Catering for events and weddings has changed significantly over the past decade. These days clients and guests are expecting caterers to provide food and beverage that is creative, clever and presented in a way that is ideal for sharing on social media. As a result event planners and caterers are constantly finding new ways to present and serve food that not only satisfies the appetite of their guests, but also their imagination!
This week we take a look at a few catering trends we expect to grace the tables and canapé trays of events in 2015 – Bon appetit!
1. Grazing Stations
Lauren Philips from Laissez-faire Catering, confirms grazing stations are going to be a hit in 2015. Essentially a smorgasbord of antipasto, breads, dips, cheese and deli meats, grazing stations are an easy way to impress a lot of people – even the vego and vegans are well catered for!
Lauren says the trick to making a grazing station look fabulous is abundance. The other tip is to include nibbles that can easily be taken by guests with one hand (the other hand is obviously for a glass of wine!).
Grazing stations are perfect for cocktail parties, networking events, pre-dinner drinks and that awkward time between wedding ceremony and wedding reception. They are also fairly budget friendly, as they can replace the need for canapés for short events (although we recommend tray-serving canapés around for longer events or large events where food needs to be circulated through a crowd).
2. Sharing menus
Sharing menus were all the rage in 2013-14 and it seems they are set to stick around for 2015 too – Yay!
Sharing menus (aka table buffet, grazing buffet or family service) are served at the dinner table and include a range of large plates of food such as roast meats, salads, vegetables (wholesome food you may see at a special family dinner), where guests can help themselves.
Simon Sandall, Group Chef at MorSul (who oversees menu development for ARIA Catering) agrees that clients are still crazy about this style of catering. Simon predicts, however that the menu will change from roasted meats to feature BBQ items, particularly seafood – “continuing to keep the menu fresh, light and really produce driven.”
This style of service is popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, it creates a great atmosphere around the table as guests pass the plate and share a meal together. It is also a great way for people to indulge in a variety of tastes and flavours – a little of this and a lot of that!
HOT TIP: If you are considering a sharing menu at your event or wedding, make sure your tables are not too cluttered with glassware, flowers and other centrepieces as this will make it difficult for waiters to place the food on the tables and even harder for your guests to comfortably pass the plates around with their fellow diners.
4. Upscaled comfort food
There is nothing better than being served up a childhood favourite. However, at a corporate event, the need to be sophisticated and “grown up” is still required. Marcus Longinotti, Creative Director at Gastronomy says 2015 is “all about revitalising memorable flavours and bringing them to life with local produce and sophisticated flavours.”
We like to call this upscaled comfort food! Think macaroni cheese with a hint of truffle oil, corn on the cob with parmesan and lime or deconstructed iced vovos!
3. Pairing cocktails and canapés
Pairing cocktails with canapés is all the rage in the US and we predict Australian events too will adopt this catering concept in 2015! Serve the matching food and drinks in mini size so that guests can enjoy the flavours easily together – plus they look super cute! These funky combos are a fabulous idea for product launches where you want to brand the catering with a signature style, themed events and Christmas parties.
Check out these great examples…
5. Doughnut bar
Now for something sweet. 2013 was all about cupcakes and 2014 macaroons… But in 2015 it’s all about the doughnut!
Continuing the theme of nostalgia – doughnuts are a childhood favourite that everyone loves. They are substantial – great fillers for conference breaks or that lull between wedding ceremony and reception. They are easy to eat, can be displayed or packaged in creative ways, great for all ages AND they will bring a smile to any guest. Nutritious? Well, maybe not, but then again you’re at an event so treat yourself!
If you have any more fantastic predictions on what will be hot in event catering in 2015 we’d love to hear from you below!