As the party season looms, it’s time for chefs to turn their attention to all things buffet. Forget limp sausage rolls and soggy vol au vents, the best chefs will be serving up something much more creative this Christmas! Here, six inspirational chefs share their clever creations for fabulously festive finger food…

Sam Rain, winner of Bake Off Crème de la Crème and Sosa brand ambassador For a twist on “pigs in blanket”, prick some raw chipolatas and put a couple of drops of Sosa Smoked Bacon Aroma on each. Place in a container and wrap tightly in cling film and leave them to absorb the aroma for a few hours. Once marinated, cook off the sausages. The aroma makes the sausages packed full of flavour and is a fun bit of trickery playing with people’s minds as they look like sausages but taste like pigs in blankets! It also means that chefs can save time in individually wrapping their sausages during the very busy festive season. For people with dysphagia, try making sage and onion and turkey sandwich with cranberry gel, using Sosa Sage Aroma, Onion Aroma and Sosa Gelcrem, which I use to make a bread sauce jelly mix. Simply cut triangles out of the bread sauce jelly mix, pipe or spread with turkey filling, then pipe small amounts of cranberry gel to finish the sandwich.

Clement Scellier and Bastien Rabastens, founders and owners of Jimini’s ( When we were developing our products it was clear that edible insects are a real ice-breaker and a fun talking point. Flavoured, crunchy edible insects make the perfect nibble for a Christmas buffet or family party because they are fun and exciting and will definitely prove to be memorable! Plus, they are far more nutritious than a packet of crisps with all natural flavourings and significantly higher levels of protein.

Ross Whitmill, chef at Ross & Ross Food, wedding and event caterers in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire ( Canapé stations and DIY finger food is fast becoming a huge hit with clients. In particular, guests are loving our duck and teriyaki skewers, hot smoked paprika chicken skewers, and garlic and lemon thyme prawns all cooked on our mini-BBQs at events. Our serrano ham station with almonds and pickles to help themselves to is also very popular.

James Davidson, executive chef (Applications, Training and Development), Rich Sauces Most people like to try a little of everything so I recommend having a flow to your menu with flavours that complement each other for example, goat’s cheese tartlets next to sweet and spicy chutneys or how about mini beef burgers with blue cheese and a spicy Cajun sauce? Or a filled pastry cup of blue cheese, forestiere mushroom and fig topped with wild rocket, so you are having a play with sweet, savoury and salty notes, also colour which makes it a feast for your eyes as well as your palette. Having a little blurb on a chalk board about the food, where it came from and what’s in it, also goes down well. This is great for provenance we all love locally sourced ingredients and supporting local businesses.

Melissa Durbari, owner of PopKakery ( If you’re a fan of cocktails and you love a bit of cake, then you’ll adore PopTails – cocktails on a stick! They’re delicious bite-sized balls of sponge infused with alcohol on a stick to give them more of an adult twist. We make them in four irresistible flavours: Piña Colada (coconut and pineapple flavours infused with rum); Cosmopolitan (berry flavours infused with vodka); Mojito (lime and mint flavours infused with rum) and Tequila Sunrise (orange flavours infused with tequila). Strictly for the over 18s, they are sure to get the party started early!

Ben Bartlett, chef and brand ambassador for Lion Sauces For those craving more from a buffet, serve up some manapés – hearty, substantial canapés, bursting with robust flavour and supersized for the dude food generation. From pulled pork sliders to scaled-down shepherd pies, this is a trend that has answered the hunger call from people tired of buffets that leave them wanting more. Like brunch and the frappucino, manapés could be among the few culinary portmanteaux to endure beyond a passing trend – and they’re the perfect antidote for ‘hangry’ people!

Ben’s recipes for the following manapés recipes, using the Prep Premium range of FlavourHouse oils, can be found at the links below…
• Spring rolls
• Smoky chorizo rolls
• Devilled Scotch eggs