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Big Caterers Pinpoint Top Trends

Big Caterers Pinpoint Top Trends

Goodbye, comfort food; hello, small-plate entrees, big caterers say

As Special Events prepares its sixth annual "Great, Big Caterers" list, we are collecting forecasts of top trends from some of the biggest caterers in business.

For a look into the future, dig in:

"Smaller portions, more presentation and experience to keep costs down and create a memorable event."
Epicurean Culinary Group, Centennial, Colo.

"'Garden Chic' has peaked and is now transitioning into 'Industrial Glam.' Ethnic cuisine continues to gain popularity, especially Indian (authentic), Mexican, Korean and Mediterranean. More casual dining is filtering down from restaurants to events. Event planners and venues are getting out of control with their pricing strategy and fees to their vendors. It is dishonest and hurts the industry as a whole that we don’t have transparency about our costs."
Catering by Michaels, Morton Grove, Ill.

"Small-plate, tray-passed entrees, chef action stations and seasonal cocktails."
Wolfgang Puck Catering, Los Angeles

"Food pairings with savory cocktails, modern spins of ethnic cuisines, no more comfort food, foods with a fun/colorful palette, sweet and sour combinations, more varieties of pesto including kale and arugula, the continued ascension of grains--the more ancient, the better!--continued shrinkage of meat as the center of the plate, and nontraditional pickled veggies including pickled red cabbage and pickled white asparagus."
Great Performances, New York

"Doughnuts! Doughnuts are the new cupcake, and charcuterie boards featuring gourmet smoked sausages and pickled accompaniments are making a huge comeback. More and more parties are foregoing traditional round tables for communal seating that promotes conversation and family style dining."
Jewell Events Catering, Chicago

"Cool action stations like a Japanese noodle bar, charcuterie station, Asian station, and dessert action station, such as spiked milkshake stations and fruit mixers."
Ridgewells, Bethesda, Md.

"We are seeing the return of corporate events, which is very exciting! Competitive pricing across the board remains a challenge, but we feel strongly about maintaining our price integrity, which is in line with our quality food and service. Clients are also looking for new and unusual venues to 'wow' their guests."
Blue Plate, Chicago

Photo of an Epicurean Culinary Group event for football star Peyton Manning. Photo by Tara Reeb.

If you are an off-premise caterer who would like to be considered for our latest list and have not received a questionnaire from us, please send an email here.

See the full story in the May-June issue of Special Events, which is available to ISES members for free and to subscribers. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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