and I; we just do not know any other way. We are aware that to succeed, one must fully commit and follow through. We learned from her that this is the most crucial thing. My mother has continued to be incredibly encouraging and supportive of all my projects.”

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