Special Events
Picnics Prove Popular with Event Guests

Picnics Prove Popular with Event Guests

In today's economy, picnics are proving to be popular, practical alternatives to traditional dining. With picnic menus ranging from bridal to boardroom, four caterers show that there's a place at the picnic table for every party.

GOURMET TO GO

UNCOMMON TASTE CATERING, BRYN MAWR, PA.
www.ucommontaste.net

When faced with a social client who wanted gourmet catering on a budget, Uncommon Taste opted to keep the focus on food but save on service. The result: “Taste Express,” a full line of upscale, room-temperature foods designed for drop-off, eliminating the need for on-site cooking, heating or refrigeration. “Since then, we have developed the menus, and have marketed the division with great success to local law firms and offices looking for a special lunch or office party,” says owner Melissa Brannon, who sees plenty of picnic opportunities as well. “With this service, we are able to provide incredible food that fits all budgets,” she says, adding that the service and rental side of the party is left up to the host. Menu items fit every need, ranging from hors d'oeuvre, platters, skewers and salads to sandwiches, entrees, brunch and desserts.

SMOKIN' HOT!

A JOY WALLACE CATERING PRODUCTION & DESIGN TEAM/A JOY WALLACE BARBECUE & PICNIC PRODUCTION, MIAMI
www.ajoywallace.com

With its new division — A Joy Wallace Barbecue & Picnic Production, which recently began concession sales of its smoked ribs and chicken at several roadside locations in South Florida — this famed, high-end Miami caterer is able to reach a broader market. “If we find that our upscale catering division cannot meet a potential bride's budget constraints, we'll mention our new picnic division and pass the bride's contact info over to our barbecue team,” says marketing director John McPhee, who currently has a picnic wedding proposal in the works. “Additionally, our concession sales offer a potential picnic guest the ability to taste our cuisine without us having to do a special tasting.” The purchase of two large smokers has enabled the caterer to create a signature product that is affordable for the client and profitable for the caterer. “Our big focus right now is on smoked meats, especially our ribs,” McPhee says. “But we also accommodate local ethnic tastes with menu items like Moros y Cristianos [black beans and white rice] and even a lechon [roast suckling pig].”

THE ETHNIC PICNIC

CHOURA VENUE SERVICES, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
www.chouravenueservices.com

“Every cuisine — Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian — has its own form of picnic,” says chef Ryan McIntyre. “It's very saleable because everyone can envision it.” For an Italian-inspired picnic, Choura combines palatable with portable in its “ice chest panini,” in which a ciabatta roll is hollowed and filled with meats, cheeses and vegetables, tightly wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil, then placed in the bottom of an ice chest. Beverages and bagged fruit placed on top serve double-duty as weights, flattening the sandwich and allowing the flavors to marinate. McIntyre hopes to take his picnic menus down more nontraditional roads. “I would love to cater a cocktail party with picnic flair,” he says.

OF BRIDES AND BARBECUES

FEASTIVITIES CATERING & EVENTS/PHILADELPHIA'S PICNIC COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA
www.feastivitiescatering.com; www.philadelphiaspicniccompany.com

“Competition barbecue has hit the East Coast, and our social clients are clamoring for the real deal,” says senior event producer Dan Hoch. Seen as the ultimate comfort food, freshly smoked meats and vegetables have made their way onto the most sophisticated event tables, and that includes weddings. “Real Southern- or Texas-style barbecue — with a giant smoker in view — and super-fresh, local ingredients are what's in demand,” he says. “Preparing as much as possible in the middle of the event space is all the rage.” So too is a casual, picnic presentation. “No matter how creative we get with the food,” Hoch says, “people still want that quintessential picnic look.”

TASTE EXPRESS

BY UNCOMMON TASTE CATERING

Korean Beef Bulgogi Roll-ups with Carrots and Scallions

Globe Grapes Stuffed with Whipped Brie and Spiced Pecans

Platter of Artichokes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Beets, Garlic Green Beans and Boccocini Mozzarella with Breads and Crackers

Platter of Traditional Tuscan Tomato and Basil, Fava Bean Puree with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Truffle Oil, and Chopped Chicken Livers with Port Served with Crostini and Sliced Bread

Grilled Pineapple and Spicy Beef Skewers

Chocolate Barbecue Pork Tenderloin and Dried Apricot Skewers

Toasted Orzo with Caramelized Fennel and Fresh Pea Salad

Chilled Sesame Noodles with Red Spinach and Ginger Soy Vinaigrette with Homemade Sesame Cracker

Sandwich of Lemon Grilled Chicken Breast with Chevre, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms and Arugula Aioli on Ciabatta Bread

Sandwich of Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, Balsamic Grilled Onions, and Fig Jam on Baguettes

Chimichurri Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Tomato Jam

Black Bean, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cake with Mango Sweet and Sour Sauce

A BARBECUE BASH

BY JOY WALLACE

Smoked Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese and Wing Sauce

Seven Spice Rub Chicken with Orange Honey-Mustard Sauce

Mama Joy's Memphis-Style Smoked Ribs with Garlic-Laced Barbecue Sauce

Aunt Carol's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Red Oak-Smoked Carolina Pulled Pork

Sweet Corn on the Cob with Butter and Sea Salt

Chunky Yukon Gold Potato Salad

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pudding

MEDITERRANEAN COMFORT

BY CHOURA VENUE SERVICES

Fried Chicken with Smoked Paprika Crust

Watermelon Salad with Baby Spinach, Red Onions, Pumpkin Seeds, Feta and Citrus Vinaigrette

Mixed Lettuce with Grape Tomatoes, Torn Basil, Boccocini and a Balsamic Reduction

Eggplant Caponata and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Toasted Crostini

Hummus with Toasted Cumin, Meyer Lemon and Grilled Pita

Brown Sugar-Cured Pork Loin with House Apple Slaw and Mini Brioche Buns

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes and Mini Éclairs with Vanilla Crème

A WEDDING BARBECUE BUFFET

BY FEASTIVITIES

Cherry Wood-Smoked Pork Loin and Barbecue Beef Brisket with Zesty Low Country Barbecue Sauce and Apple Chutney

Mixed Green and Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes, Carrots, Cucumbers, Radishes and Onions with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Tequila Lime Grilled-in-the-Husk Corn on the Cob with Sea Salt Butter

Roasted Fresh Beets, Turnips, and Red Bliss and Yukon Gold Potatoes with a Balsamic Reduction Drizzle

Slow-Cooked Butternut Squash Risotto

Late Summer Sauté of Julienne Squash, Zucchini, Carrots and Red Pepper

Rosemary Foccacia with Olive Oil

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