Advent at Wassermann & Company

"We’re looking forward to the end-of-year spurt!"

The period in the run-up to Christmas is the most demanding and, at the same time, most exciting time of year for the team at exhibition caterers Wassermann & Company. A talk with Frank Wassermann about kitchen parties, food trends from London for New Year’s Eve and the alleged January slump.
Frank Wassermann Congress Center Basel
Frank Wassermann surrounded by his crew

Wassermann & Company recently celebrated a kitchen party with customers and partners for the second time. What does this actually involve and what culinary delicacies were served?

Our kitchen party started at the point where the best parties normally end – in our 1200 square metre production kitchen at Messe Basel. The aperitif was served from the mobile Wassermann box. In keeping with the season, we served a fried wild boar sausage that we had made ourselves, followed by snow eggs with char caviar, and truffles from the “truffle pig” with spinach and mashed potatoes; guests could also order Wagyu burgers from “McWagyu”. And, as a finishing touch, our “sweet crew” from the patisserie ran around offering sweet, cut-up pancakes, stewed plums and sweet sushi. I think that pictures convey a much better impression than words, so take a look here.

It has to be a major event before Wassermann & Company will provide the catering, right?

Certainly not. We are also ideally equipped for groups of around ten or more. We can accommodate them, for example, in the Brasserie Verseau – our restaurant directly on Exhibition Square – and can come up with suggestions for a set meal, a buffet served at the table or fondue variations, etc. And, moreover, the Brasserie is ideally suited to original formats such as kitchen parties, cookery courses, flying buffets, gala dinners and after-work parties, etc. Groups of between 80 and 150 people can book the entire restaurant for themselves.

Just like in the retail trade, things really get going in the catering sector in the run-up to Christmas. Do you and your team have any time to relax?

Alongside the many different-sized occasions in the Event Hall, the Congress Center and other rooms at Messe Basel, we also take charge of a large number of events at a wide range of Basel venues – including the St. Jakob-Park football stadium. We know from experience precisely what awaits us, however, and wish to ensure that every single guest goes home happy and contented. All our employees are highly motivated, and the atmosphere is one of putting on a final spurt. Things calm down as of mid-December and most of the team can enjoy the festive season and relax over New Year.

The period of calm no doubt extends into January too, when the holiday season blues and the famous “January slump” take hold?

Certainly not. Once the sound of glasses being clinked to herald in the New Year has died down, we’re back on the ball again. In addition to various New Year aperitifs, we are providing the extensive VIP catering for the equestrian tournament that is being held in the St. Jakobshalle in January 2018. As of 16 January, we will then be in charge of the catering at Swissbau, Switzerland’s biggest trade fair for the construction industry.

Your day-to-day work is characterised by hustle and bustle and moving straight from one culinary world to the next. Are you able to switch off at all over the festive period?

Yes, I can do that with my family in Bettingen, in the company of my wife and our two sons. I indulge in long lie-ins and extensive walks with the family and the dog. We celebrate Christmas in the classical manner serving goose and home-made dumplings, red cabbage and a carefully selected Pinot Noir. Things only get hectic if our dog tries to get through the barrier zone around the Christmas tree yet again (laughs).

I am particularly looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve in London. That’s then a business trip again, because London is the hotspot when it comes to innovative catering, and I will be taking delight in discovering the new food trends.