Visual catering equals Kodak moments

Imagine arriving at an event and upon entering you’re asked to punch a timecard. Or what about the edgy gala held in an uber-cool warehouse, and the soup is served out of metal trashcans? Outlandish and often quirky ideas are moving event and catering trend meters into the red, because what used to be about location, location, location or “themes” is now about hustling your staff into a mode of innovation so their creations are guaranteed to make guests chatter with delight!

Remember, event guests can be the most discriminating patrons, as many spend countless hours on the party circuit, and to be quite honest, have seen it all. So allow your staff the time to research concepts and run internal beta tests before going live!

Let’s take a look at some of the freshest ideas and presentations that are sending vibes throughout the many sectors that produce parties, meetings, events, affairs or galas starting with the latest “sandwich” trend, which is all about how you press at the panini station. A traditional iron and ironing board are the only tools you’ll need to generate a few “how clevers” from the party goers! Flattened ham and cheese or tomato and cheese sandwiches cut into bite sized squares are comfort food favorites!

Have your servers don rubber gloves and factory uniforms, fill serving vessels with a variety of your best soups, place them into metal trash cans and you have a Kodak moment! I’d recommend tagging (graffiti-style with spray paint) the outside of the trash cans with the actual soup names.

Grab a room-service cart and top it with egg crate containers to hold deviled eggs!  (Don’t forget the sprinkle of paprika and hint of relish for garnish.) Guests will clear the roaming cart quickly, so have plenty of replenishment prepared behind the scenes!

Forget the bread platters. Create cardboard tubes and position them on top of an industrial shelf unit to hold a variety of breads from rustic country rye, cheese sticks, cornbread muffins, French loaves, pretzels and mouth-watering, homestyle chips. Servers can tie into the theme, so dress them in baker hats and red-and-white checkered aprons!

After the dinner hour and near the coffee bar, line a wall with pegboards and fill the hooks with every type of donut you can imagine! (Be sure to add a few donut hole skewers onto the board as well.) I predict the donut will re-trend soon, so don’t be afraid to forgo the cupcakes!

Referred to as paletas in Mexico, gourmet ice pops in exotic flavors like mango-chile, bacon or peanut butter will delight guests, especially in the summer months, and will draw particular attention if displayed in flavor clusters!

Whether at your property or off-site, it’s your turn to share some of the more outlandish, exotic and highly creative setups you have experienced or featured at an event. Fill us in!