Most major events need some sort of catering. The size can vary significantly, from arranging a light lunch for a long meeting to a banquet for a wedding, but food is a core component in a huge number of events. It can also be a monumental task, especially for events that have dozens or even hundreds of guests. Making a mistake can turn the event into a disaster, and the complexity of catering means that mistakes are always a risk. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid most problems by considering a few particularly important points that cover most of the ways that the catering process can go wrong.
Food allergies are among the most common medical problems in the developed world. Some of them cause relatively minor irritation or discomfort, while others can be fatal within a short time. Caterers need to know about any food allergies that guests might have, and be sure to work around them.
Clear labeling is vital, but it may not be enough to simply list ingredients. People who suffer from particularly bad allergies can have a reaction from cross-contamination that happens in the kitchen. Not only do those individuals need to know which ingredients are in their food, they need to know which ingredients were used to prepare other dishes in the same kitchen to make sure that they don’t have a reaction. Getting this right takes a lot of effort, but it makes a huge difference for people who have food allergies.
2- Vegetarian Options
Vegetarianism is becoming more and more popular every year. It’s one of the top culinary trends, so hosts should strive to make sure that vegetarian food is available at every event. Most vegetarians are used to abstaining because relatively few events try to accommodate them, so making an effort is a great way to make a positive impression.
It is best to be careful when choosing vegetarian dishes. Some traditions allow vegetarians to consume fish, while many others refuse to do so. These variations can cause confusion and discomfort for diners, so most hosts will want to choose dishes that accommodate as many different groups as possible.
A catered meal needs to fit the scale of the event. If there are only a few people, it is most appropriate to pick a few basic options and allow people to serve themselves. If there are a lot of people, doing that can result in traffic jams around the table as people get in each other’s way. In that case, it can be better to choose a number of packaged options and hand them out to guests. It also becomes easier to offer more options, since the crowd will need larger quantities of food.
This isn’t the only factor to consider, but it is one of the most important. After all, leftovers can be a massive waste of money, and most people are uncomfortable with wasting food. The size of the event should be seen as a starting point for deciding what sort of catering is appropriate.
The event’s theme also needs to inform the catering decisions. Some events, such as weddings, have traditional choices. It’s fine to pick something else instead of the traditional option, but the host needs to be aware that people will notice that decision, and it can have an impact on their experience. There is more leeway to choose in other cases, but it is generally best to pick casual foods for casual events, and fancier options for formal occasions.
The best events treat catering as part of the total experience, rather than something that is distinct from the rest of it. Hosts that want to integrate the two together need to spend time thinking about the logistics of the meal. Choosing when to serve it, where to put the food, and whether people serve themselves or send orders to a waiter are all vital. The right answer will vary from one event to the next, since each one is unique, but most hosts will be able to come up with reasonable solutions with a little bit of thought. Professionals can help with any challenging cases, and their experience will ensure that everything goes well.