Special Events magazine reached out to Flavor Forward Events (Katie Ayoub and Pam Smith), a boutique consultancy that works to elevate food and beverage menus with trend-forward ideas and immersive experiences, to see what’s trending in food for corporate events this year. Here are their thoughts:
“There are so many ways to build a winning corporate event. Successful ones create engagement, make memories, and deliver incredible flavor moments. They give employees a chance to come together and celebrate,” says Smith. “When building menus for daytime corporate events, it’s important to keep the food energizing. No one wants what I call ‘boat sinkers.’ Those are dishes that just torpedo people’s energy and make them want to take a nap. Instead, you want to provide food that is delicious and wholesome, giving them the brain boost they need to keep them engaged and invigorated throughout the day. One trend Katie and I are seeing—and recommending for our clients—is ‘brain bowls.’ These are all about feeding the brain, which we know feeds your mood. For a corporate lunch event, I might make a Roasted Salmon Brain Bowl, with grilled maitake mushrooms, farro cooked in mushroom ‘no-bones-about-it’ broth, baby kale, tart red cherries and citrus-sherry vinaigrette.”
For the evening side of corporate events, Ayoub says: “Some of the more leading-edge serving styles we’re implementing include: moving from linear buffet-style service to free-flowing tasting experiences, including roving hawker trays and dynamic walls, as well as switching traditional carving and action stations to a ‘theatre in the round,’ where the chef carves the protein or tends the skillet, while servers plate and serve guests who gather around the circle to receive the dish without waiting in a line. For thrilling immersive experiences that deliver a bit of suspense we’re using timed curtain reveals throughout the evening, which helps build a narrative and a rhythm around an F&B menu for a large space. It’s particularly effective for after-hours cocktail experiences or dessert bars.”
Additionally, a few flavor trends to watch for the remainder of 2022, and into 2023, according to Ayoub and Smith, include:
1. Vietnamese breakfast influences: like egg custard coffee, breakfast banh mi and pandan coffee cake
Tropical escape: anything with mango, guava, or passionfruit
Oysters with trend-forward flavor accents, like shallot and melon mignonette, Morita chile, fermented tomato water, pomegranate-hibiscus pearls.