Woman Crush Wednesday: Auckland's new platter queen

Gooey honeycomb, hand-dipped strawberries rolled in pistachios, caramelized nuts, generous wedges of blue cheese, delicately spiced crackers...

Are you drooling yet? 

You should be. The above tantalizing ingredients are just a taste of what you can expect to find atop one of CELEBRATE's epic platters. 

Luxuriously presented on slabs of marble, these delectable platters are the brainchild of Auckland-based Amanda Vela, whose expertise in the makeup world has given her a keen eye for all things bold and beautiful in the foodie world also. 

Here, we caught up with the entrepreneur to discover how she came up with this fresh business idea, and how to create the perfectly balanced platter this summer. 

How did you first come up with the idea of creating CELEBRATE? 

I have grown up in a loud, welcoming Croatian family who love to host in a generous, over the top way - so of course I am no different! Friends popping in on a Friday after work had always been enough of a reason for me to create these decadent, luxe platters and open a bottle of champagne to celebrate life! I put a photo of one of my platters on my Instagram Story one such night and the feedback was overwhelming! People were asking if I was taking orders and one friend even booked me to cater her husband’s 30th! I saw there was a gap for the market for my aesthetic. My creations are over the top and they take it to the next level in a beautiful way. They’re severed on slabs of marble and they’re definitely not ‘rustic’. 

What’s your background? How did you get to where you are today?

While I was completing my Communications degree I worked part-time for a boutique catering company as well as a interiors/lifestyle magazine. After this, I worked in the PR Team at Estee Lauder Companies, before becoming Brand Events Coordinator at M.A.C Cosmetics. Now I guess I’ve come full circle back to catering, with a heightened eye for colour and detail.

What are the keys to creating the perfectly balanced platter?

A signature CELEBRATE platter always has a balance of beautiful flavours using premium ingredients. For maximum impact I incorporate pops of colour, lots of texture and a few sweet surprises. 

These decadent, over the top, outrageous platters are carefully planned and thought out to deliver an incredible visual impact. 

What is your favourite summer memory?

My summer’s have been spent at Omaha Beach for as long as I can remember - it is my absolute favourite place! I love long, hot days at the beach and evenings spent outside sharing a CELEBRATE platter with friends. 

What are your favourite summer ingredients to work with?

I always love the fresh seasonal fruit available in summer. Fresh summer berries add the most beautiful colour and flavour to any CELEBRATE platter. Being at Omaha over the summer season means the infamous OOB Blueberries are right on my doorstep! 

What beverages are best served with a CELEBRATE platter?

You really can’t go past a chilled glass of champagne - always my go-to favourite!

What’s next for CELEBRATE?

Meeting more amazing people and being part of their summer celebrations! Wedding season is just beginning and I’m so excited to to be delivering fabulous CELEBRATE platters to some beautiful brides and their wedding parties to enjoy as they get ready for their big day. 

I’ve also collaborated with the incredible makeup artist Kate Solley and we have created the ultimate makeup workshops together, with a signature CELEBRATE platter and a glass of bubbles on arrival! We have set dates and themes throughout each month but we have also booked private classes for groups of girlfriends before they go out on a Saturday night. It’s been such a great experience creating and launching these with her and the response so far has been amazing! 

Head here for more.