The Latest Catering Trends

By Belinda Lichty Clarke, May 30, 2019

When it comes to catering, there are trends that are fleeting and some that stick. Sustainability is here to stay. In fact, a 2018 article by the Stanford Innovation Social Review reported that more than 90 percent of CEOs state that sustainability is important to their company’s success.

Eco-Friendly and Experiential

Experiential food stations, living walls and edible cutlery are just a few examples of how event caterers are appealing to this continued interest in protecting the environment. Other continuing trends include a focus on farm-to-table along with an overall commitment to cuisine creativity.

According to Melissa Johnson, executive director of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events in Columbus, Ohio, eco-friendly plates, cutlery, glassware and napkins will get increased awareness. China, glass and steel will be the optimal reusable choice, she says, but also look for plates and cutlery made of oat bran. Johnson adds that she and her team are also building garnish walls with herbs and edible plants and flowers so that they can snip and garnish right from the food stations.

However, Johnson explains, it’s not all new for 2019, and she believes her clients will continue to want to balance the trends with pleasing and approachable classic food and beverage favorites. While one station may be plant-based new food trends, another station is set with comfort foods. The drink menu may have a new barrel-aged rum cocktail, but you’ll also see a classic Manhattan, she says.

Creative Presentation

One classic favorite Johnson recommends is her specific take on deviled eggs. “We cut ours to stand in a more vertical shape and we have various ways to fold in or top them with fun ingredients such as bacon, salsa, crab, etc.,” she explains. “Another classic favorite is the meatball,” she adds. “We have a wonderful Ohio chicken meatball that we can butler on a platter with a clear mini fork and has a sweet chili glaze.”

Sarah Arel, assistant event producer at Feast & Imbibe catering in Evanston, Illinois, agrees that comfort foods are very much still top-of-mind, but with an ethnic twist. “From pho to tacos, BBQ to samosas, the growing interest in new flavors is a trend that we love because it gives us so many fun options to play with when creating new dishes for our guests to try.” Arel explains.

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