Search

An Event Planner’s Guide to Post-Pandemic Catering Trends

Caution: reading this blog on an empty stomach may be dangerous!


As events resume and cities reopen, we’re sharing a tasty preview of what we’ll be serving up this season for everything from wedding celebrations to summertime gatherings.


Prepare to eat, drink, and be merry in a post-pandemic world with the new catering trends that everyone’s craving.


Individually Portioned Charcuterie and Cheese Boards


Regardless of whether it is served as an hors d’oeuvre or dessert course, numerous cultures have their own special take on charcuterie and cheese presentations that are an integral part of any memorable meal. But when the idea of plucking cured meats and aged cheeses off a communal board passed around the table became taboo, epicurious chefs rose to the challenge to ensure this mainstay thrived in a socially distanced setting.


Not to worry; as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and the result is an even better iteration of your favorite board. Now, event menus are featuring individually portioned versions that are creative and crave-able. Recently, we collaborated with artisans to design handmade walnut boards with guests’ names charred into the wood, offering petite portions that doubled as place cards at each setting. Another of our popular party picks are charcuterie cones, which are an assemblage of gourmet nuts, meats, and cheeses perfectly packaged into an individual paper or bamboo cone. Just make sure guests have somewhere to perch with their drink, so they can be completely hands free to enjoy this delectable treat.


PS: Personal portions of almost any menu item are small but mighty crowd pleasers to explore and enjoy right now!


Comfort Food Classics


Guests are hungry for feel-good moments and a menu composed of hearty, classic dishes served around a table with friends delivers all the warm and fuzzies. Hosts are revisiting comfort food recipes as a way to feel connected with traditions and nostalgic memories. Our team has been scouring clients’ family cookbooks and recipe tins, passed down through generations, to find dishes that satisfy the need to feed our bellies and our spirit.

We are also seeing a resurgence in menus featuring iconic dishes from some of the most well-known restaurants in the world. Rizzoli’s book The Entrées: Remembered Favorites from the Past is an anthology of the most beloved menu staples from legendary chefs and restaurants. This bookshelf hero features recipes that have stood the test of time like the The Russian Tea Room’s Chicken Kiev and Delmonico’s Steak and Potatoes, reminding us that good times will in fact prevail.


Tasting Menus


The pandemic taught us to slow down and savor a meal surrounded by good company- albeit sometimes that company was small in guest count or over Zoom. At least for the time being, buffets and family-style menus are taking a back seat and tasting menus are triumphing.


Chefs and hosts alike are indulging in a return to the extravagant dinner party that offers a feast for the senses. Multi-course, individual portions invite guests on a delightful culinary journey and makes these menus the go-to for offering a taste of what we’ve all been missing. As a bonus, a more formal affair pairs well with white glove service, which serves up an elegant take on safety protocols.


Mocktails


To make guests feel welcomed and at ease, it is essential to provide thoughtful accommodations to ensure no menu lacks inspiration. Vegetarian options are more than a glorified plate of vegetables and non-alcoholic options extend beyond sparkling water, tea, and lemonade. The catalyst may have been quarantine overindulgence or the opportunity to revisit personal wellness; in any case, many guests are opting for zero-proof and it is expected that you offer creative mocktail options on your beverage menu.


There is a wealth of products in the market that cater to an inclusive beverage menu, with delicious mocktail recipes and non-alcoholic wines that do not skimp on taste. Make sure to give your food and beverage director or mixologist plenty of time in advance to source quality options and design a menu that will quench everyone’s thirst.


If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our recent post featuring a refreshing mocktail recipe we have been mixing up that packs just the right amount of heat to enjoy as temperatures rise this summer.


Images Courtesy Of 1 - 3 | Cassie LaMere Events 4 | McLendon Photography 5 | Cassie LaMere Events