A Balanced Menu

Creating a menu for your event can be confusing.  How many hors d’oeuvres?  Meat, fish or vegetarian?  Buffet, stations, seated dinner or all butler passed.  So many questions, which are important as catering is usually your biggest expense.

I usually recommend at least 45 minutes, but no more than one and a half hours for your cocktail reception.  Forty-five minutes is enough time for guests to not feel rushed, but too much longer than an hour and your guests start to get restless.

My two favorite parts of event planning are designing the look of the event and working with the chefs to develop the menu.  In fact, some long-term clients hire me specifically for just those two things.

These are some simple rules I try to follow when it comes to serving food at an event.

For a cocktail reception preceding dinner, serve three different hors d’oeuvres per guest.  Make sure you offer a variety.  For example, one beef, one seafood and one vegetarian.

D’Amico Catering’s samosas are among my favorite hors d’oeurves to serve at an event.  They are a guest favorite and can be offered in meat or vegetarian options.

If your event is just a cocktail party without dinner to follow, consider serving five to seven pieces per person.  Include at least one of each of the following (unless religious or lifestyle choices deem otherwise): beef, chicken and seafood; and two vegetarian.

Salad is generally expected when serving dinner and I love a good salad.  If you are going a little fancier, I have been integrating salad and soup duets and they have been a hit!  The portions are a bit smaller, but the presentation can be quite fun.

Minneapolis Club puts a great concentration on their food presentation and the chef is both creative and easy to work with!

For a seated dinner, I prefer entree choices versus duets.  It is so difficult to present two separate entrees cooked at its optimum on the same plate.  Beef used to be overwhelmingly the number one choice, but I have been noticing a trend that fish options are pretty darn close.  Most menu selections I see are beef, fish and vegetarian as options (although chicken is still very popular due to cost).  When working with your caterer, make sure you understand if there are additional charges for offering more than one entree selection.

If you are offering a buffet, make sure you offer a vegetarian option.  Vegetarian diets are becoming mainstream, due to so many dietary restrictions.

Stations as opposed to buffets can be much more entertaining, but I strongly recommend making sure that you are offering enough food, as well as a vegetarian option.  Ask the caterer what portion sizes they use at their stations.  Stations can be another area to present more creatively than just throwing food chafers on a table.



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