What's In and What's Out for Catered Events

For any other Project Runway fans out there, you may be familiar with the phrase, "One day you're in, and the next day, you're out!" Well, the same could certainly be true for a number of industries, including many facets of meetings and events.

At the webinar I blogged about in a recent post on banquetology, the 'ins' and 'outs' of event catering were also discussed. Here's a rundown of what I learned:
Stacked Food is Out
OUT: Stacked food. If your menu features chicken breast atop a bed of mashed potatoes atop a bed of spinach accented by a parsley sprig, you're so behind the times. Catering today is about realistic and simple plated dishes, especially those using fresh, local  ingredients. Opt for a simple grilled meat and a side of colorful vegetables on your menu. Easy and delicious!

IN: Cooking classes for attendees. For a truly unique and memorable experience, get your event guests behind-Fresh Food is Inthe-scenes with a cooking class in the kitchen held during off-peak hours. Several restaurants even have special chef's tables, which adds a more personal touch to your dinner without being as hands-on. The days of no-name, faceless chefs are over.

OUT: Expensive ingredients. With today's pared-down mindset, there's no need to break out the pricey, hard-to-pronounce ingredients just for show. Meeting guests are looking for familiar basics. Ask your catering company if they shop at the local farmers' market—that's a great place to start.

The best part about these catering trends is that they're likely to save you money on your food & beverage budget. Make sure to coordinate with your venue's caterer (perhaps with some custom RFP questions) to ensure you're on the same track to a low-cost, on-trend catered event!
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