Catering In-Depth

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Catering In-Depth
Creating a Beautiful and Unique Event
By: Laurin Fegley, Owner, Simply Smooth Events of Distinctioncateringimage1

Creating a unique wedding involves not only a great concept, but a caterer who can actually pull it off seamlessly!

When meeting with a caterer and picking their brain for ideas, it would be wise to ask what their comfort zone is. Asking someone to do something they’re not good at is never a good idea. So when you’re interviewing a caterer, let your own intuition guide you as the questions you ask are answered.

Trends today are leaning back toward served sit-down events with many courses, almost tapas-like in some cases.

Catered events should always provide outstanding food and service, but they also need excitement and drama. This can make a themed wedding a great option. It can transport the attendees to another dimension, another place and time, away from the mundane and ordinary wedding everyone has attended multiple times. Themed weddings create a magical space of fantasy and fun. As a caterer we then have the opportunity to show off our creativity and expertise by developing customized menus and one-of-a-kind items for our soon to be married couples rather than cookie cutter average weddings!

A caterer should strive to involve all of the five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. The key is to involve and excite the attendees. Guests like interactive events. As themes are limited only by your imagination (and sometimes by the budget), these types of events provide great opportunities to showcase your own creativity and style.

When creating a theme or style for your wedding, incorporating the elements of fun, flavor, excitement, action, color, sound, entertainment, showmanship and surprise. The more of these items you can incorporate, the more “WOW” factor you will attain in the final outcome!

Recently there has been a trend of producing themed events that focus on regional foods and seasonal approaches. Much of this stems from the green movement on utilizing local foods and sustainable practices. However, utilizing seasonal products while in season and selecting local flair to be a part of your cuisine helps showcase your area as well as guarantees better quality foods on the final plate (think tomatoes out of season vs. in season )!

catrering2webPractical caterers will come up with menus that implement seasonal items without you even thinking about it. It’s more cost effective to do this and it allows us to offer better quality selections and very tasty finished dishes. Asking for an off season item might be the difference between really good strawberries and not so great ones. Most caterers will lead you away from something that won’t end up complimenting your day. It never hurts to ask if there is something else that they think would make your menu better in some way! It’s not an insult to the caterer but rather a chance to make our finished creations better!

I’ve talked a lot about creativity in this article. A lot of folks probably don’t look at catered wedding food as “creative” per say, but it should be! Designing a great menu around the right theme, served on the right plate, accompanied by the right side dishes and presented with style and form is what catering is all about! Good food, service, and even creativity all costs money but also makes the difference between “WOW” and average. I use “wow” a lot because that’s what I personally believe a caterer is responsible for. We build, design, and implement ways for jaw dropping moments to happen. From the presentation of a simple salad to a unique entrée’ presentation or the plate it’s on or the vessel it’s served in – each of the elements of the design of your theme or look will enhance the experience your guests experience and build another layer of texture in the creation you are weaving together which will ultimately be called your own!cateringimage3

Trends come and trends go. Even old ideas played properly can make for a memorable wedding. Who would have ever thought that the very cupcakes we took to 1st grade for our birthday parties would be served as wedding cakes when we were 30? Or the smashed potatoes we had as a side dish would find their way to a martini stem at a Smashed Potato bar at a station reception? Maybe you forgot how good pierogis were, but when they’re tiny and handmade crispy little wonderful bites and they’re presented in a bamboo cone with some tasty sea salt…now it’s a smashing hit at your wedding as the hors d’oeuvre your guests leave talking about. Bacon wrapped what? Yes, anything bacon has trended back to our palettes these days. We try not to over create a menu so it’s foreign to your guests. Familiar foods with a creative twist in presentation, a new sauce or just a fun vessel to serve them in will be most popular and comfortable to your guests.

Know your audience! Serving sushi to a group of people is not only costly, but ineffective if only a few guests are interested in it anyway. On the other hand, if you know your guests’ tastes and you can see it as a great item to have at cocktail hour, what are we waiting for …. let’s get the chopsticks and wasabi! The usefulness of being able to read your guests will be the difference between WOW and OW!

So start with a concept, a menu, a picture or a thought…. And when you meet with a few caterers, verbalize those thoughts and see what happens. With a few meetings and a better sense of direction as a result of some great creativity flowing, you will soon be able to easily make a decision on which menu and company best suits your needs, wishes and dream!

It will be a night you and your guests will never forget!