Every now and then, a service launches that is so brilliant, we wonder how we ever lived without it.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Pop-Up Picnic – a new, full picnic service that plans, prepares and delivers everything you need to host an epic picnic.
The premise is simple, but genius: Sydney is perfect for picnics, but they can be a bit of a hassle to organise. That’s where Pop-Up Picnic steps in. They offer a range of hampers and themed picnic parties (like The Posh Picnic, Kids Picnic, BBQ Lovers and so on), as well as entertainment add-ons like giant ten-pin bowling, chess, or croquet. They also include rugs, crockery and picnic tables for bigger events, so all you need to do is choose the location and show up on the day. Too easy!
Sitchu caught up with Pop-Up Picnic’s Creative Director, Zae Greenwood, to chat about bringing the cool concept to life, and why Sydney does picnics best.
How did the idea for Pop Up Picnic first come about?
Pop Up Picnic was an idea that came to mind while I was living in London and working in luxury hotels. In London, in summer everyone really takes advantage of the short-lived sunshine and picnics are such a popular way to enjoy the great outdoors. I noticed that lots of our guests wanted to have beautifully presented picnics – but without the hassle of pulling all the parts together. So on return to Sydney, we launched Pop Up Picnic with our reinvented picnic hampers and full-service picnic events.
How would you describe the appeal and demand for this kind of service in Sydney?
There's been a real shift away from uptight restaurants and overly complicated food. Our events arm, which creates magical outdoor occasions all over Sydney, has really grown off the back of this shift. We see lots of corporate and private clients holding their special occasions in Sydney's world-class parklands and garden spaces, so they can spend quality time mingling and interacting with all their guests. Picnics really do create great memories beyond the beautiful food that is on offer. We can also set up massage stations, champagne bars, giant games or inflatable pony races to create an event that is truly socially rewarding.
Do you have a favourite picnic package?
I personally love our Proposal Picnic, which is delivered direct to your picnic spot by your very own picnic butler (aptly dressed in tails). The butler pours you and your lover some champagne and walks you through the degustation menu. It's the closest thing to your own private restaurant – without the price tag!
How did you come up with the themed picnic hampers (like The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party)?
All our hampers are designed to be a unique experience. This is reflected in the menu, the packaging and the personalisation, and all of these components are based on key occasions. The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, for example, is designed to take you to the Ritz, no matter whether your picnic is in Randwick or Rushcutters Bay. The attention to detail helps to create these sorts of experiences for our clients.
Where are your go-to picnic spots around Sydney?
You can't go past the Botanic Gardens, with its harbourfront location and immaculate gardens. As for lesser-known favourites, they’d have to be Blackburn Gardens and McKell Park - both perfect for garden party-style occasions or romantic picnic dates for lovers.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The first team arrives at 6am to start food production, and then our Ops team arrive at 7am to pack the events and get them ready for dispatch. At the moment, we are working on our Summer 2017 menus, so we have tastings in the afternoon. Once items are approved, we standardise the menus and begin training with the team. There's always food on offer and plenty of brainstorming for bespoke events and new concepts.
What aspect of your job do you love the most?
We get to work with a brilliant team of people who have been on this adventure with us for almost four years now. We've all grown so much during this time and seeing what we've achieved as a business and as individuals is very rewarding.
Can you tell us about the most memorable event you’ve catered?
We worked on a wedding picnic for 300 guests on a family-owned vineyard, and we created a menu that reflected the different countries that the couple had lived in.
As an inner-west insider, where are your top spots to eat, drink, shop, exercise and play in the local area?
Eat– Deux ex Machina, Camperdown
Drink– Creek & Cella, Leichardt
Shop– Rozelle or Orange Grove Markets
Exercise– The Bay Run
Play – On one of our roof terraces or gardens with the team after work!