Catering Food Trends
In the world of event catering, things will never change. The golden ideals of professionalism and efficiency will always be in style. Yet other things seem to change almost daily, altering the face of the industry. In my experience, while each guest’s preferences are a little different, there are always patterns to the way things are changing. These are some of my personal observations on some of the trends in food catering.
Healthier Foods, Bolder Flavours
In the past, it was thought that the best way to get good flavour was to increase the fat content. Butter reigned supreme, as heavy sauces covered many dishes, and fried foods were common as it was an easy way to make flavourful foods for large groups of people. In today’s world of health consciousness, we are taking a step back from the fat, and looking to other sources for our flavours. Ethnic flavours are big, ranging from the bold spices of Thai chilli’s to the sweet and savoury flavours of the Mediterranean.
Smaller Portions, Bigger Variety
As more and more bold flavours are being introduced to the catering world, guests are becoming eager to try them all. In response to this, individual portions of each dish are becoming smaller. Whereas in the past a guest would be able to choose a single item off of the menu, and have to stick with that, today it is becoming popular to perhaps try two or three smaller items, to take full advantage of the variety available. Whether picking from a passing tray finger foods, or sneaking a bite of their neighbour’s tart, guests are looking to get the most from their catering company experience.
Fewer Choices, Better Selections
While fewer choices may seem to run counter to bigger variety, in truth it’s all about maximising flavour combinations. Providing fewer choices on the menu means that the host and the caterer can work together to make sure that what is on the menu is something truly outstanding. Focusing in on these better selections means having time to work towards getting the perfect combinations of foods and spices to provide for the host’s needs, whatever they may be.
Of course, while the flavour of the food is important, so is the presentation. A large part of that presentation is in how you organise the food. Perhaps you want foods grouped together based on visual cues, pulling out the reds or the greens. Maybe you want the foods grouped around different ethnic styles, with decorations to pull out that identity at each station where they’re located. Caterers are moving away from the ordinary buffet lines of the past and favouring unique new ways of displaying their foods.
Of course these aren’t the only food trends in the catering industry. Nor does it have much bearing on what any individual host might want for their get together. What is most important is always that the guests get the experience that they’re looking for, and that won’t ever change.