Caterers Respond to Flood of Special Diet Demands: Part III

Oct 17, 2012 2:23 PM, By Lisa Hurley

Making a dish both vegetarian and gluten-free–there are many ways caterers today tweak menus to suit special guest requests. 

 

Culinary Capers’ Baby Beet Salad with Fromage Blanc Tart is an elegant vegetarian option.

With the percentage of event guests requesting special meals more than doubling over the last 10 years, caterers are turning to a variety of strategies to keep clients happy while holding the line on margins.

In Part III of our series, we share tips from leading caterers:

MAKING DISHES DO DOUBLE DUTY

Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events
Vancouver, British Columbia
Debra Lykkemark, CEO

To keep costs under control, we will often try and design the special meal option to be served with that same starch and vegetables we are serving with the regular meal.

We also try and design our special options to cover a number of the above listed special requests. For example: If the regular entree was beef tenderloin with a port jus with grilled vegetables and rosemary roasted potatoes, we could substitute our vegan roasted vegetable and heirloom bean terrine for the beef tenderloin and port jus, serving it with the grilled vegetables and potatoes. Providing we just used olive oil on the potatoes and vegetables and no garlic or onion, this dish would be suitable for lactose intolerance, gluten-free, vegan, nut and seafood allergies, Jewish and Muslim.

Example: Special meal options for an event for 730 guests that we just catered:

First Course
Vegetarian option: Baby Beet Salad with Fromage Blanc Tart (in photo) 
Golden and red beets, tarragon, honey, vinegar, shaved rainbow radishes and frisée salad

Entree Course
Gluten-free, vegan (without cheese) and vegetarian option: Roasted Vegetable and Heirloom Bean Terrine
Roasted red and yellow bell peppers, fennel, thyme, basil, and heirloom beans, wrapped zucchini, served with capers, red pepper coulis and Asiago cheese

Served with the same starch and vegetables as the regular entree (Short Rib Provençal): Gâteau De Pommes Du Terre
Smashed young red potatoes, olive oil and parsley
Legumes du Jour Pas De Beurre
Fresh seasonal vegetables tossed in fresh herbs and olive oil

Dessert Course
Gluten- and dairy-free option: Coconut Panna Cotta
Made with coconut milk and fresh berries

For large sit-down dinners all these special requests can be very challenging. We recommend setting up a separate plating line for special meals as it will keep the service moving quickly.

Read more: http://specialevents.com/caterers/caterers-respond-to-growing-tide-of-special-diet-demands-part-III/?NL=SE-01&Issue=SE-01_20121017_SE-01_799&YM_RID=pbrown@pharicebrownandassociates.com&YM_MID=1345667&sfvc4enews=42#ixzz29bJcdFSw

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Inexpensive and Elegant

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Enjoy Your Big Day…

You know what can help you enjoy your big day, something inexpensive (some people call it cheap but I have always liked the word frugal)… Here are two ideas that are inexpensive and elegant at the same time.

 First, buy white lights after Christmas.  They are always on sale around the end of the holidays, so you can buy several sets and make a big impact at any occasion.  They make a soft lighting environment and big impact with little effort; you can package them up and use them over and over again for all of your special occasions.  

Second, go to a discount store for help there you can find unique inexpensive ideas for centerpieces.  I have seen the most beautiful events done with economical votive candle holders, candles, and mirrors.  Guests can take the centerpiece home in addition to the take home gifts.  Because these items are reasonably priced they are a great way continue to impress your guests with a durable showpiece they can reuse for times to come.

These ideas can help you enjoy your day and help inspire others for theirs.

Deidra D. Thompson, Professional-In-Training (P.I.T.)
Word of Mouth Events & Planning 
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Toll Free Phone and Fax: (866) 905-9002 ext. 102

Join Word of Mouth Events & Planning on Facebook for all your event and meeting planning needs and post your events here too.

Come and see all Word of Mouth Events & Planning has to offer to make your next event or meeting a success.

Avoid Disappointment on You Big Day

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Enjoy your Big Day…

To avoid real disappointment on your Big Day (whatever the occasion) you should register for items you need and really want.  If you start putting things on the registry like vases, platters and picture frames just because you think you should, please believe that you will be overcome with vases, platters and picture frames.  Because these are taste specific, for the most part there may be many you won’t want.  These are items that people always buy for all occasions.  You will be re-gifting these items for some time to come if you don’t take the time to think ahead and plan a registry.  And yes, re-gifting is perfectly acceptable behavior because if you don’t like it and you know you will not use it and someone else could be enjoying it, then why not?  Now let me say this.  You have to be sure to label who gave you each gift, the worst thing would be to gift the item they gifted to you.  Embarrassing!  I can’t say it enough – do not re-gift to the person who gave it to you.  

Also, while on the topic of registries, please register according to your guest list, meaning; have several price choices and try not to make a list twice as big as the guest list.  The fact of the matter is that you probably do not want only two forks and two plates, when you registered for a twelve piece dinning set, four platters, eight vases, a grill, and a sofa set, along side fourteen picture frames and a stand mixer with accessories but only invited twenty-five people to your event.  It may take a bit longer to figure out what you want on your registry but it will definitely pay off in the end, while not giving you a headache.  Make things easier on you and enjoy your big day… 

 Deidra D. Thompson, Professional-In-Training (P.I.T.)

Word of Mouth Events & Planning 
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Toll Free Phone and Fax: (866) 905-9002 ext. 102

Join Word of Mouth Events & Planning on Facebook for all your event and meeting planning needs and post your events here too.

Come and see all Word of Mouth Events & Planning has to offer to make your next event or meeting a success.

Centerpieces – Use More Than Once

Enjoy Your Big Day…

You know what can help you enjoy your big day, something inexpensive (some people call it cheap but I have always liked the word frugal)… Here are two ideas that are inexpensive and elegant at the same time.

 First, buy white lights after Christmas.  They are always on sale around the end of the holidays, so you can buy several sets and make a big impact at any occasion.  They make a soft lighting environment and big impact with little effort; you can package them up and use them over and over again for all of your special occasions.  

Second, go to a discount store for help there you can find unique inexpensive ideas for centerpieces.  I have seen the most beautiful events done with economical votive candle holders, candles, and mirrors.  Guests can take the centerpiece home in addition to the take home gifts.  Because these items are reasonably priced they are a great way continue to impress your guests with a durable showpiece they can reuse for times to come.

These ideas can help you enjoy your day and help inspire others for theirs.

Deidra D. Thompson, Professional-In-Training (P.I.T.)
Word of Mouth Events & Planning
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Toll Free Phone and Fax: (866) 905-9002 ext. 102

Join Word of Mouth Events & Planning on Facebook for all your event and meeting planning needs and post your events here too.

Come and see all Word of Mouth Events & Planning has to offer to make your next event or meeting a success.Image

How to Decide Between a Host Bar and an Open Bar

ImageMay 25, 2010 by Leigh Murdock
Host bar versus open bar – have you ever wondered what the difference is between these two arrangements? Hotel event managers actually get this question a lot, so I figured it would help to explain the difference. 

Host Bar
Payment for a Host Bar is measured on consumption. You’ll pay a bartender fee and settle a bill at the end of the night that covers all alcohol consumed. Some hotels will charge you on a per drink basis and keep track of how many orders were placed for each type of drink. Others will measure the bottles at the end of the night and estimate how many drinks were consumed. Either way, you’ll be charged for all alcohol consumed.

Because the Host Bar is cheaper than an Open Bar, it’s a great option for an audience that isn’t expected to drink very much. Be careful though: many guests don’t know the difference between a Host Bar and an Open Bar. As far as they’re concerned, their drinks are being covered so they may get a drink only to set it down, forget about it, and order another. This could end up getting pretty costly. I hear many stories of planners being shocked at the bill at the end of the night

I caution you of you this particularly for weddings and social functions. This type of bar is probably better fit for a corporate event with a crowd that won’t get rowdy.

Open Bar
An Open Bar is paid for at an hourly rate in addition to a bartender fee. For a set amount of time and rate (e.g. $20 to $25 for the first two hours), your guests will enjoy unlimited beverages. You’ll most likely have the option to choose from a selection of liquors, wines and beers that you would like to offer your guests. It goes without saying that top shelf and premium liquors will run you a higher hourly rate. 

While you’ll have to commit to a timeframe for the Open Bar, it’s a great way to show your guests a good time and not have to worry about the bill at the end of the night. Many clients experience sticker shock when they choose a Host Bar and don’t realize how much is will actually be consumed. At the same time, if you expect little alcohol to be consumed, an Open Bar is not likely your most cost-effective option.
 
Study your guestlist and make an informative decision the next time you are deciding on a drink arrangement. Wise planning will save you money at the end of the night.

Event Planner’s Best Resource

Event Scoop Sheet

To prepare the speaker(s) for your event provide them with a meeting or event provide them with a meeting or event information sheet.  You should have this prepared and finalized no less than three weeks prior to your meeting or event.  This document will give the speaker the statistical and registration data about their audience.

Your scoop sheet should contain:

  • Location of “green room” – Speakers preparation, rehearsal room
  • Transportation details – driving directions should be included
  • Copy of the meeting/event goals and objectives
  • Attendee stats – number of males/females, age range, location, job titles, number of sessions, and expected attendee totals
  • Official meeting or event program with meeting room assignment information – include floor plan
  • Handout procedures – confirm who will be responsible for duplication, the number to be produced and who will bring them
  • Confirm the day, date and time to be at the venue
  • Speaker payment information – reiterate speakers fees and expense reimbursement if applicable

Preparing a scoop sheet will give you a checklist to make sure that your main event, speaker, is clear and confirmed.  As a routine you should develop the habit of placing am follow up call to confirm the packages was received and answer any questions they may have at that time.

Pharice Brown

Word of Mouth Events & Planning
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Toll Free Phone and Fax: (866) 905-9002 ext. 102

Join Word of Mouth Events & Planning on Facebook for all your event and meeting planning needs and post your events here too.

Come and see all Word of Mouth Events & Planning has to offer to make your next event or meeting a success.