Special Events
Chefs Discuss Both Sophisticated and Simple Catering Menus

Chefs Discuss Both Sophisticated and Simple Catering Menus

Some food presentations call for elaborate desserts with spun sugar or intricate hors d'oeuvre with frizzled onions. Others should be on the simpler side. Here, caterers show us both ends of the spectrum, from simple to complex, with equally eye-catching results.

FRUIT FORWARD

CATERER: Eric Michael, owner and founder, Occasions Caterers, Washington

REAL SIMPLE: Color repetition is a simple way to set a striking scene, here with watermelon martinis garnished with thin slices of watermelon cut with cookie cutters.

IT'S COMPLICATED: Michael's description of this dessert indicates the time it takes. He calls this feast-for-the-eyes an individual charlotte of raspberry mousse on pistachio-studded genoise, topped with raspberries and served with house-made mango sorbet and sugar sticks. Raspberry, pistachio and mango swirls baked into the sponge-like cake give it artistic flair.

PRESENTATION MAKES PERFECT

CATERER: Michele Polci, CPCE, CMP, director of catering and restaurant sales, Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah's Entertainment, Las Vegas

REAL SIMPLE: “This is a great example of taking a cheese display to the next level but not overdoing it,” Polci says. Lighting, trays at varying heights, and plates in different sizes and shapes add visual interest to the display, while “whole fruit and bread bring in an earthy element,” Polci notes. The cheese is playfully presented in different shapes: cubes, rectangles and wedges.

IT'S COMPLICATED: An ice buffet housing cold items was a natural fit for a “Diamonds are a Planner's Best Friend” event. “The chefs were in at 3 a.m. assembling blocks and cutting holes for the height elements,” Polci explains. “Lighting had to be done the night prior, and once it was set, it was not mobile, so we had one opportunity to get it right. The lighting used to highlight the ice buffet and make it sparkle also made it melt a bit faster than anticipated. The tiles and glass vessels were placed on small sheets of rubber to ensure they did not slide off.”

BOLD MOVES

CATERER: Amanda Gall, social sales manager, Bold American Events and Catering, Atlanta

REAL SIMPLE: “Simple and striking can be a stunning presentation. The eye eats first!” Gall explains. “Our clients love seemingly pedestrian foods presented in new and appealing ways.” Here, a simple row of jarred honeys on crisp white linen provides a whole lot of look next to house-made sweet potato biscuits in terra cotta pots.

IT'S COMPLICATED: “This brioche box, a pretty first-course alternative to a ho-hum salad, is very time-consuming to prep. Each step taken is simple, but there are many of them!” Gall notes. “Each brioche is hand-cut and hollowed out to make room for the sauteed shiitake mushroom, asparagus and Gruyere cheese filling. We brand each and every ‘lid’ with a logo or initial — or anything else the client can dream up — keeping the iron piping hot throughout the process.”

RESOURCES

Bold American Events and Catering
404/815-1178
www.boldamerican.com

Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah's Entertainment
702/777-7871
www.harrahs.com

Occasions Caterers
202/546-7800
www.occasionscaterers.com

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